Tendenci Newsletter Generator – It’s Back!

First – let’s talk about the NOW. Newsletters are back in Tendenci 6!!

Newsletter Generator for Nonprofits
Tendenci’s Open Source Integrated Newsletter Generator

Tendenci’s Open Source Integrated Newsletter Generator

A lot of long time clients have resisted upgrading to the responsive-mobile-first-open-source-version of Tendenci 6, or even the responsive designs in Tendenci 5, because of one killer feature in Tendenci 4 (the old Microsoft version) and that was NEWSLETTERS.

We listened. We heard you. It’s back.

The ability to communicate with your membership by study group, by event attendees, to only the board of directors, etc. We heard you loud and clear and the newsletter generator is back in full force in Tendenci 6. To prevent the tragedy of the commons (e.g. another client blacklisting a shared email server) we are requiring clients to use either their own SES or a product like Mailgun.com for the newsletter. This will offload the sending to the third party and each client can manage their own newsletter statistics for the first time.

This also alleviates another area of pain. If one client out of 500 ish purchased an email list and the bounce rate was too high, well, then EVERYBODY got slammed and nobody could even do a “forgot my password” request because another client blacklisted the mail server. It’s just the way the Internet works. Why can’t we all just get along, right?

If you are on Tendenci 6 (not an automatic upgrade from T4 or T5 because we pushed more of the design to the front end … um…. where it belongs and the designers can do their thing. Rock on you artsy folk who make software look awesome. More freedom for you. (just please no comic sans, ok?)

If you are on T4, which is approaching end of life very quickly as I type this (Microsoft, not Tendenci dictated these dates so please don’t send email asking if we can secure something Microsoft isn’t patching anymore).

Turn a negative into a positive. Now is a great time to consider a mobile first bootstrap 3 theme that integrates with Tendenci 6! They’re smart, mobile first, responsive, and make you a rock start. Check out www.wrapbootstrap.com for bootstrap3 themes. They’re kinda awesome like this:

Affordable Themes for Tendenci Sites
Bootstrap3 themes for Open Source Tendenci!

 

Just one of the many new functional mobile-first capabilities that have been built into open source tendenci since we started the rewrite in 2009.  This is functionality we have been able to bring back with the help of the Tendenci community.

After 17 years we know the functionality the people who use the site to register for events need, as well as the needs of the people on the board-of-directors and the person functioning as Executive Director. It just takes a while to rewrite 10 years of code in a completely different technology. And we’re just getting started!

Check the help file for the Tendenci Association Newsletter Sending Tool for more detail and edits over time.

Grant opportunities and how your website can serve your organization!

Tendenci Stock Photography Photos by Ed Schipul

How can your website serve your organization?

A website is an investment and not an expense. It works around the clock and can handle hundreds of people at a time. Your website can spread the word to further your organization at all times by recruiting more volunteers, connecting with donors, and helping you to gain more recognition for the work you are already doing. Its fundraising ability can help you to raise more money for your organization and quickly pay for itself!

In a Millenial Donors Report, 71% of respondents get information about nonprofit organizations through web searches! http://casefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/MillennialImpactReport-2011.pdf.

The 2014 donor report states that a company’s website is the primary media for learning about the company’s cause work! http://cdn.trustedpartner.com/docs/library/AchieveMCON2013/MIR_2014.pd

Your website is an exciting opportunity to create awareness for your organization through educating the public and evoking action from your members, donors, and volunteers.

There are organizations and foundations who recognize the asset of an exceptional website and will grant funding in order to help an outstanding organization further their cause!

Here are some foundations who have approved grants in the past towards forwarding the web and technology goals of Non Profit Organizations. They just may be the key to optimizing the potential of your website online and can help fund the exciting web projects that will further your cause.

