You are here

Exclusion Queries and Advanced Listbuilding in NationBuilder

Submitted by Meredith on January 19, 2012 - 11:48am

Note: As of the March update to Nation Builder, this guide is no longer applicable. See this posts for the new method:

Note: "Exclusion Query" means searching for people who are NOT something. Not named Smith, not donors, not in the city of Springfield, etc.

One of the capabilities that makes NationBuilder so great is its list-building functionality. However, regardless of the platform, sometimes creating and refining your lists can be tricky - particularly when you’re trying to create a list that excludes a certain group of people, rather than filtering on an inclusion basis. Lucky for us, NationBuilder has tools to help!

The best way to build a list of people based on filters and tags is to use the “Cart” function, located under the “People” tab. The Cart is represented by a small red and white basket image to the right of the list dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of your window.

Throughout the People tab, you’ll find “+” and ”-” signs by every person’s name, as well as at the top of lists. You can use these add and subtract functions to do just that - add or subtract specific people and/or groups of people from the lists in your Cart. If you begin on the “new list” option in the Cart drop down, you’ll see that a new list begins as you start using the “+” button to add people. Similarly, if you select a pre-existing list, the “+” and “-” buttons will add and remove people from that list.

Putting this concept to work, lets imagine that you are creating a fundraising email blast to send to all of your contacts except those who have recently donated.

  • To begin: start in the “People” tab, which will default by showing you your entire list of people, without applying any filters or sorting by specific tabs.
  • Following our scenario, you will add all of your contacts to the Cart by by selecting the “+” to the left of the drop down menus at the top of the list. Be sure that the Cart menu displays “unsaved list 0” at the top - when you add contacts to the Cart, they will drop into whatever list is selected.
  • Once you have grabbed your list of people, you’ll now want to remove everyone who has donated recently. There are several ways to find these folks, including searching by any tags you may have created. For our purposes, lets find the appropriate people using the “Advanced Search” option under the People tab.
  • When you go to the Advanced Search portion of the People tab, you’ll see multiple filters to apply to your search, such as “Tags”, “Contact History” and “Influence”. For our purposes, find the “Donor History” tab.
  • Fill in the “First Donated” and “Last Donated” date range you'd like to find recent donors and hit “Search”. You’ll see a list of everyone who has donated within your designated date range.
  • Select the “-” at the top of your Advanced Search result list to the left of the drop down menus.
  • Note that the total number of people in your “unsaved list” in the Cart will now reflect the original group, minus the group from the Advanced Search that you removed.
  • When your list is refined to your liking, click on the Cart icon. It will show you your new list. Save by clicking the green “Save” button in the upper right hand corner.
  • Voila - your list is ready to use!

Below you'll find a screencast of a similar example. Or, as always, feel free to contact us for help!