catalyst blog

NationBuilder for Business? Absolutely.

Our client Brinkman and Associates have been recruiting treeplanters for thirty years. Collectively the Brinkman treeplanters have planted over a billion trees. That's right. A billion trees. This is a major accomplishment and there is a huge community of people who have shared this exprience. That's what got me thinking. These people are a community with shared experiences and many stories to tell. There is also an accumulation of knowledge about treeplanting as both a skill and a competitive undertaking. Why not NationBuilder?

The major functions of the Planting the Planet website are to provide an application conduit for treeplanters and keep the treeplanting community up-to-date on developments. To do this well there are a number of major functional requirements to be considered. NationBuilder solves all of these challenges with its highly integrated platform. The CRM is ideal for maintaining records of all applicats over the years. The social media integration and mobile first design suits the digital generation. The built-in communications capabilities make it easy to stay in touch with the community. The forms handling and custom field support makes it easy to gather the information required from applicants. The CMS makes it easy to build out resirces for the planting community.

Over time we also hope to make the Planting the Planet site into a repository for community-based knowledge and even a major silviculture knowledgebase that shares Brinkman's more than three decades of experience.

Catalyst now certified as NationBuilder Experts

In addition to our portfolio of NationBuilder sites, we are now certified Architects and Experts., which means we can build you a beautiful Nation AND show you how to use it to maximum effect. In fact, this is essential in any NationBuilder consultant. Our two decades of experience campaigning online means each design is informed by a true undertanting of what NationBuilder. You should settle for no less than a full spectrum NationBuilder consulting firm.

We are also one of the most experienced NationBuilder consulting firms, having worked on the platform since late 2011. We have accomplished a number of firsts on the platform as well. We were the first firm to build a full bilingual Nation. We followed that up with a six language nation for the Nobel Women's Initiative. We've created some highly innovative themes for special applications like film projects.

We're committed to the NationBuilder platform and we're here to help you win. Contact us at

Kevin Grandia Joins Catalyst Internet NationBuilder team

We're thrilled to announce that Kevin Grandia has joined the Catalyst team as a NationBuilder consultant. We were one of the first companies to become certified in NationBuilder's Certified Achitect programme, delivering some of the earliest and most innovative designs for this new and exciting platform.  With the addition of Kevin, we now offer world-class list-building strategy and tactics as well.

Kevin has spent the last two years on Washington, DC, where he took Greenpeace USA's list and fundraising to new levels. nearly doubling subscription and more than doubling funds raised. 

Kevin has had the great opportunity learn about e-mail list management and growth from some of the best in the business including founders of Move On and Avaaz.

Previously Kevin was Managing Editor of DesmogBlog, a Time Magazine Top 25 blog of 2011. Since his return from Washington he has founded his own boutique Digital Strategy firm Spake Media House.

If you want a fully-rounded NationBuilder service agency, Catalyst is now full-service from turn-key implementations to maximising your investment and leveraging this amazing platform to full effect. Contact us now.

We Speak NationBuilder - in multiple languages!

Recently we worked with NDP leadership candidate Nathan Cullen's campaign to launch the first truly bi-lingual implementation of NationBuilder. That's the hot new campaign management tool that is gaining momentum and today announced a 6.25M investment from Andreessen Horowitz.

NationBuilder is great for people, organizations and campaigns that need to build support and keep it. It is a full-featured CRM and much more. E-mail blasting, fundraising, social media - all these features are integrated into a single engine that keeps track and empowers your activist team.

We can provide you with a full range of services related to NationBuilder including:

  • Evaluation - Is NationBuilder right for you and your organization? Let us help you evaluate the product and make a decision.
  • Theming - We make NationBuilder beautiful and fluid for your growing community. We make online spaces people want to spend time in and find easy to comprehend and use.
  • Multilingual support - We know how to create multilingual instances of Nationbuilder so you can operate in all the languages your audience requires.
  • Integration - Do you already have a large investment in your website but you want to leverage NationBuilder's awesome power? We know how to integrate NationBuilder with your existing website.

We do much more as well including custom scripting and making NationBuilder do things it doesn't necesarily do out of the box.

Most of all, with 20 years experience campaigning and supporting not-for-profit organizations we understand WHY you want to use NationBuilder, and we'll make sure it is implemented in a way that matches your specific needs.

Please get in touch if you would like us to help you get rolling with the hottest new camapaign tool on the market.

The Cobbler's Shoes

There's an old adage that the Cobbler's shoes are always worn because of working all day fixing the shoes of others. We have found this past year to be a great example of the truth of this. Our own web presence and marketing has been stagnant, but we have done a lot of exciting of work for a lot of great customers over the last 12 months.

One of our projects was named by Time as one of their top 25 blogs. The Desmogblog is a project we are very proud and excited about helping with. Jim Hoggan, Brendan DeMelle and their team of writers are doing amazing research exposing the machinations of those who would continue to take us down the road to an even bigger problem with our climate.

Greenpeace USA asked us to build them a platform to manage 150 community websites and a hub site as the infrastructure for their national Quit Coal campaign. Implemented in Drupal and Aegir, is now live and growing.

