Advanced Tour of Your Admin Backend – Tenth Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

Coming in 2013: We’re updating several features in the administration dashboard to give you easier control over your site’s advanced management tools. 

When we rewrote Tendenci in Python and Django in order to release an open source version, we also updated the Administration Management Dashboard that we commonly will refer to as your “Admin Backend”.  The Admin Backend is intended for Tendenci Super-Users to manage the more advanced site and user functions, as well as give our open source users quick access to developer and theme documentation and tools.


access admin backend

Until now, most users have probably never seen this part of your site, and because we’re going to be adding tons of pretty awesome new features to your Admin Backend this year – I thought I’d offer y’all a tour.

If you have any questions or comments after the tour, please post in our comments section below or email me.

Your Administration Dashboard aka “The Admin Backend”

You can easily navigate to your site’s Admin backend two ways:

  • By adding /admin to the end of your site URL in the browser address bar
  • Navigating using your Blue Top Bar Admin Nav Menu through the dropdown menu under “Quick Links”

** You’ll need to have Super-User level access to the Tendenci website in order to access the Admin Backend regions.  

Sneek Preview of Upcoming Awesome Admin Backend Updates

Here’s a screenshot the site Administration Dashboard Homepage that you’ll see when you first log into the admin backed. You’ll see the full list of modules under Site Administration installed on your site.  If you install any plugins, such as the staff or videos plugins, you’ll find those listed here as well.

admin backend tendenci contributions
Your Admin Backend Dashboard Gives You Access to Advanced Site Features.

The Admin Backend dashboard also shows you your “Recent Actions” where  you can see recent items you’ve added (marked with a green plus icon), and edited, (marked with a pencil icon). The actions are linked to the content enabling you to quickly access the most recent content you’ve been working on.admin backend tendenci contributions

New Batch Management Tools

If you click through to one of the modules, for example the Files module, you’ll find the batch organization tools to make it faster for you to update, add, delete, and manage your site’s content and users. The batch organization tools give you the ability to effect multiple files at once.

Here’s a preview of some of the new batch management features we’re adding:

Click to filter and view Contributors and Owners of Files, Pages, Articles and Other Site Content

Filter content and files by the creator of the item on your site with a single click. The updated Filters let you see which users have added content as well as filter by active or inactive files.

files admin backend updates to sort by file owner
Filter and View Content based on the User who Added the Content

You might use this if you’re trying to find the original content for something that a former Staff member or Volunteer had created. You can even combine the filter by owner with the active filter option to see all content that’s currently active or inactive.

Inline Batch Editing for Titles, Tags, and other Fields

With the new inline editing option, you can quickly edit certain fields like we’re showing here for the stories module. Without having to click and wait for the full edit page to load – you can update tags, titles, categories and other fields just by clicking in the field, typing your changes and pressing enter or clicking out of the box.

stories in admin backend have more edit options
Inline Editing Options for Stories in the Admin Backend
drag and drop re ordering in admin backend
Just hover over the Reorder icon and then click and hold your left mouse button to change the ordering.

Use the drag and drop re-ordering feature to rearrange the order of content inside your admin backend. This is really great for content such as stories, photos, and video galleries where you may want the content to display to users in a different order than you originally uploaded the content in.

For example, when we initially uploaded a series of Membership videos to the website, the videos were displaying out of the series’ order on the video gallery page.  By going to the Admin Backend “Videos” dashboard, we were able to drag and drop the videos into the right order, and display the Membership Module 9 Video Series in order from start to finish:

video gallery re order display series
Simply Drap and Drop to Display Your Videos in Order!

Advanced Sorting Options

The new sorting options will enable you to quickly sort a module’s files using one or more of the header Fields. You can select which header fields to include in the sort and rank them in order for sorting.

For example, let’s say that you’re reviewing content on your website to make sure everything’s up-to-date for the new year. Using the advanced sorting options, you can search your Articles by the last date they were updated so that the most recently updated articles showed up first or last. You can also select to filter out inactive and pending articles by clicking the “active” filter. This way, you can easily start sorting content by starting with content that you know is publicly visible.

admin backend sort and filter field headers
Click to Sort and Filter Content in the Admin Backend

As you update content, the “Last Updated” date will change, automatically creating a way for you to keep track of your content that’s been recently edited and see at a glance what content is out of date.

Advanced Site Documentation from Docutils

We also integrated Tendenci with Docutils, an open source document management tool.  New Tendenci sites automatically will include advanced documentation and resources for those of you working on Tendenci as a developer or designer and you’ll access these tools from your Admin Backend dashboard.

template and site documentation
Find Advanced Documentation and Resources in Your Tendenci Admin Backend

Our developers have packaged up helpful code snippets, in-depth information about Models and Views, and more!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TENDENCI!merry christmas 12 days tendenci frame

We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website! Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts for each day from now until January 5th!