Greater Houston Community Foundation
Alkek and Williams Foundation, The, TX
Anderson Foundation, M. D., TX
AT&T Foundation, TX
Brown Foundation, Inc., The, TX
Comcast Foundation, The, PA
Communities Foundation of Texas, Inc.
The Cullen Foundation
ExxonMobil Foundation
The Holthouse Foundation for Kids
Greater Houston Community Foundation
Houston Endowment Inc.
The JPMorgan Chase Foundation
The Moody Foundation
The New York Community Trust
The Powell Foundation
Rockwell Fund, Inc.
Shell Oil Company Foundation
The Simmons Foundation
Strake Foundation
Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program
American Jewish World Service
Annenberg Foundation
Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Inc.
Dyson Foundation
Kalliopeia Foundation
Lavelle Fund for the Blind, Inc.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
New York Foundation
Porticus North America Foundation
Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc.
The San Francisco Foundation
Surdna Foundation, Inc.
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
The Alleghany Foundation
Dominion Foundation
Freddie Mac Foundation
Gannett Foundation, Inc.
Philip L. Graham Fund
Central Indiana Community Foundation, Inc.
The Cummins Foundation
Lilly Endowment Inc.
The Ahmanson Foundation
Annenberg Foundation
William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation
The California Endowment
Compton Foundation, Inc.
The East Bay Community Foundation
Energy Foundation
The Global Fund for Women
Walter and Elise Haas Fund
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Kalliopeia Foundation
Koret Foundation
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Rosenberg Foundation
The San Diego Foundation
The San Francisco Foundation
Santa Barbara Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Stuart Foundation
Tides Foundation

HOW TO USE DJANGO-SQL-EXPLORER IN TENDENC

tendenci6megamenu.png

Tendenci 6 ships with the excellent django-sql-explorer from ePantry. This means you can export anything at any time and build any report you want whenever you want. Absolute 100% anytime freedom of access to your data. #JOY #FREEDOM #ROCKS

First a warning. If you choose to use a direct query tool know they are dangerous. You are doing so at your own risk and could possibly corrupt your database beyond repair up to and including requiring a dba to come in and repair it at a cost of thousands of quid. So…. BE CAREFUL.

SQL explorer is a way to directly query your site through the user interface. It is for superusers only and we recommend disabling it by default (see disclaimer above.) But if you are still reading here is the lightning version.

  1. Login to your Tendenci6 site at /accounts/login/
  2. Navigate to /explorer/
  3. Click on playground and test out some queries. For example here are two
    1. “select tablename from pg_tables” – without the quotes to list all 300 tables in your database
    2. “select * from articles_article” – list all articles including expired and inactive etc.
  4. If you like the queries click “new query” and name and describe them and click save.
  5. Click on the SQL explorer icon top left and your back at the dashboard with icons to download the results of your queries.

Visually when you add the URL /explorer/ to the end of your site path you will see something very similar to this.

django-sql-query-dashboard.png

First note the icon on the right to Download CSV so you can download all of whatever that query is for.  If you don’t see any, no worries – that’s what this post is about!

So let’s write a basic sql statement.

django-sql-playground.png

And then when you click “New  Query” you will find this interface and you can carefully name and describe your query so you know what it does later.

creating-new-tendenci-query-for-csv-download.png

 

1) ALL Interactive users:

SELECT  u.first_name, u.last_name, u.email, u.username, u.is_staff,  u.is_superuser, p.salutation, p.company, p.position_title, p.phone,  p.address, p.address2, p.member_number, p.city, p.state, p.zipcode,  p.country, p.url, p.sex, p.address_type, p.phone2, p.fax, p.work_phone,  p.home_phone, p.mobile_phone, p.notes, p.admin_notes FROM auth_user u  INNER JOIN profiles_profile p ON u.id=p.user_id WHERE u.is_active=True  AND p.status=True AND p.status_detail='active'

Copy Paste Version:

SELECT u.first_name, u.last_name, u.email, u.username, u.is_staff, u.is_superuser, p.salutation, p.company, p.position_title, p.phone, p.address, p.address2, p.member_number, p.city, p.state, p.zipcode, p.country, p.url, p.sex, p.address_type, p.phone2, p.fax, p.work_phone, p.home_phone, p.mobile_phone, p.notes, p.admin_notes FROM auth_user u INNER JOIN profiles_profile p ON u.id=p.user_id WHERE u.is_active=True AND p.status=True AND p.status_detail=’active’

