Preview and Version Tools – Second Day of Christmas Gifts from Tendenci to You!

Christmas Blue Tendenci-Logo Transparent No WordsComing in 2013 – More Flexible options for adding dynamic content for your team without needing to know how to write code!

ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS… TENDENCI’S GIFT TO YOU: New Ways to Update Your Website without Code

We’re always looking for better ways to give your association online collaboration tools that your staff and members can use to share news and events. This Christmas, we have a couple of really cool new features to announce

1) New Versioning Feature for Pages and Articles Saves Your Work

View Previous Versions of Your Website Content!
View Previous Versions of Your Website Content!

Our new “Versions” feature saves all previous versions of pages and articles so you’ll be able to review content edits and view the older content even after you’ve updated and saved over it. We think this feature has tons of benefits for you, including empowering your site users with access to contribute new content and update old content because you’ll never have to worry if they save over something they shouldn’t have – you can just pull up the previous version!

If you are working on a page with another person, you can both save as you work and Tendenci will save each version and connect it with your user profile, so you can view your work next to your partners.

versions attached to username
View Who Last Edited Content and What’s Changed!

2) New Preview Theme Feature Enables You to Edit and Preview Themes inside Your Theme Editor

Edit and Preview New Themes!
Edit and Preview New Themes!

The new preview option in your theme editor allows you to edit and view theme templates and layouts without changing your live website’s theme. Site visitors and members can access all your website’s content as usual and will never know you’re in the back of your website changing the design!

admin theme live preview
Preview Theme Edits Online!


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 we’re announcing each day from Christmas 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

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 Registration 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”

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.



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.

Tendenci Admin Navigation Gets a New Look Plus Learn When to Upgrade Your Website

We’ve been busy little Web Bees the past week and you’ll find a bunch of new features and updates to your Tendenci websites.  To highlight a few of our recent updates:

  • updated custom forms with the ability to simply drag and drop to rearrange your fields
  • added additional permissions settings to job boards, directories, and memberships
  • opened up our plugin app manager to give Site Admins the ability to manage and add new plugins.  (The first plugin we’ve released for free is our Videos Plugin – Here’s How to Install it!)

Check out all of the latest updates on our Software Updates page, updated weekly.

New Blue Tendenci Admin Navigation Menus!

Last week we surprised our Tendenci Enterprise and Tendenci Community site admins with new Admin Nav Menu colors.  Why? We are working to make it easier for our clients to know what version of the software you are using and your feedback was that the blue was a better color for your websites than the previous red color.

 What Does it Mean?

If your Top Bar Admin Nav Menu is a solid dark blue and looks like this:


… then you are on the Tendenci Enterprise version of our software.  Tendenci Enterprise websites have a custom theme and your software updates and hosting services are managed entirely by Schipul – The Web Marketing Company.

If you have a light blue admin bar that looks like this:

… then you are on the Tendenci Community version of our software.  Tendenci Community websites are virtually identical to Tendenci Enterprise in their software codebase.  The primary difference is that Tendenci Community websites use a template theme instead of a custom theme.  Your software updates and hosting services are managed entirely by us.

If you do not have a top bar Admin menu at all, and when you login you see a dashboard that looks like this:

… then you are on our previous version of Tendenci (Tendenci 4.0).  We released the newest version of Tendenci (Tendenci 5.0) about 18 months ago and we recommend you begin planning to migrate your Tendenci 4.0 website as soon as possible.  We’ve talked about this before in other blog posts and we 100% understand that costs and other factors make the migration a challenge for some of our clients.

To help you with your decision of when to migrate and how to budget for it, we’re offering a free report with personalized details about the costs and timeline involved with migration for your website and organization.  We’ll also include free recommendations on ways you can improve your web marketing now with your current website.

You can learn more about the process of upgrading your website CMS to the latest software version in the recent news article: Tendenci Offers Free Report to Help Answer the Question “Is It Time to Update Your Website?.

What New Changes are on the Horizon?

Great question!  We are always looking at ways to add new features, more functionality, and improve the user accessibility of our Tendenci CMS.  Here are just a few of the awesome updates our programming team has planned this summer to make Tendenci work better for you:

  • Easier application process for your site visitors applying to become Corporate Members
  • Updates to Custom Forms to make this module even more versatile
  • Increased Functionality for Tendenci Community to auto-complete site settings during creation based on sign-up information
  • More ways to manage and organize online invoices and payments made through your Tendenci website payment gateway
  • More Print and Export to PDF options for content on the site like Pages and Membership applications

Want Something Not on the List?

Our products are customer-driven and we keep a priority queue for development based entirely on the features and modules with the most client requests.  Send us your feature suggestions and help us make Tendenci the perfect CMS platform for your organization’s website!

Questions and Comments?

