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.

Translating Data: Making Sense of the Patterns

If you lived through the 70s and the 90s,  you know that trends are cyclical.

How many times have we seen bell bottoms and big sunglasses make a come back?

 

Picture of Woman with Big Sunglass and Man in BellBottoms3220590102_3b880061a8126654542_72801c1990  

Of course this isn’t limited to fashion. A detailed look into your Google Analytics charts will reveal that your organization has cycles, predicable ones you can plan for.

So how do you read this data and equate the data to your organizations live campaigns?

1) First, collect your data. (Everything you do on a recurring basis including dates). Create an aggregated list of anything involving donor/volunteer/member communication including:

a. Events

b. Newsletters

c. Fundraisers

 

2) Find your data store. (Google Analytics is free to install and has a lot of useful data.)

3) Choose your relevant date range. I like to look at two or more time frames. Typically a year’s worth of data, a smaller three month period of activity, and a one month period.

4) Run your analytics for the type period then look for patters in your data!

Types of patterns you are looking for are

a. Spikes

b. Sequential Dips

c. Dead Spots

 

Case Study:

We partnered with one of our clients, a large nonprofit organization, to increase donations an engagement of their audience in nontraditional ways.

To achieve this we turned to the data recorded on their website:

Disclaimer:

The graphs below are pulled from a report in the Tendenci software (the cms software is free for download on http://tendenci.com/ – click on “For Developers”). These same practices can be applied with Google Analytics or whatever your analytics of choice is.

This graph shows site activity grouped by module/plugin (for example any event page that was clicked on during the time period would show up as orange)

This key shows which colors are associated with activities on the website

 

This is an engagement graph of activity on a client website.

Graph showing visitor engagement on different applications on the site

 

What we noted:

  • We see a huge increase in site visits on the 4th-6th
  • Followed by a huge increase in site visits to photos on the 11th
  • And then a decrease in site activity after the 12th

So what did we find when we matched up the engagement graph with our dates of activities

Saturday, 6th was a large event

Thursday, 11th a newsletter goes out to members

When we compared to another month with a large event, we found the same graph shape.

The data tells us:

  • Before the event and day of we had lots of people on the site looking for information and directions
  • After the event we had a dip in activity but we had a lot of people visiting the photo pages to look for images of the event
  • The newsletter contained links to the images for the event so we had  a huge increase in visits to the photo page. 

So what types of actions can an organization take based on this data?

  • Have upcoming event information on your website loud and clear. People will be looking for it
  • Make sure to be taking lots of photographs at the event – photos generated a huge amount of traffic to the site
  • Newsletters or an email post event drive traffic.
  • Add a call to action on your photo pages. These pages get huge amounts of traffic post event and people are reliving the experience – make sure there is a call to action to donations or volunteering.
  • Engagement is low post event. Brainstorm ways to reengage audience after the event excitement is over.

 

The patterns are there, you just have to look for them and connect the pieces of the puzzle.

 

Want more info?

Ed Schipul is the CEO of Tendenci and will be speaking on Data Analytics at NTC 2014 in Washington DC on March 15th (Online Fundraising Strategies to Take Advantage of Your Donor Events)

 

 

Photo Attribution (in sequential order):

rchappo2002 “Mr Hicks – 1971

Betty Tsang “vampire?

Mick “Super Models and Big Sunglasses

 

 

Episodic Event Focused Nonprofits vs Associations Drumbeat Events

Episodic Nonprofits vs nonprofits that have a drumbeat of events and activity. I did my best to anonymize the data while still showing the radical difference in what the servers see for episodic versus ongoing. It really is hit or miss for episodic non profits.

Ongoing Organization Event Focused

Some organizations have ongoing focus on events and audience outreach. For these organizations we see consistent dip and upflow patters surrounding events and consistent high levels of traffic.

Episodic Event Nonprofit fundraiser example one:

Note most of the traffic below is informational and prior to the event (it was a Saturday event.) And the day before had more overall traffic. A follow up newsletter with photos also generated more traffic than the day of the event.

Photos are the number one element of most sites. If they are not, it is typically because the client isn’t posting photos as opposed to a lack of appeal for a particular industry in my experience. (So go get a DSLR!)

Episodic Non Profit Example 1

Some organizations will focus on outlets that will reengage audiences post event but not have consistent PR and outreach. For these organizations we see a u-shaped curve around the event followed by a consistent decreased linear pattern.

Episodic event number two:

Note they did a great job of building up a drumbeat before the event and again the traffic is seeking information. This event also saw almost 50% mobile traffic suggesting that users were accessing schedules and maps of the event the day of the event.

Episodic Non Profit Event Example 2

Some organizations focus primarily on event based engagement. For these organizations we will see steady curve upwards leading up to the event, followed by  a drop off.

Modules used by many of our non-profits are partially listed in the menu screen grab below. Note that this is a partial list and varies by client.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 7.44.06 PM

This legend explains the correlation between the colors which are the same universally for all Tendenci clients. I blurred the numbers but all of the charts are scaled to print. So 1,000,000 events, if that is the max in a given module will be the same height on the reports as 1,000 events on a smaller association or NPOs site. This is just to help explain it.

legend

For more on Tendenci and how it can help your non-profit, visit www.tendenci.com. It is also completely open source so feel free to try the demo at http://demo.tendenci.com and developers can download and extend it at www.tendenci.org .