We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email to


New JumpStart Package for Small Associations – Fourth Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

Christmas Blue Tendenci-Logo Transparent No WordsComing in 2013: A new Jumpstart Package with an affordable set-up fee to help set-up and personalize your Tendenci association website in a snap!

ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS… TENDENCI’S GIFT TO YOU: An affordable way to Jumpstart Your Association’s Online Community!

Beginning in early 2013, we’ll begin offering our new Tendenci Community Jumpstart Package to give new and growing associations an entry-level website built on our open source platform.

The Jumpstart Package helps get your association website set-up fast and gives you an open source platform full of all the tools you need to build an online Community! Best of all, each Jumpstart includes your very own Tendenci expert to handle the technical pieces provide you and your team training with Tendenci best practices.

tendenci jumpstart package
Tendenci Gives Your Association Website a Push Forward!

The Jumpstart is intended to help small and mid-sized associations get a professional looking, engaging website that can help manage donations, memberships, and events in about 30 days.

What’s Included?

The Jumpstart package includes a Tendenci site architect from our team who will be your team’s guide throughout the process.

Each Jumpstart Package Comes with Our Help to:

  • Set up of one of our Tendenci Community Theme Templates for your website
    • Customize the colors of your template to match your nonprofit’s branding
    • Resize and upload your logo
    • Resize and upload up to 3 homepage rotator stories images
  • Configuration your site’s theme settings and global site settings
  • Navigation Menu Set-up
  • Creation of up to 3 User Groups that you can easily import your users into from a CSV file
  • Creation of a Donations form and Custom Contact form
  • Support for Integrating Your Merchant account with your website so you can take payments through the site
  • Training specific to your website for you and your staff

What’s the Cost?tendenci toolkit

Initially, we’re going to be offering the Jumpstart Package for $2500.00** plus your monthly Tendenci Community hosting and application management fees. You’ll also get the first 30 days of hosting Free** when you pay for your Jumpstart Package.

We’re trying to offer this package as low as possible to provide associations with an affordable choice in open source community management tools. One of the best things about Tendenci is how scalable the software is so that as your association grows, your website will grow with you!

 ** This is a special, introductory offer and the pricing is subject to change at any given time. Ethically, we need to make sure you know that we sometimes need to raise our prices as costs and economic factors change. 

Get Notified When the Jumpstart Package is Available

If you’re interested on receiving an email when we officially begin accepting new Jumpstart clients, signup below and we’ll include a special offer in the email for those of you who decide Tendenci is right for getting your association website the jumpstart it’s needing this year.

Sign-Up and We’ll Notify You When We Launch our Jumpstart Package:


We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website!

Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts for each day from now until January 5th!

We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email to

New Language Choices – Third Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

Christmas Blue Tendenci-Logo Transparent No WordsComing in 2013: More International Language Options for Your Website Visitors!

ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS… TENDENCI’S GIFT TO YOU: Internationalization for Your Association Website!

Internationalization for your website means you can offer content and online functionality in multiple languages and locales to your website visitors.

3 Reasons Website Internationalization Matters for Associations

  • Members of your Org’s chapters in other countries will be able to visit and participate with your main website and make it easier for your staff to grow your global community.
  • Donation forms will translate into the language of your donors, giving your organization global online fundraising tools
  • Small nonprofits and associations in economically disadvantaged countries can reach Wealthier Foreign Donors and Corporate Sponsors using your website to translate your cause into their language.

wikipedia africa map languages spoken regions

International Language Factoid: There are over 2100 different languages spoken in Africa according to Wikipedia!

Tendenci Updates to Automatically Translate Your Website Content

Ian McKinnell/Getty Images
Ian McKinnell/Getty Images

Associations and Nonprofit Organizations that want to reach an International audience need a website that is multilingual, and this year, we’re adding even more international language translation support to your Tendenci open source websites!

Our programming team has been updating the foreign language tools in Tendenci’s software and improving how your website integrates with the language translation function provided by web browsers.  Tendenci website content can be translated into each language based on the preferred language designated by your users inside their web browsers, helping you deliver your message in virtually any country so members and donors clearly understand.

Next year, you’ll enjoy the gift of an International Website and expand your association’s reach around the world with Tendenci – The Open Source CMS for Associations!

Merry Christmas from Tendenci!

We’re celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with daily previews of the all new Tendenci Features coming to your association website in 2013! Join us each day to “open new gifts” filled with feature updates for your website!

