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The Field Guide Manifesto

Submitted by Blake on February 19, 2015 - 12:29pm

In about three hours, our first day on the campaign trail will be complete. So far, it has been a fun ride - and there's 59 more to go...

For years now, some form of a Richir Outreach NationBuilder Field Guide has existed as part of an alternate reality. Today, it is closer to a reality than ever before. Throughout our tenure working as a custom NationBuilder shop, we have come across hundreds of well-meaning social justice organizations that wanted to continue their activism online - but didn't really know where to begin. These organizations have world-changing goals and shoe-string budgets. Typically, these organizations are trying to maximize their donors' dollars to serve their mission. Here's what we think - web development for activism shouldn't get in the way of that.

NationBuilder vs Salsa

Submitted by Katie on October 16, 2014 - 10:41am

Richir Outreach works with a variety of CRM's for many clients and under many different circumstances. Two of the popular options out there for our clients are NationBuilder and Salsa. This blog post compares those two platforms on several different levels.


Both services charged on a sliding scale, based on the number of people in your database. NationBuilder starts its pricing model at a lower cap, with tiers as low as 200 email-able supporters. This is a pro for smaller organizations who may only have a few hundred or a few thousand supporters. However, NationBuilder tiers appear to stop at about 100,000 email-able supporters, at which point you may have to upgrade the account. Where NationBuilder's pricing model is relatively fixed, Salsa's is more flexible and in the past has allowed organizations to negotiate fees on a case-by-case basis.

Both offer additional services and packages at additional fees. Both have a host of tools and add-ons that come with an extra price tag. These packages are discussed in more detail below.


Americans for Prosperity Encourage Cats to Vote

Submitted by Kady on September 26, 2014 - 3:26pm

Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative group funded by the Koch brothers, has been “accidentally” sending out misinformation to North Carolina voters and, in some cases, their cats. The News & Observer reports that the information is labeled as an “official” form, and includes conflicting and sometimes incorrect information. It’s almost as if it’s designed to confuse voters rather than help them.

Tell the Koch Brothers and Americans for Prosperity to get out of our elections by signing this petition.

You can also check out the internet’s amusing response to this at

If you are not sure whether you are actively registered to vote, you can enter your name on the North Carolina State Board of Elections Voter Search page to check your current status.

Email Outreach with NGP VAN

Submitted by Megan on August 18, 2014 - 11:37am

At Richir Outreach, we build websites for various organizations, including political campaigns. A task involved in political campaigning might be to send email blasts, or eBlasts for various outreach purposes, fundraising, trying to recruit volunteers, etc. Eblasts are a useful and effective marketing tool for an organization desiring communication with their entire contact database or just a large group of people. NGP has a great reputation on the market for creating products that are useful to political campaigns, specifically their email blast software. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how one would deliver an eBlast assuming an account is created, with a contact list.

Working with PHP and the NationBuilder API

Submitted by Nicole on August 5, 2014 - 1:43pm

Last year, NationBuilder released their API to the world, allowing applications to interact with Nations. You can find NationBuilder's API documentation here. This blog post will discuss how to create objects through the API.

The first step is understanding how the API and OAuth2 work. When working with OAuth2, the first request your client makes is to obtain an authorization token. Using that token, you can then make other requests through your application. It's important to note this two step process, as other APIs which use requests such as a RESTful or XML-RPC are generally one step processes. 

How to add a custom email sign-up block using NGPVAN

Submitted by Blake on July 14, 2014 - 6:32pm

These instructions show you how to add an email sign-up block in your site side-bar that will appear on every page, allowing people to easily sign-up for your campaign mailing list without leaving the page they are on. Custom changes to the block's design can be made using the CSS injector under the configuration menu.

To add an email sign-up block to the sidebar:

  1. Create a new form in NGPVAN
  2. Be sure to make it as simple as possible in the beginning
    • Turn off "Fast Action Auto-fill"
    • Turn off confirmation emails
  3. When building page click "configure" and include only necessary elements eg. First name, Last name, Email
  4. Change the header: "Contact Information" to something that is more clear to the form like "Email Sign-up"
  5. Remove all text in the "body" section of the page

Now you must create a block in the sidebar of the page you wish to display the sign-up field on:

Hobby Lobby Wins Case in 5-4 Supreme Court Ruling

Submitted by Kady on July 1, 2014 - 10:58am

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that closely held corporations do not have to provide health insurance coverage for contraception if it goes against their religious beliefs.

Supporting this decision were Justices Anthony Kennedy, John G. Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas.
You can read the opinion yourself at the link below.


Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan dissented. All four agree that the government is justified in requiring commercial enterprises to cover birth control. Ginsburg and Sotomayor also would have ruled that for-profit corporations are not covered by RFRA.

Moral Monday Returns to NC [x-post from BlueNC]

Submitted by Blake on May 21, 2014 - 2:31pm

Moral Monday protests returned to the NC capital on the evening of May 20th, 2014. A variety of social justice organizations including the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, and churches of all religions and denominations, were well represented in a crowd estimated by Capitol police to be around 1500.

Speakers began addressing the gathered crowd around 5 o'clock and represented a spectrum of political issues including racial and gender equality, income and wealth inequality, reforms to unemployment and public education, and environmental concerns. However, supporters of all these various organizations were brought together by the notion that the actions of the current Republican controlled legislature do not reflect the moral values that they claim to support.