The WordPress for Toastmasters Project is derived from the WordPress customizations I originally created for Club Awesome Toastmasters in Coral Springs, FL. It combines the flexibility of WordPress (intro for the uninitiated here) with Toastmasters-specific functionality and branding.
When I was Club Awesome’s VP of Education and also its webmaster, I was frustrated by the limitations of the FreeToastHost web hosting platform that most Toastmasters clubs use. That semi-official default option has the undeniable advantage of being free. Still, as a WordPress aficionado, I felt like I had my left hand cut off because customization of my club’s website on FreeToastHost was difficult, and I missed all the blogging and social media integration features available on WordPress.
Some Toastmasters clubs use free accounts on WordPress.com (probably the 2nd most popular option after FreeToastHost). This is the site hosted by Automattic, the company responsible for WordPress. WordPress.com has many advantages except that it can only be customized using plugins and themes approved for use by all its customers. Hosting there also means giving up some useful functionality available on FreeToastHost, such as the ability for members to sign up for specific meeting roles.
The same software that powers WordPress.com is also available as an open source download through WordPress.org, and that’s the version I use for my web projects. To create a best-of-both worlds solution, I created my own WordPress plugin mimicking the best features of FreeToastHost (improving on them, at least IMHO). I built on RSVPMaker, an event scheduling and RSVP capture plugin I had originally created for other projects. The Toastmasters-specific features include online role signup, printing of agendas and role signup forms, email reminders, and a member listing page.
After a couple of years of developing this for my own use, I am ready to share it with other clubs.
If you would like your own WordPress for Toastmasters website, please fill out the site request form.
Here is what a meeting post looks like to a visitor …
… and to a logged in user being invited to log in for roles.
In addition to allowing members to sign themselves up, the VP of Education or Toastmaster of the Day can edit role assignments. The list of roles is customizable.
When meeting day arrives, you can display the agenda in a format for printing. The printout template is customizable.
Have open roles for this week’s meeting? You can email out the current roster, customizing the subject line and adding a note as needed.
Here is how an emailed agenda appears to the recipient.
Automated reminders can also be configured to go out a couple of days prior to the event, prompting members to confirm that they will attend to fulfill their assigned roles.
Members can choose to have their member profile displayed publicly (as shown below) or visible only to other members. The members-only view includes contact information such as email address and phone number, for use organizing meetings and other events.
This video shows how all these features work together (it’s a Club Awesome training video featuring a slightly older version of the software).
Again, if interested in trying it, contact me.
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