The best part about attending client events, well there are several really, but they include things like:
Attending a client event – It’s a chance to say thank you to our client! With over 300+ that we host it gets harder and harder to say thank you as I don’t know many of you personally. A while back we added up a count of users logging in different Tendenci sites just in our data centers (we have three). Just the totals of course with no identifying data, and it was over 1.2 million souls. It makes me proud and also nervous when we tweak the Tendenci user interface!
Attending a client event – I listen and YOU tell us how to improve what is both yours and our product! Yes, Tendenci is fully open source and you can download it from github at https://github.com/tendenci. So there may not be a direct financial benefit. Yet that is truly OK as Tendenci is clearly not just about the money. And a lot of y’all do host with us. We appreciate both the developers who use and tell us how to improve and the clients we host and manage everything for them.
Speaking of feedback – be sure to tell us how to improve the software on our new community discussion forum at http://community.tendenci.com. We talk to a lot of developers on github so the forum is more for…. you know… humans who use the software day to day. What are your needs? What would you like to see in Tendenci?
I’ll do another blog post about the Tendenci community forums soon. (This also means that we now have forums integrated with Tendenci. We found another great Django based open source project named Misago which works great with Tendenci given we also use Django. Next is the single-sign-on server process….
Join Sarah Worthy, Director of Product and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) at AuthorizedCV, a health IT startup in Houston, and Ed Schipul, CEO of Tendenci for their 2014 SXSW Interactive workshop: Open Source = Unemployed, & This ROCKS!
Worthy and Schipul will give their predictions about the effects of open source software/hardware on the economy and the implications it has for tech giants like Microsoft and Intel.
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?
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:
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
b. Sequential Dips
c. Dead Spots
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:
The graphs below are pulled from a report in the Tendenci software (the cms software is free for download on https://www.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 is an engagement graph of activity on a client website.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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 .
I was so happy to be able to attend my first TEDxHouston event this weekend. TEDx is the collective of local independant events organized in the spirit of the TED Conference and its motto – Ideas worth spreading.
2013 marked TEDXHouston’s fourth annual event, and Schipul was among the sponsors. Speakers ranged from astronauts to artists, and included a diverse group of local scientists, sustainable farmers, engineers, magicians, poets, and cancer survivors.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” – John F. Kennedy
What are “the other things” that we still wish to accomplish? The TEDxHouston speakers gave their insight.
It was a day full of fresh perspectives and lots of brain candy. My favorite quotes from the event are listed below. (Disclaimer: These primarily came from my notes, with a few from the tweets of other #TEDxHouston attendees – so I apologize if I get any words off in my note taking!)
12 Inspiring Moments from #TEDxHouston 2013
“Comedy is a contagious emotion.”
– David J. Neff (@daveiam), on why everyone should do stand up comedy once in their life
“There’s nothing like your first career panic attack.”
We work with a lot of Nonprofits and Associations, who often have Boards and volunteers who are responsible for keeping the website up to date. As these board members change from year to year, we want to make sure they are able to get up to speed on the website software as seamlessly as possible!
Contact our support team by logging on to our Support Portal at support.schipul.com! Our support time is billable, but we can always provide a quote for how much or how long we think your request will take.
You are missing huge opportunities to connect with your audience (be it volunteers, other organizations, or donors) if you are not using your website as an interactive tool.
Make sure you are easy to contact through your website by providing contact forms!
2. Constructing your Social Media Strategy
What social media outlets should you be posting on?
The answer for this will be different for every organization. Think about who your audience is and where they “live” online, that is where you want to focus your social media strategy.
What social media outlets should you be paying attention to?
All of them! Just because you are not active on a network doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about you. Even if you aren’t participating keep an eye on your non-primary networks so you can be aware of your online reputation.
What about all this privacy stuff?
3. Email Newsletters
Do you have different audiences?
If the answer is yes then you should be thinking about how you target your newsletter. Don’t overwhelm your contacts with information that isn’t relevant to them.
Have multiple options for opting out of email communication, maybe someone doesn’t want to receive your monthly newsletter but really wants to stay posted about upcoming events. Give them the option to make that choice.
Thank you to HiMA and all of the awesome panelists!
We Are So Excited to Introduce the New Tendenci Dashboard!
The Tendenci Dashboard is the very first page you see when you log in to your Tendenci website. In the past, the Tendenci Dashboard has contained a list of Tendenci modules and corresponding icons. With the NEW Tendenci Dashboard, you will now see a whole console of helpful metrics that visually show stats from your top Tendenci modules!