The Rockefeller Family Fund needed a new website that reflected the four areas of philanthropic activity they engage in. We worked closely with them to design their new web presence at

For the last four years we have worked with the Lefebvre Foundation to establish and grow a web presence for the Stonehouse Standing Circle. This year we helped them expand their activities by building a platform for them to collaborate with 500 or more companies, universities and non-profits around the world in an effort to help the theory of change match with the reality of work on the ground. This platform is the Climate Access Portal.

We helped Greenpeace USA poke fun at the the cozy relationship between politicians and polluters via our Valentines Day redesign of the Polluter Harmony satirical website. We also continued our work with Greenpeace USA to help them evolve their more serious Polluter Tracking platform at Polluter Watch. This one is going to get a lot of attention going forward as we build new features.

In April we built and executed the Project Democracy campaign for strategic voting in the Canadian Federal Election. We achieved 5M visits in the three weeks prior to the election and hopefully helped influence voters to consider vote splitting when choosing their candidate. This past election was a sea change and our accuracy of predictions fell to 87 percent from 98.4 percent in 2008. This leads us to rethink the strategy but rest assured Project Democracy will continue to speak out about the issue of cooperation among the centre-left parties in Canada.

We built a video contest platform for Air New Zealand called The Coldest Canadian. This was exciting and fun and drew a lot if interest from Canadians all across the country.

We also continued to help existing customers evolve their web and social media strategies. It is a privilege to work with all of our customers. In 2012 we look forward to continuing to serve our customers, meeting new customers and taking on new challenges, and to finally launching our own redesigned website and getting more engaged in our professional community.

Thanks to everyone,

The Catalyst Internet Team.

New Catalyst Launching soon

New Catalyst Launching soon, be patience.

Project Democracy

Canadians don’t have an electoral system that directly reflects the ballot box. With our 'first-past-the-post' electoral system, vote splitting means Canadians end up with a majority Harper Government with as little as 35 percent of the popular vote. This is not the outcome most Canadians want, and avoiding it requires voter knowledge and cooperation.

In the last election was the go-to site for nearly half a million unique visitors who clicked in time and again to determine how they could mark their ballot to get an acceptable electoral outcome. If you were one of those 440,000 – congratulations, it worked! On the last day that public opinion polls were available, the VFE website model showed that the Conservatives were on track to win 152 seats, but on Monday, they were elected in 143. Our analysis shows thousands of visits to our advice regarding the candidate with the best chance to beat the Conservative in key ridings. builds on The stakes for our environment were very high in 2008, and remain at risk. Since then it has become even clearer that Harper is prepared to ignore the basic tenets of our democracy to keep in power and pursue his ideological agenda. For all those who care deeply about our democracy, stopping the Harper machine is job one.

Please sign up, check your riding, and spread the word (especially to people you may know in key ridings).

Here is how our riding prediction system works

This site calculates what the likely vote totals would be for each party based on today's polling.

The method is straight forward. For the math brains, here is the breakdown The provincial average for any party on election day 2008 resulted in a certain number of votes for that party in any given riding and a defined ratio of provincial average support to votes in the riding. That ratio is applied to an average of polling results for this election to calculate the number of votes the current support level would result in for a given party. This allows you to see how the votes would split today and who would likely win each riding.

Of course this assumes the quality of candidates and the overall situation in each riding is the same -- which is not always the case. In some ridings the situation changes dramatically, shifting that ridings relationship of votes compared to the provincial average. To account for this, the site applies corrections where, for instance, one party is not running a candidate. These corrections are completely transparent and if you don't agree with them they are easy for you to reset for yourself.

This simple but effective math tool make it easy for you to decode what all these polls we see on television likely mean for your riding. As the functionality is expanded over the coming days you will be able to see what the myriad of public polls mean for not only the results in your riding, but also for who forms government on May 2.

We're growing!

Catalyst Internet is growing in 2010. We're looking for people with website development project management experience, as well as programmers who may or may not have experience with popular Open Source CMSes Drupal and WordPress. PHP skills are a must. Javascript is a plus as well. If you would like to join a progressive, agile and creative team, contract or salary, remotely or in one of our three cities of operation - Vancouver, Victoria and Washington DC - please send a resume to my attention: evan [at] Oh, and please review our portfolio of work to be certain you are comfortable with kind of work we do. We do tend to get involved in some high-profile, controversial campaigns. Thanks for reading!

We're Sponsoring BarCamp Vancouver 09

One of the main reasons I opened an office in Vancouver last year was to get involved in the vibrant and innovative Vancouver tech scene. Living in Victoria I was just too far removed, even though I was in contact daily via the Interwebs. One of the premier events in our (yes I feel like a real, bonafide member now - thanks everyone) ecosystem is BarCamp Vancouver. This year our company will be a sponsor, and I'm really looking forward to my staff and myself attending and contributing to the event.

Oh boy, we're live...

We decided to open our new company site ahead of schedule (and completion) to push us to work on the old "cobbler's shoes" problem. We're so busy with product delivery in our small company that this site has been waiting for long time. Please excuse the unfinished elements. We'll be back to fill in the blanks as soon as our torrid schedule allows. In the mean time, we welcome your comments and feedback.

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