WordPress for Toastmasters allows a Toastmasters club to take advantage of everything the WordPress blogging community has created for an easy-to-use yet powerful platform for marketing and social networking, along with Toastmasters-specific functions like managing meeting agendas and member role signups.
If you are a club officer, this is a tool that can help save you time and bring in new members. You will find yourself doing less manual work in spreadsheets and back-of-the-envelope calculations of how members are progressing through the Toastmasters educational program. The latest release also includes the beginnings of support for Pathways.
For a club that wants to attract new members, you get the advantage of access to a professional quality web publishing and marketing platform. With a little imagination, you can also dramatize what makes your club special and tell those learning about Toastmasters for the first time why they should visit and join.
You can sign up for a site on the Toastmost.org service (which will have a web address like myclub.toastmost.org). Test it free for 60 days and decide whether it makes sense for your club. Hosting plans are available through Carr Communications Inc. on toastmost.org or at your own domain. Or you can create your own website using the same software on any web hosting service that supports WordPress.
You can do some basic testing of the member experience at demo.toastmost.org by clicking on one of the Weekly Meeting or Contest links and logging in as:
See the How To page for more on how WordPress for Toastmasters works (and how to make it work for your club).
This video covers some of the thinking that went into this software project, as well as other ways you can promote your club and the Toastmasters experience online.
The Origin Story
These WordPress customizations for Toastmasters have been used by my home club, Club Awesome in Coral Springs, FL, since early 2012. I’m David F. Carr, a writer, editor, and web consultant, former club President, VPE, Area Governor, and District 47 social media chair. I hope to enlist the support of other web developers and designers who are active in Toastmasters as this project becomes more widely known. I am already getting lots of feedback from club leaders who see the potential of this solution and have lists of improvements they would like to see.
Back to Club Awesome: When I first became a VP of Education, I was frustrated by the limitations of the default solution used by most clubs and so created something that worked exactly the way our club wanted it to work.
The version you see here has been generalized for use by other clubs, with some additional effort into making it usable by non-techies. Recent enhancements include member and club performance tracking features developed at the request of Club Awesome’s current VPE and other Toastmasters leaders.
I’m currently President of Online Presenters, a club that meets online and focuses on helping members learn skills for webinars and online meetings. One of my current projects is refining features that are important to online clubs (a relatively new phenomenon in the Toastmasters world).
From the Blog
One powerful feature of the WordPress for Toastmasters software that was introduced a few months ago has had some unintended consequences for a number of clubs, including my own. From now on, if you take advantage of the “Suggested Assignments” mode (which previously showed up on menus as “Assign”), you will get this warning: Even [Read More]
You can help keep the club websites associated with the WordPress for Toastmasters project free by advertising on the toastmost.org network of sites or introducing me to potential sponsors. Keeping the software free is not a problem — I periodically upload the open source code to a repository on wordpress.org, and anyone with the technical [Read More]
The free club website offer from the WordPress for Toastmasters project is back! Fill out the signup form at toastmost.org, and you can be adding content to your website and setting up your online agenda and meeting role signups within minutes. WordPress for Toastmasters is an open source software project that adds Toastmasters-specific branding and [Read More]
In addition to the default signup mode displayed to all members who log into the website to take a role on the agenda, there are a few different editing modes that can be used by meeting organizers. The new notification messages that appear above the menu are designed to distinguish between them more clearly — [Read More]
Setting a standard meeting template is one of the keys to using the WordPress for Toastmasters software productively. In addition, it can be helpful to have different templates for other types of meetings or events — with a club level contest as a prime example. If you will hold your contest during one of your [Read More]
For those in the process of organizing a club level edition of the International Speech Contest and Table Topics Contest, here is a follow up to my post on Sample Contest Agendas: Evaluation and Humorous Speech. See also: Switching Agenda Templates for a Club Contest. These are sample agendas you can use for a club contest [Read More]
There are couple of different ways you can update the agenda when signed in as a member, and the latest WordPress for Toastmasters update tries to make it easier to switch between them. One of these is particularly oriented toward using the site from a mobile phone. The different views are: Signup – the default [Read More]
Here is an upgrade I have been planning for some time: an easier way of booking meeting roles multiple weeks in advance, instead of one meeting at a time. This also makes it easier for you to plan your progress through the program so that you’re speaking on a regular basis (depending on how quickly [Read More]
The free trial period for WordPress-powered club websites hosted at toastmost.org is now 6 months, rather than 60 days. The idea is to make the trial long enough for a pre-charter club to launch or for an existing club to prove that the site helps them market their club, recruit members, and organize meetings. Register [Read More]
WordPress for Toastmasters has a new online timer tool that was particularly designed for online clubs, although it could also be useful for brick-and-mortar clubs who would like to use a laptop or a digital display in their meeting room to display timing indicators. Online Timer is a new option on the Agenda menu. You [Read More]