2) ALL memberships:

SELECT u.first_name, u.last_name, u.email, u.username, u.is_staff, u.is_superuser,
    p.salutation, p.company, p.position_title, p.phone, p.address, p.address2, 
    p.member_number, p.city, p.state, p.zipcode, p.country, p.url, p.sex, 
    p.address_type, p.phone2, p.fax, p.work_phone, p.home_phone, p.mobile_phone,
    m.membership_type_id, m.renewal, m.certifications, m.work_experience,
    m.referer_url, m.referral_source, m.join_dt, m.expire_dt, m.renew_dt,
    m.primary_practice, m.how_long_in_practice, m.application_approved,
    m.application_approved_dt, m.areas_of_expertise, m.home_state,
    m.year_left_native_country, m.network_sectors, m.networking,
    m.government_worker, m.government_agency, m.license_number,
    m.license_state, m.status_detail
FROM auth_user u
INNER JOIN profiles_profile p
ON u.id=p.user_id
INNER JOIN memberships_membershipdefault m
ON m.user_id=u.id
WHERE u.is_active=True
AND p.status=True
AND m.status_detail <> 'archive'

Copy Paste Version:

SELECT u.first_name, u.last_name, u.email, u.username, u.is_staff, u.is_superuser, p.salutation, p.company, p.position_title, p.phone, p.address, p.address2, p.member_number, p.city, p.state, p.zipcode, p.country, p.url, p.sex, p.address_type, p.phone2, p.fax, p.work_phone, p.home_phone, p.mobile_phone, m.membership_type_id, m.renewal, m.certifications, m.work_experience, m.referer_url, m.referral_source, m.join_dt, m.expire_dt, m.renew_dt, m.primary_practice, m.how_long_in_practice, m.application_approved, m.application_approved_dt, m.areas_of_expertise, m.home_state, m.year_left_native_country, m.network_sectors, m.networking, m.government_worker, m.government_agency, m.license_number, m.license_state, m.status_detail FROM auth_user u INNER JOIN profiles_profile p ON u.id=p.user_id INNER JOIN memberships_membershipdefault m ON m.user_id=u.id WHERE u.is_active=True AND p.status=True AND m.status_detail <> ‘archive’

3) ALL corporate members:

SELECT cp.name, cp.address, cp.address2, cp.city, cp.state, cp.zip, cp.country,
    cp.phone, cp.email, cp.url, cp.number_employees, cp.chapter, cp.tax_exempt,
    cp.annual_revenue, cp.annual_ad_expenditure, cp.description, cp.expectations,
    cp.notes, cp.referral_source, cp.ud1, cp.ud2, cp.ud3, cp.ud4, cp.ud5, cp.ud6, 
    cp.ud7, cp.ud8, cm.corporate_membership_type_id, cm.renewal, cm.renew_dt,
    cm.join_dt, cm.expiration_dt, cm.approved, cm.admin_notes, cm.status_detail
FROM corporate_memberships_corpprofile cp
INNER JOIN corporate_memberships_corpmembership cm
ON cp.id=cm.corp_profile_id
WHERE cm.status_detail <> 'archive'

Copy Paste Version:

SELECT cp.name, cp.address, cp.address2, cp.city, cp.state, cp.zip, cp.country, cp.phone, cp.email, cp.url, cp.number_employees, cp.chapter, cp.tax_exempt, cp.annual_revenue, cp.annual_ad_expenditure, cp.description, cp.expectations, cp.notes, cp.referral_source, cp.ud1, cp.ud2, cp.ud3, cp.ud4, cp.ud5, cp.ud6, cp.ud7, cp.ud8, cm.corporate_membership_type_id, cm.renewal, cm.renew_dt, cm.join_dt, cm.expiration_dt, cm.approved, cm.admin_notes, cm.status_detail FROM corporate_memberships_corpprofile cp INNER JOIN corporate_memberships_corpmembership cm ON cp.id=cm.corp_profile_id WHERE cm.status_detail <> ‘archive’