Visit our Twelve Days of Christmas Main Page to find new gifts for each day from now until January 5th!

We love to hear your questions and comments about Tendenci, the open source CMS for Association’s – leave a reply below in our comments section or send us your thoughts via email to

Tendenci Accounting and Billing Changes to Help Us Better Serve You

Dear clients – know that we love you and are proud to serve you. And I need your help. We have to make a few billing changes.

In 2013, we are making a few billing automation changes and adding fees for clients that pay late or require more paperwork so everyone else doesn’t have to pay more to cover that tiny subset. In short:

  1. If you know what the amount is going to be, like Tendenci Software Fees, or a monthly retainer, we need it set up recurring and automatic like your cell phone, water bill, car payment, etc… This is standard stuff for all of us.
  2. If it is something you would want to review, like variable charges for graphics, you will need to login to a portal and review your invoices for payment. We recommend putting a reminder on your calendar to simply check the portal once a month just in case Intuit’s monthly reminder emails don’t make it through.
  3. For the tiny fraction of clients who slow pay, to be fair to our other clients, we are implementing processing and late fees.

We are software developers, marketing consultants, designers, strategists, photographers and many other things. What we are not is accountants. We want to focus on improving your software and service. These minor changes make life more efficient for everyone.  And it is the ethical thing to do as only the ones who pay late will see any late fees.

How much do I appreciate y’all? A LOT! Without you there is no Schipul Company and no Tendenci software to support the non-profit (and sometimes for profit) communities. And I’m so proud of the team and grateful to our clients that we were able to publish Tendenci 5.0 fully open-source.  Obviously I was inspired by Matt and Dries’ business models at their talk at SchipulCon 2011. They both have great open source products and well run companies with fully automated billing. Schipul and Tendenci need to catch up and do the same thing to continue supporting our now open source product.

The email below is going out to our billing contacts today.  It’s the stuff our lawyers make us say to tell you about official changes in our billing and contracts.  We want you happy. If you would like to contact me directly my email is eschipul at the domain name “”


Ed Schipul, CEO


 Important Changes Coming to Schipul’s Billing Process in 2013

We’re Going Paperless!

In order to spend more time serving our clients – and less time on paperwork for us and for you – we are upgrading our current accounting system. In 2013, we are moving away from paper invoices and implementing automated billing procedures for all clients. This change will ensure that your account remains current by eliminating the unpredictability of the postal service in delivering mailed invoices and checks in a timely manner. We will be working hard over the next few weeks to get all of our clients converted to the new system.

Visit our blog to read more on these changes from our CEO Ed Schipul:

Automated Monthly Payments

Monthly software charges will be the first to convert to the new system. Instead of receiving a paper invoice each month, your credit card will be automatically charged for the standard amount of your retainer and software fees. An emailed receipt will be generated each time a payment is made to your account for your records.

Variable Support Charges

At this time, support charges outside of your retainer and software fees will still be invoiced monthly based on usage. You will receive an email with links to review your invoice and make an online payment.

ACH Debit Option

If your organization does not have a valid credit card, you have the option of setting up your monthly payment via ACH automatic debit.

Charges for December and January

Your November invoice covers the standard monthly charges for December. Please pay this invoice as usual to cover your December software charges. When you implement the automatic billing feature, your initial payment will cover your January invoice.

Processing and Late Fees

Starting in 2013, a 10% processing fee will be added to invoices that are not set up for automatic recurring payment. In addition, invoices over 30 days past due will be charged a late fee of 5%.

Getting Set Up with Automatic Billing

Our goal is to have all of our clients set up in the new system by January 1. Contact our accounting team today at or call us at (281) 497-6567 x 523 to get set up.

Please Read Everything

We recognize changes can be confusing. Please be sure you have read all of the information regarding the new billing procedures carefully. We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding your account. Please contact us at (281) 497-6567 with any questions and to get set up on the new system. We hope this change simplifies your life too!

The Schipul Team, Creators of Tendenci

Make Your NonProfit Website a Donor Magnet Part 2

In part one of this 2-part series, I talked about the problems with many nonprofit websites that are driving potential donors away.  In the second post, I’m going to give you 5 changes you can make to your website to increase your online donor conversions.

5 Minor Changes You Can Do Today

1) Strengthen your Call to Action

The last thing you want is for a visitor to come to your website looking for a way to get involved and not being able to find the information.  Your site needs a clear call to action that asks visitors to become members, donate, or register for an event.

“Learn More” CTA Button from

Here’s a great article by the Copyblogger on the common mistakes that marketers make with their web site call to action.  Are you making any of these mistakes? If you are, today’s the day you’re correcting them!

