Using paths and permission sets together to hit organizing nirvana - cStreet Campaigns

Using Paths and Permission Sets Together to Hit Organizing Nirvana

Digital strategy is poised to become one of the most used phrases in 2016 or, at least that’s what Fast Company wants you to think. But there's a common misconception that the use of digital is the sole responsibility of the team or colleague who has the word “Digital” in their title.

At cStreet, we work to empower unions, political candidates, and higher ed institutions to think of digital strategy and NationBuilder’s extensive toolkit as a vehicle towards your goals. No matter your occupation, your title, your industry or your background, you too can and frankly, should be, using NationBuilder for your organization.

One way to empower your staff is by using Paths in conjunction with Permission Sets. You heard that right, both, together. This is useful for a wide range of situations in which work is distributed across teams and team members: because let's face it, the idea that one primary goal is being worked on only by one team member is an outdated concept today. The reality is that your team members are going to be working together but have individual steps they manage or undertake.

You’ve heard of Paths.

They allow you to manage people through your ladder of engagement.

Once you’ve implemented paths for your organization, identify the steps in your path, the steps you need to accomplish your goals. Many times, these steps live solely in your head. Visualizing them, making them clear and actionable will not only allow you to achieve sanity but also allow you to delegate and collaborate better.

Then, take a step back and create some permission sets. To adequately get people on board this path, this train to success if you will, you need to give all of these people control panel access into the backend of your nation.

Shout out to Sara El-Amine, former Executive Director of Organizing for America and incoming Executive Director of, who highlighted perhaps the hardest thing to do when collaborating and organizing: letting go. We know! It’s hard to give out control panel access, but channel your inner Oprah and get on with it.

You get a permission set. And you, you get a permission set.

Set up permission sets based on your team’s responsibilities: Who will help you achieve your goal? Does the person who is sending out emails need to be able to edit your website? Does your volunteer coordinator need to send emails or see your finances? Probably not. Modify your permission sets accordingly.

Create permission sets for all of these different people. Now, for the fun part: we want them to use paths and goals but we want them to be focused on their specific tasks. Toggle their permission set from seeing Everyone to only seeing people they are Assigned.

Setting up a permission set for paths


All together now

Now, go back to your paths and think through the workflow. Identify which team member is most likely to be responsible for each step. Ask yourself which team members are responsible for the entire path or just one step? Then assign accordingly. This will inform what each role sees in the nation.

An organizing fellow or assistant for identifying prospects. Here’s what it will look like to be assigned one step:


A field organizer or project manager responsible for all the steps towards one goal or one project. Here’s what it will look like to be assigned one path


A director of engagement or programming who oversees all project managers. Here’s what it will look like to an admin who can see everything


And that’s how you do it! Investing a day, a week, or even a month to re-envision your team’s responsibilities and getting them on board to using NationBuilder is investing in your organization’s future (or even your future sanity.)

Kenneth says great job!

 animated image of kenneth from 30 rock giving two thumbs up


originally published Friday, June 24, 2016