4) All users in a specific group (replace <YOUR GROUP ID> with your group id)

SELECT ug.name, u.first_name, u.last_name, u.email, u.username, u.is_staff, u.is_superuser, p.salutation, p.company, p.position_title, p.phone, p.address, p.address2, p.member_number, p.city, p.state, p.zipcode, p.country, p.url, p.sex, p.address_type, p.phone2, p.fax, p.work_phone, p.home_phone, p.mobile_phone FROM auth_user u INNER JOIN profiles_profile p ON u.id=p.user_id INNER JOIN user_groups_groupmembership ugm on u.id=ugm.member_id INNER JOIN user_groups_group ug on ug.id=ugm.group_id WHERE ug.id=<YOUR GROUP ID> AND ugm.status=True AND ugm.status_detail='active'

Copy Paste Version:

SELECT ug.name, u.first_name, u.last_name, u.email, u.username, u.is_staff, u.is_superuser, p.salutation, p.company, p.position_title, p.phone, p.address, p.address2, p.member_number, p.city, p.state, p.zipcode, p.country, p.url, p.sex, p.address_type, p.phone2, p.fax, p.work_phone, p.home_phone, p.mobile_phone FROM auth_user u INNER JOIN profiles_profile p ON u.id=p.user_id INNER JOIN user_groups_groupmembership ugm on u.id=ugm.member_id INNER JOIN user_groups_group ug on ug.id=ugm.group_id WHERE ug.id=<YOUR GROUP ID> AND ugm.status=True AND ugm.status_detail=’active’

 

 

 

Contribute back your brilliance to the rest of us? Have you written some good queries for Tendenci using the amazing  django-sql-explorer from ePantry? Post them on the Tendenci Community Site for others to learn and share with!

Please do be careful. Remember the warnings above. Using a live sql tool on a relational database for anything besides SELECT queries is ill-advised. It really is your live data on a live site SO BE CAREFUL!

We believe this level of access to the superusers on Tendenci sites is empowering. We like knowing people can download any of their data when they need it. And perhaps contribute back some suggested new reports to the Tendenci Community as a whole!

Because Tendenci is part of the Django community and we couldn’t have brought this functionality to you without others in the community “giving first.” We may have added it to Tendenci, but that’s ONLY because of the generosity of building and making it available by others. Explorer is brought to you by the power of collaborative open source software (THANK YOU ePantry!)

Note this is a cross post from our help files. See the Help File for the latest accurate info at: https://www.tendenci.com/help-files/how-use-django-sql-explorer-tendenci/

The World is a Big Place: We’ve Gone Virtual!

Two years in the making, November 2014 marked the launch of our initiative to be a virtually enabled team!

We have moved out of our corporate office space in Houston’s Energy Corridor and are now stretching our wings in the boundless space of working in the virtual world – any time, any place.

With employees and partners situated all over our lovely planet Earth, it only made sense to reduce our carbon footprint and embrace the flexibility that comes with working without walls. A lot of planning went in to setting the company up for this change, altering our processes and finding new systems that increased communication and tracking. Here are some of the things we have changed.

1. Using HipChat for internal communication.

hipchat

Our employees are online during corporate business hours and we have a running chat going for constant communication. By linking to client sites or helpdesk tickets, we can share information, collaborate on projects and retain our water cooler discussions. We also hold daily standup meetings via HipChat to make sure everyone has the information they need for the day ahead.

2. Implementing HelpDesk for client communication.

Helpdesk

Our new ticketing system at helpdesk.tendenci.com allows our clients to submit a request directly into the queue where any member of the team can grab the ticket and begin the dialogue. By having all requests in one place, tickets don’t get lost in one employee’s email, assistance can be shared among the team and we can spot trends that indicate where a systemic solution may be needed. Screenshots and other files can be uploaded to the tickets, too, for better communication.