We love to hear from you so please leave your comments below or contact us with your questions!

For our Tendenci 4 clients: I encourage you to complete our Is It Time to Migrate? form if you are wondering whether or not you can afford to upgrade your website or should start setting aside the budget for a new website soon.

Come check out our latest Training Videos on Tendenci’s Memberships ModuleCorporate Memberships, and Tendenci Community set-up.

Thanks to the programming giants who walked before us

Giants. Giants I tell you.

Yes, I’m excited about Tendenci going open source. But first – THANK YOU to the giants who walked before us to make this possible.

As a programmer, granted I haven’t been in the code much the last 5 years doing the whole “running the company thing”, but I haven’t forgotten how important it is to give credit where credit is due. We just pushed Tendenci 5.0 live on github yesterday. As far as I know, Tendenci is the only “open source CMS system built specifically for nonprofits” and I could add “written on the Django framework and Python.”

That is what makes open source so cool. As David Geilhufe told me today when we bumped into each other at NTEN, “welcome to the open source community. it took you a while but you got here.” David’s right.

Tendenci 5 was a complete rewrite and took over 3 years to complete.  I have said thanks to our programmers numerous times. But what giants’ shoulders did we stand on? Quite a few. Tendenci would not have been possible without the original committers on Django. So a RESPECTFUL tip of the hat to these trail blazers. #respect #thankyou

  1. Adrian Holovaty
  2. Simon Willison
  3. Jacob Kaplan-Moss
  4. Wilson Miner

And the list of brilliant committers goes on. Because it is a community. These people enabled us to give. I respect that.

To put it all together, Tendenci is a full web application. It is written on a framework called Django which is “the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines.” Django is written in a programming language called Python. Python was created by the amazing Guido van Rossum. I have never met Guido. But I know his brain is absolutely amazing and that our current business model would not be possible without Guido. Thank you Mr. Rossum. And thank you for everyone who contributes to the Python project.

We have a lot to learn still. And we are studying and learning as fast as we can. Any help is appreciated. But first and foremost, thank you to all of the programmers who walked before us and made our current path possible. ~Ed




To Our Clients: We Love You! (And with Open Source We Love You More!)

To our Tendenci clients –

Today, we released the Tendenci CMS open source (view the Tendenci GitHub Repository here). Tendenci CMS, or Content Management System, is the software that powers your website. We value you, and all our clients, tremendously and want to make sure we reach out to answer some questions you may have about this announcement and how it affects you.

What Does “Open Source” Mean?

Open Source means that the Tendenci code will be available from Schipul for anyone to download and install on a server to create a Tendenci website. The code is free, but it does require a specific hosting environment and programming knowledge to deploy a site. Open Source also means that other developers outside of our programming team can contribute to the code – build plugins, make changes to the interface, etc. The Tendenci “committers” (lead programmers) will remain gatekeepers of the core code, and incorporate the work of these outside developers as we see the benefit to clients.

What Does Open Source Tendenci Mean for Current Tendenci Clients?

In the short term, you probably won’t notice a difference. Your hosting won’t change, your cost won’t change, and your site won’t appear or operate differently.

Long term – The goal in going open source is to develop a larger ecosystem of developers who can update, add on to, and create websites with Tendenci (outside of the Schipul team). For you, this means more features available in Tendenci that aren’t currently, and the ability to customize your site to your specific needs. This also means that if you decide to, you can host your website internally or have another developer host or make updates to your website without Schipul’s involvement. We will do our best to keep our pricing competitive and maintain excellent customer service to continue providing the most value to those hosting with us.

What About Tendenci 4.0 Websites?

Tendenci 4 - Dashboard ScreenshotIf your dashboard looks like the screenshot to the right, your website is currently powered by Tendenci 4.0 – the previous version of the Tendenci software, written in the programming language .ASP.

Since 2009 we have been rewriting Tendenci – Tendenci 5.0 – in the programming language Python, a more advanced programming language that gives us greater flexibility.

All Tendenci 4.0 clients have the same set of modules and features. In the past if a client requested a custom feature, we had to either find a way to roll it out to all client sites, or say no. Several features (for instance a searchable database of Attorneys) are not applicable to all clients, but exist on every Tendenci 4.0 site. The latest version of Tendenci works in a different way. Tendenci 5.0 has a Core that include pages, forms, users, events, etc. that apply to virtually all clients. From there we install additional features that are custom to each client using Plugins. For instance, a client may want a Staff module, Video Gallery, or Locations Module depending on the organization’s needs. Things like workflow, interface, and design can be custom to your organization.

Tendenci 5 is the version of Tendenci that we will be taking Open Source.

I Have a Tendenci 4 Site. Should I Upgrade to Tendenci 5?

