How do you build a nation? According to history Professor Jeremy Suri, nation-building is an effort to build institutions and practices that allow people to govern themselves in peaceful – and prosperous – ways.

In his book, Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama” (2011), Suri outlines five principles that are crucial for successful nation-building: partners, process, problem solving, purpose, and people. But these five principles don’t just apply to building a nation – they’re important for building a robust campaign or company, as well.


Partners are critical for nation-building – they strengthen and complement one another’s efforts. Communication and collaboration between partners is pivotal, whether you’re building a new country or a new campaign. NationBuilder partners with specific companies to ensure that its customers receive a comprehensive, synergistic experience and support services that are second to none.

The organization’s partners include Accurate Append, which provides high-quality data enhancements to connect you with your constituents and your customers; ActionSprout, which engages people inside Facebook with social actions and converts high-performing Facebook posts into contact lists; and CallHub, which sends automated phone calls and texts to your NationBuilder lists. NationBuilder’s experienced partners work synergistically to ensure action, engagement, and the best possible result for each customer.


Nation-building is a process. According to Suri, human societies don’t follow formulas – and NationBuilder doesn’t, either. Clients and campaigns are complex and unique – so NationBuilder tailors each client experience. NationBuilder uses multiple page types and user profiles, building custom responsive designs using NationBuilder Theme Sync – because people and campaigns are not formulaic.

Problem Solving

Leaders need to start small and address basic, specific problems. In his article NationBuilder Changed Everything (2013), Peter Wrinch, Executive Director of Pivot, discussed how NationBuilder was a strategic turning point for his company.

Wrinch stated: “The original reason I wanted to switch to NationBuilder is because it could solve a very specific problem: it could link our supporter records with our email list. My goal was to be able to compare our communications with our fundraising and make sure that both were integrated and effective.

“The more I read about NationBuilder, the more I realized that not only could it solve the link between communications and fundraising, but it could solve a number of the other issues Pivot had been living with for years.”


For a growing nation, small beginnings must serve a larger purpose – and citizens must see the value in what they’re doing. For a growing company, customers must see the value in the commodity that’s being offered. When NationBuilder founder Jim Gilliam was diagnosed with cancer, online organizing ultimately saved his life – and Gilliam immediately saw the value in a company that could help organize and engage others.

Gilliam stated: “The purpose of NationBuilder is to bring that kind of power where everyone can connect with people who can help them accomplish great things.”


A nation is a group of people who are united behind a common purpose. NationBuilder unites those who care about what you’re doing – your fans, followers, constituents, members, donors, volunteers, and customers. For the world’s first community organizing system, nation-building is about accessibility, organization, and leadership. NationBuilder is an accessible, affordable, complete software platform that helps leaders organize, grow, and build.

You can build a nation, a company, or a campaign with Suri’s five principles, but you’ll need action, experience, and engagement to be successful.

So how does NationBuilder build a nation?

One person, one partner, and one process at a time.