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The Top 2 Ways To Export a List From NationBuilder

The Top 2 Ways To Export a List From NationBuilder

NationBuilder’s people database is a powerful tool for collecting, filtering and segmenting your organization’s supporter list.

But sometimes, you need to interact with your supporter list outside of NationBuilder’s platform, which means you’ll need to export your data.

Here, I’ll walk through the two best ways of exporting a list from your NationBuilder database and when you’d want to use each approach.

Why Export Data From NationBuilder?

With everything you can do to filter, modify, and organize your data within NationBuilder, why would you ever need to export it? A few commons reasons include:

  1. To create an archive or backup of your data for security purposes.
  2. To upload custom lists to Meta’s Custom Audiences tool.
  3. To share it with a consultant or partner organization for data enhancement.

Whatever your reason, NationBuilder makes it easy for approved control panel users to export data from your account.

How To Export From NationBuilder

There are two main ways to export data from your NationBuilder account.

  1. You can export the results of a saved search or filter; or
  2. You can export from a specific list in NationBuilder.

Note: In most cases, it is best to export NationBuilder data from a saved filter rather than from a list.

Here, we’ll review the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

Recommended Method: Exporting From a Filter

The first, and best, method of exporting data from your NationBuilder database is by exporting directly from a saved filter.

When To Export From a Filter

You should opt to export directly from a saved filter when you either:

  • need to quickly export a list of people who meet your search criteria; or
  • need to limit or customize the data points included in your export.

Note: Exporting directly from a saved search or filter is only possible for exports of 100,000 records or fewer.

How To Export From a Saved Filter

To export NationBuilder people data based on a saved search or filter, you must:

  1. Sign into your NationBuilder control panel.
  2. Navigate to the “People” section of the database.
  3. Follow NationBuilder’s HOWTO for exporting from the people section.

During the export process, you’ll have the option to choose which database fields to include in your export.

I recommend limiting each export to only the fields you need at that time. This can limit the effect of any potential data breach or theft.

Alternative Approach: Exporting Directly From a List

In lieu of exporting people directly from a saved search or filter, you can also export people directly from a list.

When To Export From a List

Exporting people directly from a list is an older, somewhat antiquated approach to exporting people from NationBuilder, but it does have one significant advantage: it can enable you to handle very large exports with relative efficiency.

NationBuilder limits the size of data exports to 1,00,000 records per export. That means that, in large nations, exporting the entire database from the Filters view would exceed the 100,000 record threshold and therefore be impossible. 

Put simply: if you need to export more than 100,000 records, you want to use the list method.

How To Export From a List

In order to export people from a list in NationBuilder, you first need to add people to the list.

Then, navigate to your list in the control panel, and then to the “export” tab (as pictured below).

Screenshot: NationBuilder List Exports

What To Do if Your List Is Too Large

If your list is too large (larger than 100,000 people), you’ll need to first split the list before exporting each segment.


In the vast majority of cases, you’ll want to export people directly from a saved search or filter.

But in rare cases, when dealing with large numbers of people per export, you’ll want to first add them to a list, then split the list, then export each portion of the split individually.