One of the things that excites us the most at Tendenci is seeing other people really accelerate open source across all sectors. Not surprisingly we see community building as essential in both academics and in business. Because business… can be just a bit too “business like” when we like to work hard but also play hard. Another thing I love to do is talk to clients. And being open source, and as a company with no commissions but that takes care of our people by doing the right thing, it’s fun sometimes to highlight great open source projects that aren’t directly related to Tendenci (but OK, all of these do integrate with Tendenci as they are all based on Django as well.)
Open Source Django projects that Integrate with Tendenci
How about a community discussion board with karma points, community building, banning of bad guys, rewards for the helpful. It includes a playful board you could say personifies the balance between making a gamified application and what some refer to as gamification. I don’t want a gold coin, but I do like the respect of my peers. Misago is just that. And being Django it integrates with Tendenci which is also Django.
Our implementation of EdX for internal use isn’t quite as pretty but it still shows that we love education. EdX is great to train employees, members of your association, your volunteers and much more. The screenshots below are our actual EdX demo site as well as the one we use internally.
Course writing in Django EdX. Oh, and you can import courses from other people as well! Sharing is one of the values of Open Source! But what about course material? How about CNX Openstax! Write your textbook online, let people download it or print on demand. Most CNX textbooks are even free! And of course CNX is also written in Django and Python like Tendenci which makes it part of our big integrated solution that you can deploy OPEN SOURCE. You stay in control.
Is this a trend? Yup. We aren’t the only ones who have noticed. You can read about the growth of MOOC’s or massive open online courses in several tech and education articles and quickly moving into the mainstream.
How do you track all of those students if you are a giant school? Well, how about Django-SIS? Yup, manage an entire school, even alumni with django SIS (School Information Systems).
One of the most common questions we get asked is “My site is live! Now what?”
Last week we hosted the webinar Auditing Your Live Tendenci Website: Checkups, Analytics, and Benchmarks for Live Tendenci Sites to hopefully help answer that question.
Your Website shouldn’t be static – it should evolve and change as your organization does. It is a good idea to spend time periodically to step back to analyze your website performance and refocus your content strategy.
[Photo by Eloy Zuniga Jr.][audience-link]
### You’d like it
For those of you who love to tinker with things or reverse engineer them (destroy them) to figure out how they work, [this is your place][pycon-url].
It’s always great to see the latest and greatest being invented by **2500** of your closest friends. When services and features are extremely undervalued and success is at it’s infancy.
Have doubts about the size of this annual event? [Check out the sponsors][sponsors].
I’ve been a programmer now for more than 10 years and a Python developer for over 3 and I can sincerely say I may never grow old of this stuff. It keeps me young, can I say that? Just did.
### What you’ll see and maybe learn
What to expect when your “[Excepting][exceptions],” little bit of nerd humour there, don’t mind if I do. But seriously, what should you expect if you come on down?
[Photo by Ed Schipul][guido]
1. Well we have lightning talks with rapping programmers. [Listen to this intro][lightning-talks].
2. We have the benevolent dictator which only [speaks genius][keynote]. One of these days I’ll be able to understand his entire talk. AKA the creator of Python.
3. [The creator][keynote2] of the [Raspberry Pi][raspberry-pi]. A less-expensive computer that’s providing for those on the other side of the digital divide.
4. People sporting the latest technology such as [Teslas][tesla] and [Google Glasses][glass]. Maybe the car had more to do with the fact we were in California.
[Photo by Ed Schipul][tesla]
### Tell me more about these “Lightning Talks”
Anyone attending PyCon can have 5 minutes to talk about anything that is *remotely* associated to Python. Bright minds are sitting in the audience, they could be sitting next to you … you could be one. So why not let them speak.
For 5 minutes you can talk to one of the widest Python audiences you’ll probably ever encounter. Talk about a pet project, do a little venting, bring a community together and promote your conference.
Just be careful, developers tend to be highly sensitive to the ole sales-pitch.
### See you next year
We had a great time — I hope this is obvious — we did a lot of learning, and we hope to see you next year.