Web technology changes frequently. We recommend clients consider revamping their website about every 5 years – so you are utilizing the latest technology and your website reflects your brand in the most current light. That being said, upgrading a website is a process and represents a cost, so for some organizations we understand that budget constraints mean a website redesign may not be at the top of your priority list. We aren’t going to stop supporting Tendenci 4, yet long term all of our clients will need to upgrade to keep up with the latest technology. We hope that the additional features of Tendenci 5 & the lower hosting cost as a result of new efficiencies is compelling to upgrade.

The caveat here is that while Tendenci 5 is far advanced beyond Tendenci 4.0 in many ways, there are specific features that are not yet available in Tendenci 5. For a list of Modules that have changed in the new version, visit this help file.

If you are interested in learning more about upgrading to Tendenci 5, please contact our Business Development team at 281.497.6567 ext 700

How Can I Learn More About Tendenci Open Source?

The details of Tendenci Open Source CMS are available at

Also follow us online to keep up to date with the latest Tendenci Open Source details:

Additional Questions, Comments, Concerns, etc. please don’t hesitate to email us at opensource @, or post them in the comments below.

Thank you for being a client!

Tendenci Helps Non-Profits Profit With Revenue Generating Tools and Advice

Photography by Tracy Olson

Could Your NonProfit Organization Use a Little Extra Dough?

Ok – that is a trick question because of course you’d love to earn more this year for your nonprofit or association!  I’m going to share a secret and give you some simple steps to follow to make this year your nonprofit’s best financial year yet.

What’s the Secret?

Step 1 to increasing your online revenue is to integrate your website with an online payment gateway.  You’ll want to apply for a CNP Merchant Account, (CNP stands for card not present), which will allow you to accept online credit card payments from your site visitors, donors and members easily.

Credit cards are fast and secure, making them the preferred payment method for your site visitors’ online purchases.   If you don’t have a merchant account and are accepting online payments, then you are probably using a 3rd party like PayPal or Eventbrite to direct your site visitors to when they are making a purchase.

These 3rd party providers are great options for smaller organizations or the one time event, but for nonprofits with membership dues and renewals, regular event registrations, job posting fees, and other online payments coming in – you really will want to consider comparing payment gateway options and accept payments through your own website.  In most cases, a Merchant Account will end up being cheaper than using a service like PayPal or Eventbrite in the long run.

Applying for a Merchant Account is actually pretty simple to do, and is the first step towards increasing your nonprofit’s online revenue.  By integrating payment processing with your website, you also will have more control over the purchasing experience that your site visitors and members have.  This will let you customize and personalize your website better so your site visitors will love coming back to your site.

Here’s some more information about the different merchant account providers that Tendenci integrates with and I recommend.  There are links to the different pricing plans, FAQs and getting started guides for each of the different companies to help you make the best decision for your nonprofit.

What’s the Next Step?

You’ll want to determine what your organization has to offer of value to your community to better understand your current and potential sources of additional revenue.

Take out a piece of paper and a pen, or open up a Word or Google document and just start listing out all the things you are either charging for, or are doing for free that people ask for more of.  Add things to your list that you’re not currently doing and getting requests to do too.  Brainstorm with your staff and volunteers and let them add their ideas to your list.  You may be surprised by how long your list grows.  Non-profits often overlook their value and the opportunities they offer that they can charge fees to provide.

It is a common myth that the majority of a nonprofit’s revenue comes from donations and contributions.

Non-Profits Earn Revenue from Fees for Goods and Services

Don’t just take my word for it.  Take a look at this chart below that displays revenues earned across different Tendenci modules for the past 3 years.  Tendenci’s software integrates each of the different core modules with your merchant account payment gateway to accept online payments through your website.  We compiled data from the last 3 years for the total revenues earned by nonprofit organizations’ Tendenci websites segmented by the different modules including event registrations, memberships, job directory listings, product sales (cart catalog), donations, training courses, and more.

These graphs display revenues earned as a percentage of the total in years 2009, 2010, and 2011:

Tendenci Modules Revenue Earnings Bar Graph
Graph Depicts the Percentages of Revenue Earned from Tendenci Modules

The results of comparing this data tells us that the fees nonprofits earn online from event tickets and membership dues far exceeds fees earned from donations year after year.

If you want to earn more revenue online this year, host more and better events, focus on bringing in new members and increasing membership renewals, offer training courses and consider adding an online store if you have a gift shop.  Offer more services and products for sale and focus less on asking for donations.

Looks Easy on Paper – How Do You Create and Manage These New Services?

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed right now – you are not alone.  Start small, take your list that you made and put stars next to three items on the list that you think your organization has the budget and staff to accomplish this year.  Start with those three and measure the results of their revenue generation this year as you implement them.  Be sure to save your list, keep adding items to it, and return to the list when you’ve accomplished all three of your starred items.  Pick three more things from the list and try those.