2) Make it Easier for Visitors to Sign-Up

Make it as simple as possible for your visitors to convert into supporters on your website.  Identify the actions your site visitors take on most often and least often.  Then, log out of your site and go through each of those actions from a visitor’s perspective.

As you go through the sign-up process, ask yourself, “How easy is it and how long does it take you to complete a transaction?”, to help you figure out how you could make the process better

Test both the most and least popular actions and then compare the experiences.  Sometimes, this activity reveals ways that some actions are complicated and time consuming for visitors and that’s driving potential donors away.

3) Move Your Email Newsletter Sign-up Above the Fold

“Above the Fold” is a term for the portion of a web page that you have to scroll down to view.  Think of “the fold” as ending about where you might fold down your laptop screen.

According to another study by Jakob Nielsen, content below the fold is only viewed by about 20% of your total site’s visitors.  This means that any content you place below the fold is only going to be seen by 1/5th of your visitors.  Important items you want to have above the fold include: your email newsletter sign-up form, a clear call to action, a strong headline and links to find out more about your organization.

4) Give Donors What They Want

The Children’s Museum of Houston Gives Visitors 1-Click Access to Information.

Donors want to know more about your nonprofit before they donate.  They also prefer to go online to research information about your organization themselves before making a decision to support your mission

Donors want information that communicates what your organization does, how you spend donations and who you have helped.

If you also have memberships, then you want to also consider that new members want to know about member benefits, costs, and find out about programs and events you have for your members.

Learn more about creating engaging content for your website in the presentation Writing for the Web by Katrina Esco, Account Executive on Schipul’s Creative Services team.

5) Use Digital Media to Create Compelling Stories

You know you should use storytelling to share your NonProfit’s Mission and Vision to attract new donors.  Crafting great stories can be a challenge.  Take photos and videos from your events, of your volunteers and staff, and of  the people you’ve helped.

For example let’s look at the homepage for Camp For All, a camp program for kids with a variety of different health problems:

The Camp has a photo of a kid swimming on their homepage and just look at how happy this kid is.  This photo shows new visitors that Camp For All is making a difference in children’s lives and that’s far more powerful than if Camp For All had used text to say  the same thing.

I’ve written about how to incorporate your nonprofit’s stories with your website.  Check out Grow Your Members and Donors with Photo Albums and NonProfit Storytelling with Videos for more examples and tips.


Make Your NonProfit Website a Donor Magnet Part 1

Tendenci websites include all the tools your nonprofit organization needs to create a website that will attract donors, volunteers and members and make it easy for them to get involved.

According to a study published in the NonProfit Trends, 34.8% of  last year’s online donations occurred after October, November and December.  For most nonprofit organizations, the Holiday Season are when you generate the majority of your annual online revenue from donations, holiday gala fundraisers, and membership renewals coming due.

Is Your Website Ready for the Holiday Rush?

If your nonprofit’s online fundraising isn’t performing as well as you’d like, you aren’t alone.  A recent Usability Study of nonprofit websites found that it is 7% harder, on average, for someone to make a donation than it is for them to make an e-commerce purchase.

In this two part blog post, I’m going to share the research on which elements are frustrating and driving away potential donors who come to your site and can’t find what they were looking for.  The second post will give you 5 minor changes you can quickly make that will get your website ready well to attract new donors just in time for the holidays.

Nonprofit Site User Experience is Falling Behind

Over half of all NonProfit Websites have missing or outdated content.

The usability study, led by noted web usabilty expert Jakob Nielsen, tested common activities that a visitor to a nonprofit website might do and found some surprising results:

  • Making first-time and repeat monetary donations on nonprofit websites – on average, online donations tooks 7% longer than a typical e-commerce site’s shopping cart check-out.  17% of the nonprofit websites made it extremely difficult for visitors to even find the online donation option.
  • Donating tangible items like furniture, canned foods, and used clothing online – this received the lowest user experience rating of all the tested activities and in nearly all cases, site visitors went to multiple nonprofit websites before finally finding an organization with clear and complete information on how to go about donating.
  • Researching how to volunteer online – communicating Volunteer information was the one thing most nonprofit websites are getting right.  The study gave this the highest user satisfaction ranking and reported that the one item most nonprofits forget on the volunteer pages is way to contact the organization.
  • Researching nonprofits on Facebook – the study found that people don’t like to donate on Facebook and that visitors except a nonprofit’s website to have far more content than your Facebook page does.  The report explains that potential donors go to a nonprofit’s Facebook page to read the stories of the people who benefit from the nonprofit’s work.