[Photo by Ed Schipul][group]
1. [Full List of PyCon US 2013 Videos][pycon-videos]
2. [Photos taken by Ed Schipul][pycon-photos]
3. [PyCon 2011 Blog Post][pycon-2011-blogpost]
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.
ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS… TENDENCI’S GIFT TO YOU: Awesome Updates to Your 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Our developers have packaged up helpful code snippets, in-depth information about Models and Views, and more!
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 email@example.com.
Last week, I attended AspirationTech.org‘s annual Nonprofit Developer Summit in Oakland, California. Nonprofit organizations and technologists came together to teach and learn about the technology challenges in the nonprofit industry. Every day, I was brought into thought provoking discussions on how to solve some of these challenges with technology today and inspiring success stories from .Org’s that were adapting technology to win.
I can’t express how truly mind-opening this event is, and I encourage you to add next year’s conference. NPDev gave me several opportunities to connect and interact with highly technical people who work within the nonprofit space, and because the organizers encourage end user language, I was able to participate in technical conversations comfortably and I learned so much as a result!
Big Data, Teaching NPO Tech, and Maps
To help me select which sessions I would attend, I focused on 3 main themes:
* Innovative NPO Tech Use Cases
* Big Data Collection and Management
* Teaching Methods for Tech Beginners
Here are my top takeaway sessions, linked to their wiki notes pages, for those of you who missed this year’s event – hopefully I’ll be able to pass on some of what I learned at the NPDev Summit.
Innovative NPO Tech – Maps
Nonprofits are doing really awesome things with maps and the conference focused on a couple of open source mapping tools, TileMill and Open Street Map (OSM) with case studies on how .Org’s were creating interactive map tools to get supplies where they’re needed and match volunteers with someone who needs a little help. There were a number of innovative technologies being talked about at NPDev with Mapping Tech being the most popular.
Big Data is one of 2012’s most oft-used “buzz” words and the nonprofit industry is seeking solutions just like the corporate world. Here are some of the best NPDev sessions that discussed what Big Data is and why you need to prioritize Big Data within your organization in 2013:
How to Use Data Informed Campaigns shows nonprofits how to collect and analyze past data to create compelling reports that build credibility around your cause and support your movement.
Open Data Around the World provides resources for finding free data from places like NASA and government organizations and tells you how nonprofits can benefit from using open data.
The Dashboard session includes analysis of several good and bad dashboards and what tools a dashboard should have to be really useful for Nonprofits.
Beginners Tech Guides
Strategic Hosting for NonProfits takes a look at what’s really included in typical hosting plans compared to the needs of most nonprofit organizations and shares tips to help you evaluate and select the right hosting services for your software.
Introduction to Git covers some of the basic commands you can use with the Git version control tool.
More of What You Might Have Missed
You’ll find a list of the sessions along with the notes and other resources in the Dev Summit Wiki.
Photos from the event are being shared on Flickr with the hashtag #npdev.
Check out a local Nonprofit Tech event: Netsquared! Netsquared meet-ups are local, community-driven events where participants connect to discuss technology tools that can help social causes. You’ll find me at the Houston Netsquared events, usually so I hope you’ll come to one of our upcoming events in 2013.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been creating and uploading new training videos to demonstrate how to use the newest version of our open source CMS software. You can find these videos on our website in the Tendenci Video Gallery.
The video gallery uses one of our newer plugins and allows us to embed online videos from YouTube, Vimeo and other video sharing platforms directly onto our website. The plugin also gives us tools like tagging, a WYSIWYG editor for the description, and customizable categories for organizing videos.
The ability to add and customize plugins is a feature we implemented with Tendenci 5.0, our newest version of our nonprofit CMS. Over time, we will be releasing additional plugins and we are in the middle of implementing a program for outside developers to share and sell Tendenci plugins.
We have built several custom plugins for our clients and now, starting with the Videos plugin, we are going to share them with all of our Tendenci users.
Get the Videos Plugin Now – For Free!