I also recommend you utilize technology to help you collect payments, manage your events and members, and report results of your activities so you can make better decisions on what worked, what didn’t work, and what you can improve upon and do more of next year.  I also highly recommend you checkout TechSoup’s website, where you’ll find great reviews and special pricing for software exclusively for nonprofits as well as a Learning Center and a Community Forum where you can find help using unfamiliar technology.

I also recommend you give the new Tendenci CMS for NonProfit Websites a try!

Any More Tips?

Find creative and innovative ways to add value to your organization’s offerings.  To help you get started, I’ve prepared a great presentation and online webinar to give you some creative ways to use your nonprofit website to earn more this year.  You’ll find new ideas to use your website to promote your services, manage registrations, membership applications, job postings, training courses, and more plus collect payments and automatically generate invoices and receipts.

You can register online today for this free webinar hosted this Thursday, March 29th 2012 and if you missed it, check our Training Calendar for the next  upcoming free class.

Find a copy of the presentation on Tendenci’s Slideshare plus additional presentations that show nonprofits how to create more effective online marketing campaigns.

We also have a free 30 day trial where you can start setting up a Tendenci website and try out some of these revenue generating ideas yourself.  Tendenci enables you to create custom pricing for things like membership dues, jobs board postings, event registrations, and donations so that your nonprofit is able to generate the funds needed to grow without having to feel overwhelmed.  If your current website isn’t doing enough for your nonprofit, come give Tendenci a try.

Check out these resources to help you create and set-up a Tendenci Community website: 

Tendenci Training Videos – short videos that walk you through setting up the different modules included with your Tendenci website.

7-Step Guide with Help Files and Videos to take you through the first week of setting up a Tendenci website.





New Tendenci Help Files, Video Training, and Updates for Your NonProfit Website!

Looking for Help with Your Tendenci Website?

Check out these recent additions to our Help Files and Training Video Files!

Help Files: 

Find width x height sizes for common Tendenci Template images like your logo, rotator stories, and sponsor boxes

Learn how easy it is to Import your members from another website into Tendenci with a CSV file

Add a PayPal Online Payment button to a page on your Tendenci Website

Sign-up for our month to month hosting plan after your free trial, and then use your own custom domain name

Have a little fun with your Tendenci website content and change your bullet lists to custom icon lists with this intermediate level help file

Video Training:

Watch our new series to take you through setting up your Tendenci Website from the very beginning.

Find all our individual training videos to watch and learn how to set-up and use all the features included with Tendenci

We also add new content weekly to our YouTube and Slideshare pages, so follow Tendenci and get notified when we add new webinar presentations, video and help files, and more resources to help your nonprofit shine on the web!

Come Find Tendenci at These Events!

We would love to meet up with you in person to answer your questions about Tendenci and get to know you and what you are doing to make the world a better place.  Let us know if you’ll be at one of these upcoming events and want to hang out with us!

SXSW Interactive Festival – March 8th through March 13th, 2012 – Austin, TX

NTEN’s 2012 NonProfit Technology Conference (NTC) – April 3rd through April 5th, 2012 – San Francisco, California

Houston NetSquared Meetup – Monthly – Houston, TX

Tendenci Software Updates Has Moved!

For a long while, we’ve been posting Tendenci’s software version updates here on the blog.  We decided to move those updates onto our Tendenci website moving forward.  You’ll still find the updates we’ve already posted on the blog here forever and always, and head to Tendenci Software Updates to find the new updates starting with this past week.

From the Tendenci Homepage, just scroll down to the footer and you’ll find the new link to our weekly version update announcements:

We’ll still share some of the highlights of our weekly software updates here on the blog with you – for example, this week we have made some great updates to Tendenci that make it easier for you to manage your corporate members and set permissions controls!

Corporate Membership Updates

  • The corporate representative page now displays a list of all members associated with that corporation.
  • The creator and owner of a Corporate Membership can add additional representatives under this Corporate Membership.
  • The creator and owner of a Corporate Membership can also assign new memberships.
  • Added permission control settings to ensure that Anonymous users cannot be assigned to a corporate membership.

Better Permissions Control Viewing

I’m really excited about this update! 

We widened and updated Tendenci’s Group and Profile Permissions Control View to resolve the issue with some permission settings being truncated and unclear.

Import Your Members from Your Old Site to Tendenci Faster

We made some improvements to our member import with clearer error messages, better file and application mapping, and now membership fields are no longer case-sensitive in the import CSV file.  You can also separate membership fields with spaces, underscores, or dashes without interfering with the import.

Use the Help File for Importing Your Members to see how to import members from a CSV into your Tendenci website.