Adriel Hampton

NationBuilder brings community software to government

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NationBuilderNationBuilder Vice President of Community Adriel Hampton introduces the company’s newest offering, NationBuilder Government.

Give us the 140-character elevator pitch.

NationBuilder Government is a unified web, communications and CRM database solution – at less than $100 a month for most entities (yes, really).

What problems does NationBuilder solve for government?

Governments of all sizes struggle with listening well to feedback from a growing number of communications channels. The challenge is to provide better customer service, and to do it cost effectively.

NationBuilder is a unified organizing platform that’s designed to improve the efficiency of communications and constituent/customer service staff.

What’s the story behind NationBuilder?

We’ve been around for a few years, but just launched our Government Edition earlier this month.

Jim Gilliam founded the company after personally seeing the power of people connected by the internet as family and friends helped him get a double-lung transplant six years ago. I met Jim in 2009 while I was running for Congress, and joined NationBuilder as employee number 3 in May 2011.

Doing internet software for government better, more efficiently, is extremely important to me. There’s no reason to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year for these technologies.

Why should governments use your SaaS product and not an open source alternative?

Haha, I asked for that, right? So, open source projects have greatly helped to lower the costs of providing services over the web. We use a number of open source technologies including Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL and Liquid (a templating language that we’ve helped extend) – that allow companies like ours flourish at very low cost.

Instead of paying millions of dollars a year in licensing, we’re able to offer end-to-end solutions to cities and officeholders for just hundreds of dollars a year.

Open source products are never free for government – they require technical staff and consultants. We value transparent pricing and require it from our partners, and provide a comprehensive, regularly updated solution that does not require a tech team to implement or maintain.

What are NationBuilder Government’s key features?

Interactive websites, email and text blasting, and constituent services tracking.

With NationBuilder, a government office can manage events, log and track issues, send email newsletters, and manage social media communications and an entire website all in one place.

What are the costs, pricing plans?

Our pricing is based on the size of your database – the smallest plans are $19 a month, a large city with 50,000 people on its email list would pay $499 a month with no limit on administrative users.

How can those interested connect with you?

2011 GovFresh Citizen of the Year: Adriel Hampton

2011 GovFresh Citizen of the Year: Adriel Hampton

Fresh off off getting recognized as the 2011 GovFresh Awards ‘Citizen of the Year,’ we asked Gov 2.0 Radio host and founder and NationBuilder Chief Organizer Adriel Hampton to share more about his work and what drives him.

What efforts over the past year have you been involved with that you’re most proud of?

Gosh, there are a lot. I was really happy to work with my great SF City Attorney colleague Jen Drake on the SF version of the global “Let’s Do It!” movement with local cleanups and blight mapping as part of “Let’s Do It SF!.” Also with Jen, I helped create the “Local Lifesavers” project in SF, supporting the great “PulsePoint” emergency response app from the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and organizing local basic emergency response trainings. CityCamp was a big part of my year, from the first camps in Oklahoma City and Raleigh to an SF unconference at the SF Department of Technology offices and a hackathon in December with Javier Muniz and the great folks at Granicus in SF supporting the work of local nonprofits and good government activists.

I did some fun feature writing for the new “Social Media Monthly” magazine, including pieces critical of Google+’s identity policies and supportive of Occupy Wall Street.

We had several great months of “Third Thursdays” civic tech mixers in SF. I co-founded SF Tech Dems to help connect technologists with Democratic Party leaders in SF and California.

I was really happy about the continued success of Gov 2.0 Radio, aided tremendously this year by the addition of Sydney-based open government expert Allison Hornery as a co-host. I helped Karen Suhaka launch her new legislative data company Legination and its BillTrack50 product. I helped draft and organizing support for a new digital open records law that California Sen. Leland Yee has announced he will sponsor.

I left the City of San Francisco to join NationBuilder and help it grow to supporting more than 300 active advocacy groups, politicians and filmmakers around the world.

What drives you to do what you do?

Ha! Sometimes I wonder that myself. I guess I’m just really concerned that as individual citizens we need to be involved in “being the change.” I can be as cynical and full of fear about the future as anyone when I think about our economy and government, but I’ve decided that the best thing I can do with my energy is to fight for what I believe in – open, accountable and efficient government, a strong social safety net, and the advancement of democracy and human equality through technological innovation. And when I can’t have personal direct impact, I can certainly use my skills and networks to advance and promote the work of others.

There is a speech by novelist Haruki Murakami I first read this year that sums up a lot of how I feel:

“We are all human beings, individuals transcending nationality and race and religion, fragile eggs faced with a solid wall called the System. To all appearances, we have no hope of winning. The wall is too high, too strong — and too cold. If we have any hope of victory at all, it will have to come from our believing in the utter uniqueness and irreplaceability of our own and others’ souls and from the warmth we gain by joining souls together.”

What civic advice do you have for your fellow citizens?

It’s easier than you think to make a major difference. Organizing matters. Presence matters. Perseverance matters.