The study showed that over 53% of the nonprofit websites had missing and outdated content and 47% of the websites were not designed to be intuitive and user-friendly.  The report states that you could increase your online donations by 10% or more just by making some minor changes to your site’s usability and improving your content.

A 10% increase is almost $14,000 if you fall within the median online revenue earned from first time gifts*.

*The average online revenue earned from first time gifts in 2011 was about $136,625 according to Nonprofit Marketing Guide *

If your nonprofit site is chasing new donors away, this means you’re missing out on thousands of dollars in online donations.

Is Your Website a Donor Magnet?

If your nonprofit organization’s website is one of the roughly 50% that is unknowingly chasing off site visitors, then we’re going to fix that starting right now.  You can use the study’s recommended best usability practices with your Tendenci website to give your site visitors a great online experience and increase your donations, memberships, and volunteer applications.

The key is to have content on your site that potential donors are looking for that is easy for visitors to find and tells the visitors how to donate and why they want to donate to your organization.

Crafting the elements within your site that will attract new donors requires time, research, and lots of creativity!

In Part Two of this series, I’ll give you 5 seemingly minor things that you can change on your site that will increase your online fundraising efforts and get you ready for the holiday fundraising rush.

Grow Members and Donors with Photo Albums | Tendenci Feature Focus

A Photograph is Worth a Thousand Words

We’ve all heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”, and this couldn’t be more applicable when we are talking about your nonprofit organization’s website.

Visual storytelling is key to engaging your donors, members, and community online.  Last week, I wrote about how to use online video to tell your organization’s story.  This week I want to talk about how to use Photographs and Tendenci’s Photo Album module to share your organization’s stories and events and engage with your online audience more effectively.

Photographs Say the Most Awesome Things!

Photos help you share your organization’s stories, people and mission. Your photos also make your website more visually appealing to new visitors.  Here are some great ways to use a photograph to say something awesome about your nonprofit and examples of how some of our nonprofit clients are using their Tendenci Photo Album module.

Photos Convey the Human Perspective of Your Mission

Flip through the photos on the Houston Art Car Parade website where they show off their incredible art cars and, more importantly, how the organization introduces you to the people behind the automotive works of art.

Photos Introduce and Promote the People at Your Organization

Your staff, volunteers and Board members do so much and you can show your appreciation using photo albums to showcase their hard work and efforts.  You’ll not only make your biggest supporters feel appreciated – you’ll also increase your online donations since studies show that potential Donors are more inclined to give if they can see what your nonprofit’s team is doing relevant to spending donations that effectively advance your mission.

See how the Children’s Assessment Center showcases their volunteers for their Christmas Toy Drive using Photo Albums.

Photos from Your Past Events Increase Registration for Your Upcoming Events

When you post photos from past event that show your members, sponsors, supporters, donors, and staff having a great time – you are showing new site visitors what they have been missing.  This will increase attendance at future events.

Check out ThinkLA’s Event Photos as an example of promoting future event registration using past event photos!

Photos Show-Off Your Capabilities

Photos can be used to show what your organization is capable of and what your facilities are like to build trust and increase the chances that a new visitor will become a fan, participant, and donor.  For example, Camp For All’s photo tourof their camp facilities shows parents and their children what they can expect during one of their camp programs and this increases both camp registrations plus support from donors.

Photos Bring More Press

The Media needs great visuals for their stories and they love free photos.  Create a page on your website and link to your photo albums that are most news-worthy and about your organization’s mission.  Tendenci photo albums even include easy copy and paste html code for each photo you upload to an album that allows you to embed the photos in other places on your website.  Share the code with your press releases and make it easy for journalists to pick your story and photo.

Miller Outdoor Theatre has a great example of how to make a photo landing page for the Press.

Flip Through Tendenci’s Photo Albums

Come learn about all the features included with Tendenci’s Photos Module in this Video Tour!

Video Training for Tendenci Photos

We also have a 2 Part Video Training Series on how to upload photos to your Tendenci website and edit them to create great looking photo albums on your nonprofit’s website:

Tendenci Photo Album Training Part 1

Tendenci Photo Album Training Part 2

Free Beautiful Stock Photos for NonProfits

We’ve uploaded one hundred gorgeous photographs that you can share and add to your website, free!

Photos Are Great for SEO!

I wanted to leave you with one last reason photo albums rock out your website and that’s search engine optimization.  Make sure when you are adding your photos that you use the title, description, and tag fields to boost your rankings and attract new visitors.  Learn more about optimizing your photos and other content on your Tendenci website in this great article at The SEM Blog on Optimizing Your Tendenci Website for SEO.

Got Questions and Comments?

Share your comments below or contact us with your questions.