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.
Depending on your budget and ambitions, you can sign up for a free site (which will have a web address like myclub.toastmost.org) or host your own website at your own domain using the same software. Or you can start out with a fee toastmost.org site and graduate to hosting your own site later.
Creating a website for your own club takes just a few minutes, using the Website Request tool. It won’t show up in Google searches until you are ready to start publicizing it, so you can invite a few other club members in to test it (no cost, no commitment).
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 now includes web forms you can fill out to give written feedback to a speaker, eliminating the need to upload, download, and email back and forth files. The completed evaluation will be emailed to the speaker and saved to the user’s progress report page on the website. (A simpler version for clubs [Read More]
Here is a look at how I plan to support Pathways speech project signups in WordPress for Toastmasters. This should be sufficient to allow a club that has started on Pathways to manage its agenda using the software and for club officers to do some basic tracking of member progress through the program. Since Pathways [Read More]
A time saving tip for club leaders and meeting organizers is to confirm meeting participation using SMS text messages to their mobile phones, which tends to work better than email and is quicker (for both of you) than calling. WordPress for Toastmasters can streamline this process by sending an email summary of an upcoming meeting [Read More]
This tip is aimed at club webmasters who already have some skill with web design or have an ambition to learn. The club websites hosted at toastmost.org are meant to be usable by Toastmasters without previous web technology or design skills, but I appreciate that others come to the experience knowing HTML (the language for [Read More]
For the VP of Education or other officer recording offline signups in the online system, there are a few different ways of navigating to future dates where you need to record information. Clicking on the top Edit Signups menu link will take you to the editing form for whatever meeting you’re currently looking at. Below [Read More]
The New Year’s season is a time for reflection, and here are some of my thoughts about the question posed in the title. It may be a better question for others to answer, since I am totally biased, but I’ll try. I am also fishing for ways of discussing these issues more intelligently in a [Read More]
Club leaders who want a different look for their meeting agenda than provided by my suggested design can now take matters into their own hands, particularly if they know (or are willing to learn) HTML and CSS coding. Until recently, there were two agenda layout options, “plain” and “sidebar”, with sidebar as the one I [Read More]
This post was prompted by a query from someone asking how to add an editable field for a meeting theme and words of the day to the agenda. This is one of those features in the Toastmasters software for WordPress works the way it does because it answered a specific need for my home club that [Read More]
WordPress for Toastmasters supports several options for sending email to your membership, particularly for the purpose of collaborating to fill openings on the agenda. This article specifically discusses integration with Mailman, an open source mailing list management utility often included with web hosting accounts. When you add member accounts to the website, the email addresses [Read More]
When filling the gaps on the agenda for a particular meeting, you can now get the software to randomly assign members who have not taken a role to fill each opening. Here is how that looks: You will see the “show random assignments” link in both the edit signups and recommend modes of the agenda [Read More]