 

Ed Schipul is the CEO of Tendenci and will be speaking on Data Analytics at NTC 2014 in Washington DC on March 15th (Online Fundraising Strategies to Take Advantage of Your Donor Events)

An Events Calendar Tool Powerful Enough to Handle 2013 – Twelfth Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

merry christmas frame spegcs calendarComing to Tendenci Websites in 2013: Event Management and Registration Features You’ll Love for Your Festivals, Galas, and Fundraising Events!

2013’s going to be a Big Year, and Tendenci’s working on new updates to your online calendar and event registration module because we want to make sure this is your biggest year yet!

On the 12th Day of Christmas, Tendenci’s Gift to You: Twelve New Updates to the Events Calendar Module!

Here’s 12 new features and updates we’re making this year to the Tendenci Events Calendar module to help you manage online registrations for your association programs and fundraising Gala’s.

** We’ve got even more event module updates planned for Tendenci’s 2013 Roadmap, and this list is just to give you a taste of the delicious treats we’ll be adding to Tendenci in 2013!

You’ll Love Creating New Events With These New Features

1) Import and Export Events

events import option coming soon
Soon You Can Import Multiple Events with a CSV Template!

We’re super excited about this feature because it will make it faster for you to create multiple events simply by importing all of the text and dates in a spreadsheet, instead of having to create and type in all of this information manually for each event.

2) Default Custom Event Registration Forms

Now you have the choice of using  the default event registration form, or our improved custom event registration forms. We listened to your feedback this year and the new custom registration forms now have predefined  fields that integrate with the website’s database and user records for reporting and simplify the time it takes you to create and customize a new registration form.

custom event registration form
We’ve simplified custom event registration forms for you!

If you want to use a custom registration form now, you already will find a default form with the standard contact information handy to add or remove to your form simply by checking a box. You can also customize which fields on the custom form also display on the event roster. Now you can ask what t-shirt size or special meal requests your guests have without the time involved with creating a brand new form.

3) Schedule Automatic Email Reminders to Attendees

email reminders automatically when you create event
Upload Images and Format Event Reminders to Match Your Association’s Brand

When you create new events, you’ll find a new option that enables you to send email reminders to your attendees that you create and schedule. Tendenci will automatically send the reminder for you, so you don’t have to remember to remind your registrants!

4, 5, & 6) Three New Ways to Promote, Search and Display Your Eventspriority groups and event type filtering new options

4) More Search Options

We’re adding more searchable field filters to the events module so your members can find the events most relevant to each of them. You’ll be able to search your events by date, event type, membership and user group permissions, and more!

5) New Priority Event Feature

You’ll soon find a new Priority checkbox on your new event forms. When you check this, Tendenci will keep your events on top of your events search list, and add a Star icon to your month view calendar. Now you can highlight your main events each month to help your members decide which events to attend.

priority events search and month views
Tendenci Makes Your Top Events Our Priority Too!

Here’s some fun ideas on how you can use the new Priority Event feature:

  • National Associations can feature a different Chapter’s programs and events each month to increase engagement from your different local chapter members!
  • Use the Priority events to promote membership engagement and offer prizes for those who attend every featured event this year!
  • Increase Corporate Sponsorship and Corporate Membership dollars by offering to add your supporting partners’ events to your calendar with the Priority feature setting for higher level packages.

6) Group-based Permission Settings for Displaying Events

This feature will enable you to designate certain events as “belonging” to certain user groups or membership types and allow you to do some really fun things with how events are displayed on your website. For example, one of your study groups could have their monthly study meetup on your event calendar and you’d assign the event to their study group.

Then, you could create a sidebar or box that would only display upcoming events from your event calendar that are assigned to that study group on the study group’s main information page. Members of the study group could visit the study group page and also see upcoming events specific to the group and you only have to add the event once to your calendar to share it in multiple places on your site!

Better Registration Experience for Your Users!

You want your website to be fun for your users and members in addition to your staff, and we’re making big changes across our website to provide better user experiences for your online community members. Here’s some of the ways we’re making registration for events simpler for attendees.

7) Fewer Steps to Register and Pay for an Event

We’re streamlining our registration form so that event registrants can go through as few clicks as possible when purchasing tickets and RSVP’ing for your association events. For most events, your users will be able to add multiple event attendees, select member versus non-member pricing, and view their total all from one registration page.

Adding new registrants is as easy as clicking a button – literally! Just click “Add Another Registrant” and a new section for the registration form will appear below the first registrant. Click to add as many registrants as you need and then submit just once to register and pay for everyone.

registration form for events default
We’re Streamlining Event Registration Process for Your Attendees!

8) Your Users Can Find and Manage Their Events for You!

