NonProfits and Associations Love Tendenci

Written specifically for the NPO/Association market, Tendenci has continued to grow and adapt to meet the specific needs of these groups. From building on an open source framework that allows complete freedom  – to mobile responsive software design – to online forums and newsletter features that keep the community involved, Tendenci continues to invest in the NPO sector. And the NPO’s have responded!

We are pleased to continue our relationship with the following organizations that have recently released upgraded websites and extend a warm welcome to those that are new to the Tendenci community.

  1. University and College Designers Association Selects Tendenci for New Membership Website

    UCDA Tendenci Website

  2. Groundwater Resources Association of California Launches Tendenci Membership Management Website

    GRAC Tendenci Website

  3. The Children’s Assessment Center of Houston Releases New Mobile Tendenci Website

    CAC Houston Tendenci Website

  4. American Association of Singapore Launches Upgraded Mobile Tendenci Website For Their Membership

    AA Singapore Tendenci Website

  5. American Citizens Abroad, Inc. Launches Tendenci Membership Management Website

    American Citizens Abroad Tendenci Website

  6. Rice University Energy and Environment Initiative (EEi) Presents Transformative Solutions with New Website

    Rice University EEI Tendenci Website

  7. International Association of Directional Drilling Chooses Tendenci for Fast Launch of Member Website

    IADD Tendenci Website

Refactoring Tendenci 7.1

Tendenci-Logo

The time has come for us to refactor Tendenci, the fully Open Source Solution for Nonprofits and Associations.

Why?

The current version of Tendenci (7.x) has significant changes which are not compatible with Tendenci 5. This has prevented us from publishing the new code to make it easier for new users to install.

When?

We will begin publishing Tendenci 7 as a package possibly as soon as October 1, less than two weeks from now. It may not get pushed out on October 1, but people who are using the open source version and are on the 5.x release need to be prepared. The actual date Tendenci 7 will be pushed out as a package is when it is ready. But please plan on October 1.

Who?

Well, if you are hosted on tendenci.com’s servers and we manage your web site then you don’t have to change a thing and it will all just happen in the background. Clients on version 5 will remain on version 5 because of the theme changes made between version 5 and 6. Clients on version 6 will be upgraded to Tendenci 7.1

If you have your own developer or you are a developer, maybe jump over to github and the docs and keep an eye on things for the next couple of weeks. Maybe even submit issue requests for features.

Why are you telling us if there is nothing for us to worry about?

Because not everyone hosts with us and we need to try to make sure their IT team knows the upgrades are possible, but will require your technical team to do them. This is important to us even if they aren’t hosting because they are part of the community.

In fact growing the open source community of people using Tendenci is the biggest driver pushing us to refactor Tendenci. We’re geeks and collaborate on github.

tendenci-github

Wait, what does “Refactor” mean again?

It means making it easier for programmers to work on the code. Technically from wikipedia they define it as “Code refactoring is the process of restructuring existing computer code – changing the factoring – without changing its external behavior.”

It’s time to refactor so we have more happy programmers. Tendenci is just too hard to install in the wild right now. That isn’t right. Plus Happy programmers means more contributors and it builds on the virtuous cycle that is what makes FOSS (Free Open Source Software) so cool. It truly takes a village.

Can’t you just contact every one who self hosts?

Unfortunately we don’t have a list and Tendenci doesn’t “phone home” so we really don’t know how many people are using it by self installing. But we care about them and we’re doing everything we can to get the word out. Everyone should be backing up their sites of course, but still, if you click “upgrade” and your layout goes wonky that isn’t fun. No data will be lost, but what a hassle.

If you self host we are working hard on these documents so you can smoothly upgrade your site (after running backups of course)
https://tendenci.readthedocs.org/en/latest/

Where is everything documented?

Over at readthedocs. Click the image below and you’ll be on your way.

tendenci-readthedocs

What if I self host and I don’t want to upgrade?

You should be fine as long as you don’t try to do an automatic upgrade. And of course you will need to keep an eye on the django project LTS timelines. https://www.djangoproject.com/download/

If you are on Tendenci 5, because of the changes with the django project itself you will need to upgrade from T5 to T6 and then to T7.1. This is all documented at https://tendenci.readthedocs.org

If you need legacy files they are linked at the bottom of this post.

OK, tell me the biggest benefit of refactoring again?