3. Switching to a VoIP-based phone system.

If you are still reading, this is where we could really use your help! We are using a national VoIP vendor but have had calls dropped or not ring through. Very embarrassing. Can anyone recommend a good option for a virtual phone system? We love to talk to our clients! In the meantime, if you are having trouble reaching us over the phone, please use helpdesk.tendenci.com to ask your question so that we can reach you!

And while working in your slippers does have its advantages, sometimes you just need to meet up in person to review a project. Those of us in the Houston area still meet to collaborate as teams a couple of days a week at one of the many co-working facilities in town, such as the space at Houston Technology Center in Midtown and ShareSpace out on the East Side.

So if you drive by the old office, you won’t see our name out front as we are no longer rooted in one place. We have set up a mailbox for written correspondence at this address:

Tendenci, Inc.
14027 Memorial Drive #177
Houston, Texas 77079-6826

And our dropbox for payments remains:

Tendenci, Inc.
P.O. BOX 301750
Dallas, Texas 75303-1750

But as to where we are physically located, well… spread out a world map, close your eyes and point. There we are!

(This is the first of three blog posts that discusses the tools we are using as the brain can only process so much in one day. Talking about mine, not yours! We welcome any feedback on tools you have used in your virtual work environment to increase communication – the biggest hurdle we are facing a dispersed team.)

Planned Server Updates as Everyone is Watching the Superbowl Pregame Show

All – there will be a few brief site outages this afternoon as we cycle through the data centers hosting, t4, t5 and t6 sites, installing a few more security updates while y’all are eating chips and watching the pre-game-show. (reboots mostly depending on the OS – some won’t need a reboot at all.)

Security never sleeps, not even on superbowl sunday. So if your site is offline briefly it’s OK. It’ll be right back. We don’t care much about the game but definitely want to see the commercials so hopefully it’ll all happen so fast you won’t notice.

EOL Policy for Tendenci 4 (T4) Software

EOL Policy for Tendenci 4 (T4) Software

Tendenci 6 Interface for Upgraded clients
Tendenci 6 Nav Bar

 

Tendenci has always been at the forefront of technology with regard to meeting the needs of associations and nonprofits. When we released Version 5.0 of Tendenci in 2012, the software took a major leap forward by going completely open source, allowing for outside contributions from the development community on software enhancements and bringing a level of transparency and complete control into the hands of all Tendenci users. We are excited about what the future holds for Tendenci as we have Version 6.0 currently in beta and a roadmap for Version 7.0 already underway.

With the focus on the future and what we can achieve with the new technology available, we have made the business decision to formally establish an End-of-Life (EOL) policy. In particular the EOL for Version 4.0 of the Tendenci on the Microsoft software platform is now set for April 21, 2015.

Tendenci was revolutionary when released in 2001. By the time we released Tendenci 4.0 in 2004, it ran seamlessly on the technology that existed at the time. As Microsoft phases out support for its older technology, Tendenci must also adapt to the newer technology options that will provide the best environment for stability and growth.

For those clients still running on the Tendenci 4.0 software, there are two paths for moving forward.

  1. Upgrade to the latest version of Tendenci. T6 is mobile ready using Bootstrap, brings back the newsletter functionality using a client provided smtp relay like Mailgun, and can accommodate a host of pre-built bootstrap 3 templates. Tendenci is open source and runs on Linux, an open source server environment. This means complete freedom for you with regard to customization and hosting. We can migrate you to the new platform, including transfer of existing data and implementation of a mobile-ready theme for $7500.
  2. You can stay on T4 and self host. If you would like to stay on the older technology, we can provide limited assistance to your IT team or an outside vendor with the move to your internal server environment. We will provide a single instance of Tendenci 4.0 for your use (not for resale) and you will need to establish your own security, monitoring, database server, DNS, mail servers, firewall and a VPC (recommended). We estimate the cost of the move at $5000 for the web server portion and this is variable based on the exact hosting environment to be configured.