Our goal with Tendenci is to build software that gives you insight into your online and offline community. The new dashboard provides valuable information about what is happening across your website!
The new dashboard will begin rolling out Monday July 1 to Tendenci 5.1 sites.
Old Tendenci Dashboard:
New Tendenci Dashboard:
Available Tendenci Dashlets
The charts that make up your Tendenci Dashboard are called “dashlets.” The new Tendenci Dashboard is launching with the following dashlets:
Members shows a graphical breakdown of Memberships by type.
New, Renewed, Expired, and Upcoming Expired Corporate Memberships show activity in each of those categories for the last 30 days.
Top Corporate Memberships lists your top 5 Corporate Memberships by active users.
Upcoming 5 Events shows the next 5 upcoming events on your calendar and registration stats.
Top 5 Events shows the most popular events sorted by event log views over the last 30 days.
Top 5 Forms shows the most popular forms sorted by number of submissions over the last 30 days.
Top 5 Pages shows the most popular pages sorted by event log views over the last 30 days.
Customizing Your Dashlets
You can customize your Dashboard by setting these dashlets to show or hide, and reordering them.
To customize your dashboard, click the top link labeled “Customize Dashboard Statistics.”
From here, simply check the boxes to show and hide dashlets you want to see. Use the drag and drop arrows on the left to reorder the dashlets, and click Save to set your changes.
Miss the Tendenci Icons?
As you get used to navigating your site with the new Dashboard, you can always display the Tendenci icons by scrolling down to the bottom of the page, and clicking “Show Tendenci Icons.”
More to Come!
We are constantly working to improve Tendenci, and will continue to expand the functionality of your dashboard.
Have questions or specific suggestions you’d like to make? Let us know! Contact our Support team at (281) 497-6567 ext 411 or by contacting email@example.com!
At Schipul, we are often working on “redesign” projects, where a client has an existing website and design that needs to be updated. We know that just because a website is “attractive” doesn’t necessarily mean it is successful.
Every day, we are looking at current Analytics data from tools like Google Analytics to shape the design of a new website. Analytics tell us when to change a site from desktop only to mobile ready. Analytics tell us if we did well in search optimization. Analytics tell us what content should be presented for visitors. We use Analytics to determine the success and failure of projects – and hope to share some tips for you to use that data as well!
Below are Aaron’s slides and some insight from his presentation on how we use insight from Analytics in our designs.
Traffic patterns tend to be highly correlated year after year after year. Online traffic should reflect what’s happening offline. If your busiest times are during Spring Break and Summer – your online traffic should reflect that pattern.
Incorporate These Traffic Patterns Into your Web Marketing Strategy:
Take advantage of peak times with seasonal content
Consider boosting low times with special offers or campaigns
Track your progress by looking at year over year data (if you measure your success comparing month to month, you may miss these seasonal shifts)
Plan in advance! Start your website redesign project early so you don’t miss out!
Tip: When comparing timelines in Google Analytics, choose “Compare to: Previous year” from the drop down to automatically select the same time frame last year.
2. Mobile Traffic Has Increased
Across the board, our clients are seeing increases in Mobile Traffic year over year. Our nonprofit clients saw an average 30% increase in mobile traffic from 2012 to 2013. Make sure you are accounting for mobile in your designs.
Don’t Ignore this Mobile Stat: According to Google, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly performing mobile website.
Make sure your site at a baseline “works” on a mobile device. Better yet – design it to be mobile and tablet optimized!
Use Analytics to Discover:
What percent of traffic comes from Mobile Devices
Filter down to the device level – does your audience primarily come from iPhone, Android, or Tablet?
Tip: In Google Analytics, navigate to Audience Tab > Mobile > Devices to see specific devices
Navigate to Audience Tab > Mobile > Operating System to view your traffic breakdown of Android vs. iOS
3. Consider Responsive Design
Responsive Design is the most modern and scalable way to handle mobile and tablet browsers – and a best practice as recommended by Google and other search engines. A site with a Responsive Design uses one style sheet and the content adjusts fluidly based on the width of any browser.
This means that a mobile, tablet, or desktop device serves up the same content on your website – which in turn means you only have to update content in one place to account for all devices.
Look at Analytics for top visited pages and navigation paths. Make sure you are making your most popular content easy to find.
