Does Toastmasters Approve?

Does Toastmasters International approve of what I’m doing here? As far as I can tell, they don’t disapprove — and I have specifically asked for feedback on whether I’m adhering to their brand guidelines and delivering a service consistent with the TI mission.

I got this question from someone who who participated in the webcast I held a few weeks ago, presumably from someone who was concerned about violating the rules. Because the Free Toast Host / toastmastersclubs.org service has been promoted as the default option for years, many club leaders assume they’re required to use it. However, Toastmasters has also provided branding guidelines that can be incorporated into other website hosting services, which I’ve tried to adhere to.

The latest response I got from TI’s marketing department included the line “We thank you for your effort in supporting Toastmasters.”

My only disappointment is that they aren’t willing to list what I offer side-by-side with Free Toast Host. What I said on that webcast was that, as far as I knew, FTH was started the same way this site is being started, as an independent service created by Toastmasters members who also happened to be web developers. However, at some point TI apparently agreed to underwrite the operational costs of that hosting service.

What I’m hearing from TI is that they will not point club leaders to any “third party services” on the redesigned toastmasters.org website they are currently preparing for launch: “FreeToastHost will continue to be listed as a resource, but we are not looking for additional services of this type.”

Maybe this is ego talking, but I do think it’s a mistake for them to make FTH the standard unless they’re willing to invest the resources into making it a lot better. Rather than arguing about it now, my plan is to get 100 or more clubs up and running on this platform with club officers who see the value and would be willing to vouch for why it’s better. Then, maybe the brass at TI will reconsider at least listing WordPress for Toastmasters as an alternative.

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