Gov 2.0 Radio: Web Manager Kristy Fifelski

Kristy FifelskiKristy Fifelski of and Web Manager joins us on Gov 2.0 Radio to discuss Reno’s planned inaugural civic hackathon, her GovGirl video series, the upcoming National Association of Government Webmasters conference and the new



Open government keeps its heart in San Francisco with (second) CityCampSF

CityCampSF 2011

Adriel HamptonSan Francisco will hold its second CityCamp, CityCampSF 2011, this Saturday, June 18, and include municipal employees, journalists, developers and neighborhood leaders “working on solutions for better communities and government.” The event is hosted by SF Department of Technology.

We asked CityCampSF founder and organizer (and Gov 2.0 Radio host) Adriel Hampton to discuss its objectives and goals and share his thoughts on the state of San Francisco open government.

What is CityCampSF? Who should attend? What will be the takeaway?

CityCampSF is an unconference focused on innovation for municipal governments and community organizations. As an unconference, content for CityCampSF is created and organized by participants and coordinated by facilitators. Participants are expected to play active roles in sessions. This provides an excellent format for creative, open exchange geared toward action. CityCamps have been held in several U.S. and UK cities, including Chicago, Colorado, Raleigh and London. The first CityCampSF was held last October.

The target audience for the event is Bay Area city officials, journalists, local creatives and community leaders. Attendees can expect to walk away with a wide range of outcomes, based on the level of experience and knowledge they bring to the event.

For example, I’ll be working at the event with Javier Muniz from Granicus on finalizing core development aspects of the SF Fire App initiative, and volunteers will be doing in-person outreach around the City to increase awareness of the need for public AEDs to reduce sudden cardiac arrest deaths. Last week at CityCamp Raleigh, one North Carolina state official began the day upset that community members were complaining about missing data from the state, and by the end of the day she was working with a team of folks on making the state’s data more accessible. Within 24 hours they had a working open data project live on the new That’s what CityCamps do.

What’s your take on the state of open government in San Francisco? What aspects are thriving or need more focus?

Open government as civic tech innovation is very strong in San Francisco, however, there are plenty of areas for growth. I’d love to see the City incorporate commenting streams into its public meeting webcasts, for example. That’s a feature that the City’s streaming media provider offers, it’s just a matter of the will to do it. I recently wrote for sf.govfresh about some of the things the City does well where it could take things to the next level. The City could take its vibrant official Twitter use to the next level through improved integration with official City websites and listening campaigns aimed at identifying and responding to public concerns. It would also be great if the City provided a stream that aggregated trusted content from the many niche Twitter IDs covering city services. I’ve also offered to put together a free half-day social media best-practices and risk management session for government social media, and I think that’s something the City really needs. Some of those topics will be discussed at CityCamp, I’m sure.

The City might also consider allowing direct access to expert staff through Facebook, similar to the efforts of the U.S. Geographical Survey. In terms of open data innovation, the City really needs to get more proactive at identifying and releasing new datasets on Citycampers might be able to help there through things like informal interviews with departments to help them identify data that would be useful to developers. I’d also like to see legislation for giving more authority to the City CIO, who in terms of enumerated authority right now is more of a figurehead than a citywide IT leader.

What are your long-term goals for CityCampSF, and how will it cultivate a sustainable open government movement in San Francisco?

Long-term, CityCampSF should be the event that brings together people new to the open government movement with mature leaders in the field to learn and collaborate. It should help government officials quickly get up to speed on civic tech issues and it should be the place where tough municipal challenges are matched with solutions. CityCampSF is also moving to sponsor related events by partners throughout the Bay Area, such as Code for Oakland, GAFFTA’s Summer of Smart innovation series, and the monthly Third Thursdays civic tech meetup to ensure that the community of leaders brought together by the unconference is sustained and grows between big events.

Register for CityCampSF and follow on Twitter at @CityCampSF.

OpenSF re-launches, San Francisco will hold ‘Third Thursdays SF’ monthly meet-ups


Two important San Francisco open government announcements from OpenSF founders and contributors Jay Nath and Adriel Hampton.

First, the OpenSF blog has a new look. You can also follow OpenSF on Twitter. More about OpenSF from Hampton:

OpenSF is an informal place to share about our projects and thoughts and to dialog with San Francisco residents and the global Gov 2.0, Open Government and Open Data communities.

Second, beginning Feb. 17, there will be regular monthly meet-ups, ‘Third Thursdays SF’, to keep the community active and help everyone better connect. Join the ‘Third Thursdays SF’ Facebook page to stay updated on the latest news.

Listen to Nath and Hampton discuss Building Gov 2.0 Community in San Francisco on Gov 2.0 Radio:


Gov 2.0 guide to Gov 2.0 Radio

Gov 2.0 Radio is a weekly podcast that “captures the thoughts of public and private sector leaders using Web 2.0 to make government more effective, collaborative and transparent.” The show is held every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio.

Gov 2.0 Radio is hosted by Adriel Hampton and co-hosts GovTwit founder Steve Lunceford and GovLoop founder Steve Ressler.

GovFreshTV interview with Gov 2.0 Radio host Adriel Hampton: