Update – Network Outage

We at Tendenci are sorry that the network outage that is affecting approximately 40 Tendenci websites remains unresolved. It has taken some time to understand the full scope of the issue and, unfortunately, getting all our systems back online has taken longer than anticipated. We understand that a website is
critically important to every organization, and we take our responsibility – and the trust of Tendenci users – very seriously. We are mobilizing all available resources to address the situation as quickly as possible, but it is unlikely that affected websites will be fully functional for several more days.

Here is what we know:

 

  • On Wednesday, 11/26 at least one Tendenci server experienced a URL redirect attack. Spammers use this type of attack to send website traffic to other desired websites. In this case, traffic to certain Tendenci websites was redirected to a website selling handbags.

 

  • The Tendenci team quickly responded, but this was followed by an additional distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on our network. This same type of high bandwidth attack took down Xbox Live this week.

 

  • The network outage is affecting approximately 40 Tendenci websites. Only websites on the legacy Tendenci 4 software.

 

  • In our efforts to restore network service, we have uncovered a number of things that can be improved in our security systems and practices that left our network vulnerable to the DDoS attack. Addressing these vulnerabilities is a necessary first step in restoring the network and getting all Tendenci websites back up.

 

  • We are working hard to have at least some of the affected websites back up in a limited capacity today, but it may be the end of the week or longer before all affected sites are restored.

 

 

We understand that having a website go down for days on end is unacceptable, and it breaks my heart to know that this week’s events may have shaken the community’s trust in Tendenci. We are working around the clock to restore our systems, and we will take what we learn during this process to improve security protocols for all Tendenci websites.

 

 

Update – Running Back Ups Prior to a Restore

We still working to resolve the network outages that some of our T4 clients are experiencing.

We are in the process of restoring several large data stores prior to attempting to bring them online.

So far we have not run into any unexpected obstacles in restoring data bases and are therefore are still expecting the servers to be back up and functioning to full capacity within the 24-48 hour timeline previously posted.

We will continue to post updates to the blog.

 

Network Outage Update

We are aware of the continued outages on some of our data servers and apologize to those who are experiencing those outages

The servers experienced a traffic overage due to high traffic over the holiday weekend. We are in the process of migrating sites to a higher capacity server and anticipate all servers to be functioning at full capacity in the next 24-48 hours. We appreciate your patience.

We will continue to keep the blog.tendenci.com updated as we have further information available.

Thank you again for your patience while we migrate.

We have our team focused on this issue and are working to have all servers back up to full capacity as soon as possible.

 

Moving with the cheese…

Ann Marie Olivo

Ann Marie Olivo

When I joined the Tendenci team a year ago, I had just finished my PhD in Linguistics at Rice University. While I loved lecturing, researching, and expanding college students’ young minds, I felt like I wanted to do more outside the ivory tower. I had plenty of experience in public speaking, academic research, and formal writing, but I was pretty green when it came to the world of technology. Sure, I had done a bit of marketing for our graduate linguistics society and the Italian club. I even maintained a static HTML journal website throughout high school (before LiveJournal was a thing). But let’s be real–I didn’t even know how to clear my browser cache.

Needless to say, the learning curve was steep and grueling. Lucky for me coming straight out of academia, I was used to steep and grueling learning curves! I was quickly thrown into the world of website project management. I was meeting with clients, collecting DNS info, and making CSS changes.

Within a few months, I was put in charge the Programming Team. It became my responsibility to look after the product, ensuring feature updates responded to our clients’ requests and reported issues. I was crowned “client advocate” and a passion for user experience grew in me. One of the best parts of my job has been calling a client to let them know that we’ve implemented a feature they suggested or fixed a bug they uncovered. We love our clients here at Tendenci, and it was such an honor to foster such a unique relationship with them.

After a whirlwind of a year, I am moving on to my next adventure (or moving with the cheese, as one of our required New Guy readings goes). I’ll be combining my expertise in language and communication with my newly gained web marketing knowledge to step up as Marketing Manager for a local engineering solutions provider. Having been raised by an engineer who had a passion for precision and efficiency, I’m looking forward to working with folks of the same engineering mindset. Learning a whole new industry will be intense to say the least, but after all, one doesn’t go complete 6 years of doctoral study because they hate learning. 😉

At Tendenci, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the most brilliant developers and project managers in Houston. They’ve inspired me and guided me, and I’m so glad to call them my friends. Our clients are lucky to have such a caring, thoughtful team of Tendencians that work for them.

I’ll be working with the Tendenci software in my new position and for that, I am absolutely thrilled. I have an idea of what’s in store (don’t worry–I won’t leak any spoilers), but I am especially looking forward to see where Tendenci goes next.

SXSW V2V – Proprietary to OS: Giving Away $6 Million is Harder than you Think

SXSW V2V DJ by eschipul

What would it take for you to give away $6 Million worth of source code?

What types of road blocks would you expect in the transition from a marketing company with a proprietary  software to an open source software company?

These are questions that our CEO, Ed Schipul explored in his talk at SXSW V2V in Las Vegas where he was invited to speak for the SXSW V2V annual conference.

Big themes that emerged from the talk were cultural perspectives of “open source” vs. “proprietary” thinkers, the value of focus within a company, and serving the client above all else.

You can view Ed’s slides on slideshare at: https://www.slideshare.net/eschipul/giving-away-6-million-is-hard-removed-videos

Look out soon for the video release of the talk on youtube!

Our Thoughts and Prayers are with SXSW Today

SXSW Film Logo

Nothing can make sense of the tragedy that happened last night in downtown Austin during SXSW.

All of the facts aren’t known yet, but we do know that innocent lives were lost and many more were injured in the accident.

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

The Austin American Statesman newspaper is providing details on their website as they become available:

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/reports-car-hit-pedestrians-outside-mohawk/nfB4z/

 

4 Crowdfunding Tips For Your Nonprofit or Association

Globe with Crowd

You are a nonprofit or association with a great cause and a world of potential audiences out that that could get involved in forwarding your mission.

So, what if I were to tell you there is a way to accomplish the following actions, that you probably aren’t taking advantage of:

1) Engaging new audiences

2) Utilizing the super powers of your followers and volunteers in meaningful ways

3) Raising funds and awareness towards your mission

 

Enter crowdfunding

Crowd in Times Square
Leverage the crowd!

 

Crowdfunding is the ability to use the web to raise money for a project or cause.

Last week Pledge Cents – a crowdfunding platform focused on the education community gave a great presentation at Net2.

Net2 Logo

Luckily we were there to pick up some handy tips on running a successful crowdfunding campaign….

4 Takeaways:

1) Don’t spread yourself thin – choose 1 platform for your campaign – you are kicking yourself if you are sending your supporters to multiple crowdfunding sites and harming your credibility. If the platform wasn’t a good match, go with another one next time.

2) Make a realistic ask. Many people make the mistake of going for the pie in the sky. What is your minimum goal to achieve what it is you want? Start with that number and anything above that is icing on the cake.

“Why  wouldn’t we want to reach for the highest we can go?”

  • Financial reasons
    • Some crowdfunding platforms will not give you any of your funds if you do not attain a certain percentage of your goal. Example: On Kickstarter, if you do not reach 100% of your goal you don’t get your funds
    • Some crowdfunding platforms will charge you a percentage of your stated goal
  • Build street cred
    • If this is your first crowdfunding venture – let’s start realistic and build trust with new followers before jumping to the big numbers
  • Finially, it just feels good to be a winner!
    • There is no limit to how much your allowed to raise – and gosh darn it, doesn’t if feel good to exceed those initial expectations!

3) Keep your donors updated on your progress

  • If  people are donating to your cause, they have invested in you and want to know where that investment is going. Keep them updated. Upload photos and videos. SAY THANK YOU!
  • The relationship doesn’t end when you reach your goal. Follow up post campaign. If donors can see the good they have helped to create they are much more likely to donate the next time you come a knockin with your next crowdfunding campaign.

4) Make your campaign specific

  • Andyshea Saberioon from Pledge Cents  helps coach a lot of educators on their campaigns. If you send him a campaign that says you want $500 to raise money for calculators – you know what his response is going to be (paraphrasing here) “and?  why should we care?”
    • Who are the calculators for? Why do they need them? How much does each calculator cost? If you want a successful campaign, you need to tell the world your story!

 

So as an organization, nonprofit, or association what should you be doing?

 

Crowd

1)  Get out there, try running a campaign

  • If you have a great project that you just don’t have the budget for, may be the community can help you make it happen

2) Empower your members or volunteers to start a crowdfunding campaign

  • Maybe some of your members have a great idea for a project. Empower them to make change by supporting their efforts towards a crowdfunding campaign.

 

Crowdfunding is a great way to get yourself out there to new audiences, especially if your volunteers and members are involved. They are reaching out to their communities to help spread the good and your mission.

It’s 2014. Make the jump. Trust the crowd.

 

Photo Attribution: Photos by eschipul

New to the board? 3 important reports you need from your Tendenci website.

Welcome to the board! Serving on the board is an exciting, and sometimes challenging, way to make a difference in your organization. You have probably received a binder or notes from the previous board member, a stack of old agendas and monthly income reports, perhaps a printout of old email exchanges that detail decisions made, copies of vendor receipts and hopefully, a plan for the coming year. Suffice it to say, you are awash in information! So why pile on one more piece? Because these three reports will give you the birds-eye view you need to kick off the year.

You may be thinking, “But my position has nothing to do with the website. We have a board member who has the title Website Guru. She takes care of all that.” And many boards have appointed someone to be in charge of the website. Some organizations even have a dedicated webmaster, either paid or volunteer, that manages the site. But your website is chock full of tools that help in all areas of association management. Here’s where to look.

    1. Invoice Reports

Reviewing these reports will show you (1) how much money you are bringing in through your website and (2) which modules are being used to generate revenue.

Your site’s primary functions are communication, administrative efficiency and revenue generation. At the most basic level, you should see dollars generated by Memberships (new members and renewals) and Event registrations. Many organizations have told us their Job Bank is more than covering the cost of their website. Are you charging companies to post openings to your Job Bank? It’s both a member benefit and a revenue source! Same with Business Directories. Cause-related organizations should also verify they are set up to accept online Donations.

    2. Event Logs Summary

Pull up your Event Logs Summary to get a visual overview of your website activity. This summary, only found within Tendenci, shows color-coded activity on your site in a timeline format.

As your primary form of communication, you want to know how members are using your site. What days of the week are most active? How much traffic do you get prior to and following an event? Are members returning to the site after a newsletter goes out to read your articles or view photos? Do newsletters or photos increase event registrations? Use this data to understand your members and how to provide the right information at the right time.

    3. User Activity Summary

This report will tell you who are the most active users on your website.

If you are analyzing your site for its effectiveness, these are the people to talk to. What are they adding to the site? What do they find useful? What’s missing? What recommendations do they have for improvement? In effect, where should you put your focus? Your site reaches more people, companies, foundations and organizations that any mailer or phone call could. You need to know if it is working for you.

Overall, do not be intimidated by your website. All board members should be able to use this tool to help accomplish their goals for the organization. Whether you are in charge of memberships or events or publicity or finance or newsletters, you can use the data on your site to make you more efficient.

If you aren’t making use of these features to increase communication and revenue, ask your Website Guru “why not?” Or call us today and we can show you how easy it is to make your site work for you!