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Abe Lincoln's fictional NationBuilder account

Your humble petition for a neighborhood garden or bid for school-board president might not have the glitz (or the super PACs) of a national campaign, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as slick. Now, thanks to new website NationBuilder, any candidate or community leader can have access to the same organizing technology used by big-time politicians.

To get started, simply sign up for a $20-per-month NationBuilder account. Next, the site walks you through creating your “nation”--the term it uses for a group of people committed to a common purpose--and setting up things like a public website, volunteer page, donation widgets, social media accounts and an easy-to-navigate database of supporters.

From there, you can use NationBuilder’s tools to do just about anything--send out mass emails or texts, collect funds, promote events, identify top supporters, etc. You can even delegate partial access and responsibility to a staffer or intern.

While we love the idea of using NationBuilder for local or grassroots elections, what really excites us is how many people are using this site for cause-based community organizing. After all, even when it comes to things like installing a much-needed stop sign, it can take a cyber-village.

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