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
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]
Replay of a recent online meeting with club leaders looking for guidance on how to manage their WordPress for Toastmasters sites better. For more documentation on the reminder emails setup discussed here, see Configuring Automated Role Reminder Emails.
Here is how you can set the software to send reminder emails like this — — based on a message template that looks like this. I covered the setup for this in a recent online meeting “office hours” session (replay below), and am sharing some additional documentation after the video. The first step for [Read More]
WordPress for Toastmasters aims to be the best website solution for all Toastmasters clubs, but it can particularly serve the needs of online clubs — if you set it up right. A few issues of particular concern to online clubs: Dealing with timezones Registering guests Sharing your online meeting link Dealing with Timezones Online club [Read More]
The evaluations tool in WordPress for Toastmasters has been enhanced to allow you to request an evaluation for a speech or competent leader project through the website. This tool is specifically meant for online clubs, where members are not in the same location to exchange their books. Most online Toastmasters clubs handle this by emailing [Read More]
There are two modes in which a meeting planner can parcel out meeting roles to members: assigning roles and recommending roles. This distinction holds with or without the “random” assignment suggestion feature. Which you use will depend on the culture of your club and how open members are to being “voluntold” to take a role, [Read More]
Clubs who prefer to assign members to roles, rather than waiting for volunteers, or who sometimes find it’s helpful for members to be “voluntold” what they should do for an upcoming meeting, now have access to a new planning tool. This is a new and improved version of the “Show random assignments” function introduced in [Read More]
When you are recruiting members to take roles at a meeting or for any volunteer purpose, it helps not to waste your time calling people who are unavailable. People who are on vacation or traveling on business may also want to let others know when they will be unavailable. The “Away Message” function is meant [Read More]
If you have a product or service that will appeal to Toastmasters, consider advertising on Toastmost.org, a club website hosting service based on the WordPress for Toastmasters project software. The price of advertising for one month has now been cut from $200 to $100, with further price breaks for longer terms. Advertise on Toastmost.org Ad [Read More]
The Toastmost.org Toastmasters club website hosting service is relaunching as a free 60-day trial offer, after which club leaders must decide whether upgrading to a paid plan makes sense for them. More details at toastmost.org. The hosting service is intended as a convenient way for club leaders who aren’t necessarily techies to set up and [Read More]