A programmer will be able to type “sudo pip install tendenci” and make a few server configuration changes and they’ll have a site up and running quickly. This matters because ease-of-use changes behavior. If you want to move forward, we have to take care of our programmers first! They care about you, so it is a virtuous cycle.

Wait, I want more technical info!

We’re gonna be pushing the technical details to https://tendenci.readthedocs.org/en/latest/ as soon as we get it all tested. We’ll be able to push the master branch to pypi again and life will be grand!

Wait, this stuff is too technical! (the opposite of above question)

I apologize for the technical stuff, but sometimes when working with software it can be technical. Just know that if you self host, talk to your local programmer and they will take care of you with the documentation we are posting at https://tendenci.readthedocs.org/en/latest/

So if I self host, and my webmaster clicks “update tendenci” and I’m on version 5 my site will break?

Yes. You’ll be able to fix it and you won’t lose any data, but you’d probably want to just restore a backup. And then go to https://tendenci.readthedocs.org/en/latest/ for the technical info.

What if I don’t wanna upgrade ever and my server is completely isolated on a ship in the middle of the ocean? 

OK, well, we like an occasional steak so you have our sympathy for a diet of 100% fish. But secondarily we have all of the historic zip files, that are still on github but will be removed, available for download for some time at https://www.tendenci.com/download/release-archive/ 

Tendenci 6 Export Options for Memberships

Part of Tendenci 6 ‘s push for greater openness is making it easier to get your data.

We’ve talked about the django-sql-explorer from ePantry in a previous post, but it can be overkill in some cases. A much simpler process is to use the prebuilt reports and exports!

For example on your Tendenci 6 site there is a page at: /memberships/reports/ accessible from the “apps” menu here (number 7 – requires super-user access):

tendenci-reporting-options-with-exports

Current Members

  1. Current Members Roster
  2. Current Members Quick List
  3. Current Member Totals by Company

Membership Trends

  1. Memberships Over Time
  2. Active Members YTD
  3. Members YTD by Type

Member Data

  1. Membership Joins Report Summary
  2. Active Memberships, filterable by join date
  3. Expired Memberships, filterable by expire date
  4. Renewed Members, filterable by renew date
  5. Pending Memberships
  6. Members in Renewal Period
  7. Expired Members in Grace Period
  8. Active, Pending & Expired Members by Type

Financial Reporting

  1. Membership Invoices

User Reports

  1. Administrators
  2. Site Users Added
  3. User Activity Summary
  4. User Access
  5. Contacts Report
  6. Corporate Membership Summary
  7. Top Spenders
  8. Users not in Groups

Management Tools

  1. Similar Users List
  2. User Import
  3. User Export
  4. Membership Import
  5. Membership Export

On screen it looks like this:

Built in Membership Reports and Exports in Addition to Admin and Explorer
Built in Membership Reports and Exports in Addition to Admin and Explorer

And of course you can still use the Django-SQL-Explorer on your site at /explorer/ and there is a help file on how to use SQL Explorer with your Membership Web Site.

3 Cool Free or Low Cost Tools for NPOs

We like the number 3 and non-profits like to save money and dedicate their funds to their causes. Combine them and you get a super short list of 3 cool things that are free or low cost for nonprofits and associations to control costs.

  1. FREE Google PPC money for those who Qualify. Learn more about Google Grants here:  https://www.google.com/grants/
  2. Tech Soup Stock has super cheap software for NPOs  http://www.techsoup.org/get-product-donations
  3. And the NTEN community isn’t free but will help you save thousands through knowledge sharing.  http://www.nten.org/
#peace

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.

Newsletter Generator Coming Soon!

We are excited to be in the testing phase of our Tendenci Newsletter Generator on alpha sites!

This feature will be available for our general community when individual sites are upgraded to Tendenci 6 from Tendenci 5.2. But just to give you some eye candy, and to save Executive Directors HOURS of work building newsletters, here are some screen shots of what is coming.

Tendenci Newsletter Generator

 

Which results in a newsletter similar to the quick test below. Forgive the graphics – but you get the concept of aggregating the content so you can use it in the email provider of your choice with a simple copy paste with fully qualified URLs for the images so they work via email.

test-newsletter

There is a slight catch that only sites using the new navigation will be able to use it as the old navigation (blue bar) causes issues with mobile and we are trying to make these frameworks coexist as we have settled on Bootstrap3 for the core, but a front end designer can override this.