The last two months have underscored the need to migrate away from the outdated server environment and jump headfirst into the new era of open source hosting options. We all must adapt as we receive new information. I stated previously that we intended to restore the functionality fully of Windows 2003 on Windows 2012 R2 if it could be done securely. After further research, it is clear to me that while you can definitely secure a Windows environment, it can only be done securely on dedicated servers or dedicated virtual machines isolating each client. We cannot bring full functionality back to you securely in a shared hosting environment using classic ASP. On a dedicated server, you can have security parameters that are set by you, for you. There are a number of IT firms that can assist with this and we will extend a single use license in perpetuity if this is the route you choose in the short term.

Effective immediately, there will be no additional changes to the T4 software or hosting environment so that we can focus on the release of T6 and ensuring the migration for our clients is a seamless transition.

The Microsoft sites will be taken offline permanently in 90 days.

For clients wishing to migrate to Tendenci 6.0 on our hosted servers, we will begin migrations on February 16, 2015. We expect the migration to take 30 days and are requiring full payment up front. To achieve this, there will be a need for some compromises on layouts initially, but being upgraded to a responsive design is long overdue and we can continue to work on layouts once we get everything secured and you can edit your sites easily again.

For clients wishing to self host or move to another platform, we will provide a one-time export of your data within the next 90 days. We will be accepting requests for exports starting February 2, 2015. There will be no charge for this export and it will be limited to a one-time event. If this needs to be expedited, we can refer you to an outside trusted contractor although they will charge a fee.

There will be a conference call on Friday, January 23 at 11:00AM CST (details to be emailed separately) to answer any questions about the most recent server issues and to discuss the best course of action for your organization.

We appreciate the support of all of our clients as we have fought to protect and restore your sites during this time. We can all agree that despite our best efforts, the only course of action at this point is to adapt to the changing environment and look forward to what the newer technologies have to offer. Tendenci is a great product and successfully serves websites throughout the world. We look forward to a continued relationship with our clients in the open source world of dynamic software.

[UPDATE: Another option – Generate a Static Sites. You can simply pull the site down in static format using a one line Unix command or a $5 program on the Mac. Then edit it in a product like Dreamweaver. FTP the content to any number of hosting providers. So you CAN download and transfer your site right now to fulfill any obligations. As posted previously there is also simply linking from Dropbox or AWS if that is more convenient. Neither are as convenient as Tendenci, but will keep the sites secure.]

Continued Configuration Changes on Windows Legacy Servers

Update: We will be doing a planned reboot of the Windows servers late this afternoon Wednesday January 21, 2014 to begin the process of restoring two of the remaining clients that are still offline.

Scope: This update applies to Tendenci 4 clients on Windows only. It specifically does NOT apply to Tendenci 5 or Tendenci 6 clients on Linux.

To give you an idea of the scope and velocity of hack attacks that continue, these are attempted crimes mind you, I’ve attached a 15 second video taken several days ago of actual attacks on one of our servers INSIDE the allowed ports.

15 seconds of network attacks

A further update on the 404 errors that the legacy Tendenci 4 clients have been experiencing intermittently. We have been measuring everything possible and tweaking the configuration settings as we see patterns in the logs. Each day generates over 1GB in security alerts across the data centers. All of these are either known attacks, or zero day attempts.

This is what we are fighting and it is relentless. The fact remains that we have protected the legacy sites by moving them from Windows 2003R2 IIS 6 to Windows 2012R2 IIS 8. But to make ASP classic run in IIS 8 we are running the servers in “compatibility mode” which is not an ideal configuration for any technology. And “secure” does not mean “functional” if your sites locked down to the point of not meeting functional requirements.

We have taken a step back and concluded that a technology platform started in 2001 is not up for the cyberwars of 2015. We will have a further update posted later today on possible paths forward for Tendenci 4 clients.

~ Ed

The Blog for Tendenci Open Source Software for Non-Profits & Associations. Posts on software updates, Open Source technology, and NonProfit marketing tools & strategy!