Here’s the setup checklist for setting up Nations for candidates. Numbered items should be done in order. Bulleted items can be done in any order.
- Secure a domain name from a domain name host. I now recommend getting your domain through Google Domains. It will save a lot of steps later. Trust me on this.
- NOW, go get a NationBuilder account. Things to consider:
- You can use this link to sign up for your Nation. Using that link will tell NationBuilder I am your Architect. (Note: I DO NOT get a commission for signups - this link speeds up my part of the setup process and nothing more)
- Ideally, your account name should be the same as the domain name, minus the dot com.
- During the setup process, you will be asked to connect your Facebook Like page and your Twitter page. SKIP this step. You don't want to import all these people right now. It might bump you up to a higher tier at a time when you're not ready to contact them. You'd be paying extra for nothing.
GREAT! Now, send me an email that has all of this in it:
- your NationBuilder account name
- the URL to your site (accountname.nationbuilder.com)
- the email and password you used to create the account
- logo art for the campaign
- any preferred color palette choices (if any)
- (at least) one really good headshot of the candidate,
- the home page will have an image carousel / image slider. I need three to five images for the image slider on the home page. (If you need inspiration, let’s talk. I can give you some great pointers).
After I receive this email, I will be able to start work on your Nation.
While I work on your site, YOU should be working on this:
The default political site has a number of default pages. Each page has space for text. I recommend you have language for all of them, so that they are not blank. Please start working on language for the following:
- Donation page message - you will need a brief couple of lines to appear above the donate form
- About Candidate page - this is your full curriculum vitae. You definitely need at least a paragraph to start (you can add to it later).
- Issues page (sometimes called a My Stance, or My Position, or What I Stand For, etc.). This is your justification for running. For most candidates, Issues starts out as one page with all the candidate’s positions, and eventually becomes one page for each issue.
- News & Events - this is structured like a blog (a series of entries, organized by date, most recent at the top). Each time the candidate is featured (positively) in the news, there should be one post with a quote from the article and a link back to read the original. Press releases can also go here. Announcements of upcoming events and appearances can also go here, in addition to being on the calendar.
- Calendar - this is specifically for upcoming events. You should have at least one event listed on the calendar prior to launch. Having an empty calendar is not a good sign for a campaign, so something has to go here. (if you don’t have any events to start, that’s OK, we will make the page anyway, but we’ll make it inaccessible).
- Volunteer - you will need just a brief couple of lines to appear above the volunteer form.
- Vote Pledge - you will need just a brief couple of lines to appear above the voter pledge form
- Contact Us - you will need just a brief couple of lines to appear above the contact form. Or, you could just have the mailing address with the phone number.
- About the District / region / community / etc. Here's the scoop on that page.
Strongly recommended but not required:
- Start compiling a complete list of links to news articles you want on the site. Positive media coverage, press releases, any press mentions, anything with your name on it. These will go on your News & Events page. I would be happy to put them up there for you IF you can get me your list early in the process. Otherwise, it will be up to you.
- If you have any videos of the candidate, get a list of them together for me for the site. Video is good! People watch videos!
- Start a list of any other content you might want on the site.
- Install Slack. Seriously. Do this. It takes five minutes to get set up on Slack and even less time to learn how to use it. Slack is free and it is far and away superior to email as a campaign communication tool. If the campaign is on Slack, you can add a webdev channel and all of my communication can take place there (and everyone on that channel can see it, too).
- Go here to NationBuilder's "How to Run For Office" course. There are about twenty short videos that explain not only the process of running for office. These videos are short. The videos take what you need to do to run for office, and break those down into manageable steps. Most importantly, they cover digital organization. Digital organization will pay off in donations, volunteers, and eventually votes. Watching these videos may be the most important thing you do!
- Read this PDF from Storefront Political on the basics of running for office. Practical advice!
- Read this checklist from Campaigns and Elections
After the other stuff:
Set up the bank account to take donations (do not send me your bank account info - I do not need it and I do not want it). You might need a lawyer to do this for you properly, depending on the campaign finance laws applicable to your campaign.
Pick a payment processor. Stripe and Anedot are great. Democracy Engine is also available. ActBlue if you're a progressive. Paypal always works, too, and is easy to set up.
Get a Google Analytics account. Send me the UA number and I’ll plug it into the site for you.
It’s not a bad idea to give the media easy access to good photos of the candidate. Therefore, I always recommend setting up and maintaining a Flickr or an Instagram account for good campaign event photos. This is up to you, of course.
One final thing - You should learn a little about digital organizing with NationBuilder. NationBuilder added a digital organizing guide called 16 Political Strategies for 2016. You can download it for free, here. Please don't skip this step.