With the new “My Upcoming Events” option, your members and regular event registrants can now search for events they’ve signed up for, update any of their registration information, cancel events, and add the event to their calendar using the Event ICS option from one place.

new my upcoming events feature
Your members can find and manage their event registration information!

Bonus for You and Your Staff:  this empowers your members to manage their own event registrations, view outstanding balances, and make payments on your website. This means your event manager doesn’t have to handle as many of these admin tasks and she can focus on all of the important tasks!

9) Updated Email Template for Event Registration Confirmations

We’ve made a few small updates to the default system email template that your website sends to registrants and confirms their registration along with their receipt for paid events.

The new email template includes an image and uses more of the formatting from your events’ description fields to give your event confirmation emails a look and feel that more closely matches your website’s Event Page. We’ve also made some updates to the helpful links section of the email to ensure your event registrants can find all the information about your event details as well as manage their outstanding balances and registration information.

images in email confirmation
We’re Updating the Look and Feel of Event Confirmation Email Templates!

10) Your Event Roster Now Tracks Attendance

Your event roster has a new “Attend” checkbox where you can mark who attended an event from the roster on your website. If you don’t have internet and a web browser at your event, then you can also print the roster with the Attend checkbox. After the event, take your printout and update the roster on your website with who attended so you can better track and measure attendance for your events.

event roster screenshot
Tendenci Event Roster to Manage Registrants

This is a huge benefit for large events where you have a team of volunteers handling check-ins. They can all be logged into your website and click to check off the people who they’ve confirmed at the event simultaneously!  The next day, you can log into your site and see at a glance who attended and didn’t. You can even view what time they were checked in.

11) Search and Manage Event Registrants Individually

The Event Roster is more intended for you to use to manage all of your event registrants in a batch, and when you need to find a specific registration to cancel or edit – you’ll be seeing some updates here also. We’re adding more information about the registrants to the view, and we’re integrating the event registrant’s contact information and site activity with their user profile on your website.

event registrant search
Manage Individual Event Registrations in Tendenci!

12) Improved Batch Management for Events

On the 10th Day of Christmas, we shared our updates coming to your site’s Admin Backend. You’ll love the updates we’re making that enable batch filtering, editing, and deleting event types, custom event registration forms, and discount codes from the Admin Backend.

Here’s a preview of a new feature that will let you reassign event types:

reassign and manage event types
Keep Your Events Calendar Up-to-Date with Your Association’s Many Changes!

You can quickly change all of the events of one type to another type. Most associations experience lots of changes as they grow and we see features like this helping you keep your website fresh and reflecting the latest changes without demanding lots of time from you and your staff.

Sign-Up for Tendenci 2013 Updates

Keep an eye out on the Tendenci Events Calendar because in 2013, we’re adding new training and workshops for our Advanced Tendenci users. We’ll also start posting scheduled maintenance and software updates, speaking events, and major announcements to help keep you in the loop with what we’re doing at Tendenci.

We are constantly exploring new ways to keep you in the loop with what we’re changing here at Tendenci. Let us know how you like to find out what’s going on here at Tendenci!

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 support@tendenci.com.

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 Metro.org

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.

 

New Event Registration Update

Tomorrow (Tuesday), the Schipul team will be rolling out a new update for the event registration process that will give you more flexibility over how event registration works for your members.

Please note: This change only effects sites running on Tendenci 5 – the newest version of Tendenci

The major changes are:

1) People can register multiple registrants with different price on the same invoice.

2) Event editors can specify whether or not guests info is required. Under the Registration section of the event add/edit pages, there is a checkbox Require Guests Info, check it if you’d like guests’ info (name, email, etc) to be showing on the roster report.

3) Site administrators (super users) can control how people can register for their events by changing the setting “Anonymous Event Registrationhttp://yoursitedomain.com/settings/module/events/#id_anonymousregistration. There are 3 options for this setting: open, validated and strict. The default value for existing sites is validated.

a) Open – Allows people registering for events to choose any price for themselves and their guests.
b) Validated – Allows people to see all prices when registering, requires a valid site user email address for each price to check that they qualify. They do not have to be logged in, and they can register guests using the guests’ email addresses.
c) Strict – Allows people to see all prices when registering, requires the user to log-in, a valid site user email address for each price to check that they qualify. They can register guests using the guests’ email addresses.

IMPORTANT! If you are a site administrator (super user), please check and update this setting to best meet your business requirements later this week. We will be following up directly with current clients who we know use memberships and calendar events for help with which setting is right with you.

4) Members can enter their member IDs for the member-only price. If you don’t want the Member ID field to show up on the registration form, you can turn it off by changing the setting “Event Registration Requires member ID for member pricing” http://yoursitedomain.com/settings/module/events/#id_requiresmemberid.

5) Admins (super users) can override with different price for different registrants when registering multiple people.

6) Discount code can be applied (if applicable) to each individual registrant instead of one registrant for each registration.

7) Sortable feature is added to the roster report to allow site administrators (super users) to sort registrants by last name, first name and company.

8) On the Roster report, you can now check people in electronically at events by clicking a check box under the column Attend.

We hope you will enjoy these updates!

For more on event module settings, check out this Tendenci help file.