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 skill to configure a self-hosted WordPress website can take advantage of it. That part is easy. However, what is more useful to most club leaders is having access to a free service where a non-techie can sign up for a club website account, invite in members, and immediately begin using that site for marketing/recruiting and to organize their agenda. That was the motivation for establishing the toastmost.org site, which is the “software as a service” incarnation of WordPress for Toastmasters.
As more clubs sign up for the toastmost.org service, the costs of server, storage, and security upgrades are starting to grow. That means the free service needs to be paid for somehow.
The ideal sponsor would be a business or nonprofit that offers services to speakers (I’ve been talking to some of the major online speaker directories) or products and education for people interested in professional development. Toastmasters International itself is unlikely to help because they already subsidize the Free Toast Host service, which they consider to be a good enough option. To provide an alternative, we’ll have to find alternative funding.
I will accept advertising for as little as $100 for a one-month placement in the sidebar ad slot that appears on each of the free sites. See (see wp4toastmasters.com/support/).
My preferred option would be to secure a “gold” sponsor or possibly an exclusive sponsor willing to make a 1-year commitment and partner with me to build the audience for the service.
To secure a bigger commitment of time and money, I can throw in some additional benefits beyond the sidebar ad:
- A second promotional ad slot that appears at the bottom of every page.
- An ad included with the version of the agenda that is sent out by email (an important tool club leaders use to fill open speaking slots and other roles)
- An ad included on the administrator’s dashboard. This could appear in the self-hosted versions as well (where the open source software is installed on a site other than toastmasters.org). Probably would only be shown once per login, so as not to interfere with functional use of the site.
- A webinar hosted by me showcasing your product.
Write to email@example.com if you would like to negotiate a gold sponsor or exclusive sponsor deal.
My goal is to make these promotions prominent enough to give proper credit to the sponsor without detracting from the quality of service to the clubs. I reserve the right to refuse ads that would be inappropriate for the Toastmasters audience.
Here is a series of mockups I created, featuring the SpeakerMatch service as an example. These are only mockups (SpeakerMatch is not a sponsor, at least not yet). These ad placements would only be available to major sponsors.
I estimate I need to raise $2,000+ this year to make the service self-sustaining. If you see the value in offering Toastmasters clubs an alternative to Free Toast Host, I would appreciate your feedback on this plan and how to make it work. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.