Later this year, new Tendenci sites will automatically include our Videos plugin when they are created. We want to thank our current clients by offering you the plugin via a manual installation now so you don’t have to wait for it.
Head to the Tendenci website to find all the details and get the videos plugin installed on your website plus help files on using the Videos plugin.
Please Note:Only Tendenci version 5.0 sites support and can use the plugin architecture. If your website is on a prior version, then you can refer to this help file that explains how to embed single videos inside of your site’s pages.
Create Compelling Stories Using Online Video
Storytelling involves communicating your organization’s personal stories to your audience to increase engagement. For nonprofits, your audience consists of your donors, Board members, volunteers, and a way to reach out to find new potential members. For profit organizations use storytelling to generate leads, create partnerships, and build their Brand.
For most marketers, including myself, storytelling can be a challenge – you are trying to be interesting and talk about yourself at the same time. Storytelling was a trending session topic at NTEN’s 2012 NonProfit Technology Conference in San Francisco last month, and I wanted to share some of the advice and tools I learned about specifically to using online videos as a medium for crafting better stories.
See3’s session gives great step-by-step advice on how to plan and write the script and produce a video that shares your nonprofit’s stories effectively. The session was also geared towards organizations that already were producing video content and were looking for ways to take their video campaigns further in the next year.
I find that most nonprofits and organizations are only just beginning to look at using online video in their marketing and often have just one or two people and a low budget to produce the videos. You may have very little experience writing scripts, producing and editing video and using YouTube and this can make video storytelling a daunting task.
I thought I would share my recommendations for getting started with video storytelling and then you’ll be producing awesome online videos you’ll be able to upload and share on your website with the Tendenci Videos plugin.
1)Videos take more time to make than you’d think. A 5 minute video can easily take 60 minutes to edit and finalize. Keep this in mind as you write your script and keep your first videos shorter in length to make them more manageable.
2)You’ll want good camera equipment, and that doesn’t have to cost as much as you’d think. I recommend checking out CNet’s Digital Camcorder Guide for reviews on affordable camcorders and make sure you get one that films in high definition. You’ll also need a good microphone and I recommend a tripod. Surprisingly, HD video quality from iPhones and Droid smartphones are rapidly becoming excellent options for online video recording too.
3)Try out different video editing software before you buy. You’ll be spending more time at your computer editing your videos than you will writing your scripts and recording your videos combined. There are some great free and inexpensive software options but I don’t recommend you make your decision based on the lowest price. Make sure the software you select is easy for you to use and does what you need it to do.
4)Watch examples of other online videos. Take notes on what you really like and what you don’t like, and use these examples as guides when you begin writing your video scripts. However, don’t try to force your own story into someone else’s video script. Find your own style and voice that represents your organization to effectively share your story.
5)Focus on making just one video. The first one is the hardest. Once you’ve written, recorded, edited, uploaded, and shared the video in a tweet – you can relax and see what happens. You will learn and get better with each video you make and creating the content is the most important step for successfully integrating videos into your marketing strategy.
Additional Resources on Crafting Videos and Great Storytelling Tips
There is so much more to say on the topic of online videos and I’d love to hear your questions and comments on what you wish you knew how to do to create more awesome online videos. Share your comments below or contact us with your questions.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The next time you are looking for support for your website – Look Up. We moved the support menu from your website footer up to the admin navigation bar that sits at the top of each page of your website. The new Support drop down menu lists all the helpful links you need to learn to use your website, contact our Support team when you have a problem, search our Help Files, and make a payment.
What is This Tendenci Guide?
We also added a new Support tool to the menu – a Tendenci Guide. This walk-through tutorial shows you how to use the different features and tools included with your Tendenci online membership management software. This nifty guide is a mini-version of your website and is designed to quickly and easily show you how to add new pages and articles, update your home page, create photo albums and more with your association’s Tendenci website.
Easily Update Your Home Page Content!
Find Tips that Will Drive New Visitors and Revenue to Your Website!
Looking for More Tendenci Training and Support Resources?