New Ideas for Paths and Goals: Part 1 - cStreet Campaigns

Thinking outside the NationBuilder box pt.1: Paths

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

At cStreet, we help our clients use NationBuilder to make real progressive change. We also use NationBuilder internally to manage a lot of our day-to-day business activities including client communications, prospecting, job posting, and event management.

Our own experience has inspired us to post a few articles about unexpected ways to use NationBuilder tools in the hope it will inspire you to experiment with the tools too!

This is part one of a three-part series.

Using paths to manage the dreaded Holiday Card Frenzy 

Every year we hustle to get holiday cards out to our friends and clients, which causes us immense stress and can end up taking a lot of time. There is anxiety when we panic that someone may have been forgotten.

In preparation for 2016, we’ve created a list in our nation that includes everyone who got a card last year. Throughout the year, we add new clients and friends to the list. A lot of the list is individuals, but where it is an organization we check the “organization” box under the supporter record’s “edit” tab. This is important because our contact person at an organization may move on, but we still need to keep a clean record of the orgs we’re working with.

Once we’ve saved them as an organization, we jump into the “relationships” tab and add a primary contact. This is the person the card will be addressed to. We can enter a title to maintain data integrity and create some institutional knowledge for the years to come.

Under the relationships tab you can specify a primary contact and title

NationBuilder Relationship Tab


Once we have our list, we’re ready to make our path. Many companies may be sending the same card to all their contacts. At cStreet we personalize the card to the client. We are passionate about expressing our solidarity to union clients, for example, or giving well wishes to clients who are going into an election in the spring. Many people we work with are friends outside of campaigns, and so we include a personal note.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO OUR AMERICAN FRIENDS - “Liberals” in Canada are a centre right party. We dearly love our American lowercase liberal friends.

Liberals in Canada


While we have a staff of 10 and a dedicated office manager who is responsible for getting the cards made, our card writing process involves Josh and myself and anyone else in the office who may need to aide in personalization or update a point of contact.

Below is a screencap of our holiday card path. Where address verification is assigned to the office manager, contact verification is done by our accounts coordinator who is in regular contact with clients. I hand-write unique cards to many clients. Each step has a strict due date so that we can get the cards out before the holidays get too hectic.

NationBuilder People and Paths

Lessons for your organization

Not all applications for NationBuilder are supporter-facing. The more you use your nation to manage your internal processes, the more comfortable and creative your staff will become with the platform. This will improve your external engagement just by virtue of the capacity building you’re doing internally.

Paths are a great way to manage tasks and processes that require the participation of multiple people. Setting goals and assigning steps creates accountability. Consider the possibilities of combining paths with a snowflake model, for example.

The most important lesson is to be creative and think outside the box!

Do you have any interesting new ways that you use paths, goals, or any other NationBuilder tool? Tell us in the comments!

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