Essentials of NationBuilder 2) Point Persons and Permission Sets

Point Persons and Permission Sets

In my first article, I talked about Setting Up Your Election. This included defining your election in the Site Settings tab, importing your voter file, determining your Votes-To-Win number as well as your Dollars-To-Win. Now, I will discuss strategies using Permission Sets and Point Persons to improve coordination and empower your organization.

One of the principles that has long been stressed by NationBuilder is “putting people at the center of your organization.” Clearly, the people who are central to a campaign’s success are the staff and volunteers. They are the people responsible for contacting potential donors, volunteers, supporters and voters and, most importantly, recording the results of those contacts. That means giving them access to the Control Panel of your Nation.

Wait! WHAT? Allowing volunteers and low level staff access to the campaign’s database?

NationBuilder allows you to control what information a Control Panel User can see and actions they can take with Permission Sets. This way, a volunteer can be given Control Panel access but only see people in the database that have been assigned to them for phone banking or door-to-door canvassing. A Regional Field Director can be given access to all the volunteers assigned to them. The campaign’s Finance Director can be assigned all the donors and potential donors. If they have a finance team, the Finance Director can assign certain donors and potential donors to specific team members. As I mentioned in my earlier article, it is imperative to “think and rethink” as you plan your campaign. Who needs access to what? How will access empower your staff and volunteers to move your campaign towards your goals?

Why is having multiple Control Panel Users important? Because any Control Panel User can be made a Point Person. Point Persons are the people in your organization who are accountable for moving those assigned to them up the “Ladder of Engagement.” Clearly, it would make sense to make the Campaign Manager the Point Person for at least Senior Staff (for a large campaign) or all staff (for a smaller campaign). This allows him/her to easily track activities and progress.

Further, each member of the campaign staff can be made the Point Person of all the lower-level staffers and volunteers working in their sphere of influence. This could the Finance Director as Point Person with members of the Finance Committee, and the Finance Team assigned to him or her. Potential large dollar donors could be assigned to different members of the Finance Committee. Additionally, the Outreach Director could be made the Point Person for all the phonebank and door-to-door canvassers.

The above describes the process of going into the Control Panel and manually assigning people to a point person. However, NationBuilder allows you to set your Nation to assign a Point Person on any action page. For example, donors can be automatically assigned to the Finance Director and volunteers can be assigned to the Volunteer Coordinator. The Point Person can get a notification and follow up with the person taking the action, view their profile, email them individually or include them in a blast email assuming the Point Person is also a Broadcaster.

Hopefully you see the power of Point Persons combined with Permission Sets tailored to their needs and those of the campaign. They serve to keep your campaign organization structured, efficient and accountable. They will will also give people at all levels the information and tools they need to propel your campaign to success. I will discuss measuring your progress towards that success in my next article on using Paths and Goals.


FourTier Strategies is a national, political digital agency. Brad Marston, is Co-Founder and Partner and is a NationBuilder Certified Expert and Architect.