In other words, there are a few strings attached but it truly saves our webmasters hours and hours of work.

Next up is to allow you to put in an account for mailgun or SES if you don’t need full reporting from higher end tools, and many of us don’t given we can derive similar information on open rates from mailgun and use google analytics for AB testing etc….

Have general questions about Tendenci? Check out our community forum! https://community.tendenci.com/

Tendenci, the NPO CMS website software, is going open source thanks to Matt and Dries

UPDATE 4/3/2012: The Tendenci Open Source Download is available on GitHub here. Also view Instructions on Hosting Requirements

============================

We are making Tendenci open source. Yes really. Official Tendenci Open Source Press Release here. So what is Tendenci?

Tendenci is an Open Source Software for Associations (AMS) and Built Specifically for Non-Profits.

That’s it. Sounds simple but organizing people, especially members of non-profit organizations (NPOs), is a real challenge. And designing software is a challenge too. Therefore focus produces better results.

We’ve talked about making our product open source for years internally. So why now?

The tipping point for me was last year at our bi-annual conference where we had the privilege of hosting two open-source visionaries Dries Buytaert and Matt Mullenweg on the stage at the same time. Dries is the founder of Drupal and Matt is the founder of WordPress.

Their WordPress-Drupal talk at SchipulCon 2011 moderated by David was absolutely inspiring to me. Here were two men who give their product away for FREE but still create jobs with over 100 employees each. The video is on WordPress.tv here.

One thing Matt said during the talk was:

People being told what to do and working for money are never going to match people working for passion and a community.

— MATT MULLENWEG

Matt’s right. I do things for free with a greater passion than what I do for the almighty dollar. I’ll spend 5 hours editing photos for a volunteer event out of passion for the arts. Or to support and remember our troops. Because I am passionate about both. I am passionate about non-profits and service to community and country, which is what drove me to start programming Tendenci in 2001! And yet paradoxically I have always kept Tendenci proprietary. My vision for the company is:

To Connect and Organize the World’s People. Do Good.

Thus we are making our code open source for the NPO community to use, build upon, download and do as they wish. And yes, we fully realize our competitors will be the first to download. But hey, maybe they have some great ideas for integration plugins and they can make a profit too. It will be released on GitHub to coincide with the NTEN conference in San Francisco next month.

Why am I doing this? It is me (Ed) making an ideological decision. I didn’t say “logical” I said “ideological.” I want to change the world. After travelling extensively and earning a degree in Political Science I’ve become more aware that we are part of a global community. I want to leave the world a better place than when I arrived. Yes, seriously!

Open Source enables us to DO GOOD at a higher level than our pure proprietary model allows. “To connect and organize the worlds’ people. Do good.” As goes the vision so goes the company. Enzo the (talking) dog in the amazing book The Art of Racing in the Rain says:

That which you manifest becomes you.

What Enzo was saying is that when you are driving a race car you can’t look at the wall to stay away from it. You need to look at the road way up ahead so you are prepared BEFORE you get there. And proprietary is limited by resources in ways that open source is not. We can manifest more good being open source.

Matt and Dries convinced me that we can build an open source product through a global community to change the world, AND still create jobs and make a profit. Thus after 14 years in business and having started programming Tendenci in 2001 (11 years!) I am ready to make the jump to open source.

What technology is behind it? It was originally written in ASP. Not anymore. On January 22nd 2009 our programming team convinced me we needed a complete rewrite because the only people who know the Tendenci 4 framework are people who work at Schipul because I never documented it. Ooops. So over the last three years we have done a COMPLETE rewrite of Tendenci from the ground up using the best-of-breed open source technology. At a technical level our programming team recommended the Django/Python/mySQL/Ubuntu “stack.”

That was a big decision. I’m committed and I am 100% positive this is the right path forward for us, our clients and NPOs everywhere. (We plan to have a github repository available by NTEN if not sooner. See you in San Francisco y’all!)

Thanks,

Ed

QUESTIONS?  (POST IN COMMENTS WITH MORE QUESTIONS)

Is Tendenci really built specifically for non-profits and will memberships be included in the open source download?

Yes and yes. Memberships are included in the base download. As are membership benefits like pricing for events etc.

Can businesses still use Tendenci?

Yes, most definitely. In fact with the new plug-in architecture and the new templating system, you will have even greater flexibility.