Tip: Drill down into the Content Tab > All Pages and select your homepage. Click the “Navigation Summary” tab to see which pages people visit most after your homepage.
5. Discuss Content Improvements with Clients
It’s not all about the design – the website’s content has to support the design to really be successful. Educate clients on content best practices and how they can improve their content strategically.
For instance, Google’s recent Penguin and Panda algorithm updates punish low quality content and overoptimization. Discuss what “High Quality Content” means and ideas for creating that type of content.
6. Remember – You Can Pay Your Way
Search Engine Optimization takes time – it takes about three months for Google to fully index a new website. You can use online PPC advertising to drive traffic to your site immediately – but note that it can get expensive, especially in a crowded or competitive space.
Use tools like the Google Traffic Estimator to see estimates of how much your keywords might cost. Remember to target ads by geography to get the most for your money.
Use the data you have to look at what your audience is interested in. Where do they spend their time and money on your site? If you are getting most of your traffic through photos or revenue through events, make sure those items are easy to navigate and find on your site.
In this example, 21% of traffic and over $1 million in revenue comes through Events. It was an easy decision to make Event content (including content on upcoming events and photos and video from past events) easy to find on the site!
9. Tap Into the Three Motivations of People – Social, Material, Ideological
Social Motivations – Identity, relationships, a sense of belonging
Material Motivations – This is the most straight forward of the three, you give something (time, money, etc.) to get a material gain
Ideological Motivations – Identifying with a cause or higher purpose
Think about what really motivates your audience when designing. Your audience may initially be Socially Motivated to attend your events because their friends are involved before they know anything else about your organization – or they may be looking for Material discounts or special offers. Particularly for nonprofits – tap into Ideological motivations with storytelling focused photos and visuals to compel them to donate!
Set up Goals in Analytics and track them. This adds Conversion data to any report and allows you to see not just where traffic is coming from – but which keywords, sources, content, etc. are actually converting.
Note that you can only see retroactive Goal Tracking data in Analytics – so don’t wait to set up these Goals so you don’t miss any data!
Short video on setting up Goals in Analytics and tips for determining what your goals should be:
In Conclusion: Analytics are Powerful!
Website Analytics give us powerful insight into how an audience is engaging with a website. Use this data to shape how you think about any design work – even if it is as simple and reworking one piece of the website.
Make sure Analytics is installed and Goal Tracking set up now to start using this data to shape your design!
How much money goes through your website each year? A thousand dollars? A hundred thousand? And where is it coming from? Jobs? Events? Are you really getting the most out of the features your website has to offer? Lots of questions! And now, some answers…
Introducing Invoice Reports!
We are excited to release Invoice Reports to our clients! This set of advanced Invoice Reporting is a new feature for Tendenci 5.1 websites that provides information about which fundraising programs are bringing in the most money for your group.
These reports, run for a specific date range, return both summary and detailed information on all revenue-generating (or fundraising) modules on your site: Events, Memberships, Job Boards, Directories and Donations.
Now you can see, in one consolidated report, where the revenue is coming from and just how much your site is facilitating your fundraising efforts!
Accessing the Reports
To access the reports on your site, go to the Admin Bar and choose Reports > Invoice Reports. (You must be on Tendenci 5.1 to use this feature. If you do not see the Invoice Reports option, please contact either Support (5.0 users) or Sales (4.0 users) to upgrade!)
You will first see a list of any reports that have already been generated on your site. This allows you to build a report based on specific criteria and then run that report over and over again for different date ranges. Choose to rerun one of your previous reports or build a new one!
Using Reports for Reconciliation
One of the options you have with the reports is to choose invoice payment status: All, Invoices with an Open Balance, or Invoices with No Open Balance. This is great for the person who reconciles the money for your organization! If you allow people to place openings on your job board or register for events online but permit them to pay offline via check or cash, you can use this data to reconcile your payments.
Click on one of the revenue categories to jump down to the detailed invoice list for that group. From here, you can see each invoice and quickly locate those with an open balance. Click on the ID to open a specific invoice to see the detail, review contact information and mark the invoice as paid once payment has been received.
Invoice Reports Tell the Story!
Tendenci was specifically designed to help organizations raise funds for the programs and services that they offer. These reports will help you evaluate your different programs, determine your biggest moneymakers, reconcile your offline payments and get all of your revenue figures in one place.
So at the next board meeting, when the questions arise, you can show, real-time, with the exact data, the financial strength of your various fundraising activities!