For example, WordPress is used as a great CMS system and we build a BUNCH of WP sites for businesses, organizations, individuals, artists, and non-profit organizations. WordPress rocks. It has a ton of great add-ons. Yet its DNA is fundamentally a blogging platform. Tendenci is fundamentally a CMS for non-profits.

Will Schipul, the company behind Tendenci, continue to build and support Tendenci?

Yes. Absolutely. I LOVE THIS SOFTWARE! And our programming team is excited to be a part of the open source community. We are not going anywhere. Quite the opposite – we are getting even more energized about it!

While I like being able to download it if I want, I’d rather not deal with all of that. Does Tendenci offer hosting?

Absolutely. Visit www.tendenci.com and click the “Free Trial” button and you are up and running. Work with your own developer to configure it to your specifications or call us at 281 497 6567 and we can help.

We are a web design firm. Can we sell Tendenci sites and host them on our own servers?

Yes. That is how open source works. And we need design partners as well to help with clients who choose to host with us. And theme and plug in-developers too.  You can find out more by checking out our Partner Programs.

How will you stay in business if you just give away your product?

I not only expect to “stay in business” but I expect our profit and revenue to go up through lower cost cloud based hosting at Amazon and increased volume. Lower costs means higher usage pretty much in every economic model I have ever seen.

And Tendenci being open source creates an ecosystem for other developers to develop apps on that meet the needs of their specific clients.

Why make Tendenci Open Source now, in 2012? Why the timing?

What better time? Thanks to our clients we grew another 20% in revenue and earned a fair profit last year. We have been profitable since 2002 and are completely self funded so I didn’t have to call a banker or a board that doesn’t understand SaaS and open source to get approval to make this decision. I simply listened to our clients. I listened to our employees. I listened to our stakeholders. I listened to Matt and Dries. And I made a decision that is best for everyone including non-profits all over the world given Django is multi-language.

And hey, financially we are strong and what better time to give to the open source community than during a recession and at a time of strength? I would have done this years ago but you can’t build an open source community around a proprietary technology like ASP (what I originally wrote it in). It was the rewrite of Tendenci by our young and talented programming team that is allowing us to make the move now.

Why is open source so important for NPOs? Do they really care?

Yes, yes and more yes. Just ask them.

According to the NTEN 2011 survey 33% custom built their web sites (perhaps on top of open source), 10% used proprietary products, cloud based or not. The remaining 57% strictly use open source software. Excluding non-profit hospitals and other niche verticals, I believe open source web technology probably accounts for close to 70% of the market by number of NPOs. PHP based CMS systems like Drupal, WordPress and Joomla currently fill this need, and they are great products.

I believe opening Tendenci up as open source provides a fourth viable option to meet the specific needs of non-profit web sites. And Tendenci is built in the Python programming language on the Django framework which opens opportunities up to developers who prefer Python.

Or to put it another way, I believe proprietary SaaS products that target the non-profit community will only survive if they focus on very specific niches because they are excluding almost 60% of their target audience. As a VC would say, that sort of limits your “addressable market.” Our proprietary competitors don’t share this belief. And I didn’t either last year. I’m a convert. And I ask you,

Would YOU rather know you can download all of the technology for your site if you wanted to?

Of course your answer is yes. You want open source because you want and deserve to control the destiny of your web presence.

That is why my personal blog and this blog are on WORDPRESS! I believe WordPress is the best blogging platform around. I love it. I started with a paid hosted site at www.wordpress.com. And at some point I wanted more control so I migrated to my own server (we have a few. #heh). Shouldn’t you have that same freedom as a non-profit?

Well, now you do.

How can I get a copy of the source code and start working on it now? (I’m writing this on 3/15/12 – the Ides of March indeed)

We hope to have a public repository available on github by NTEN next month. The (slight) delay is simply because we built our hosted environment to use three distinct servers, search index, web server and CDN. That won’t make sense to 99% of the people reading this. In English it means “we built it for BIG HUGE SITES. We need to make that part optional so a small NPO can download and run it on their own web server without having to buy three slices at Amazon. We’re working on it! And I can’t wait!

In the meantime, you can sign-up on our website and we’ll be sending an email with the download link to you as soon as it is ready.

(Note: We do have a few select beta testers with early access working on the SpacePoints site. We’ll get it available to everyone soon.)

What other questions do you have? Hit us up in the comments below!

#peace

http://tendenci.com/help-files/topic/94/