Help clubs turn their websites into digital marketing and recruiting machines
Toastmost is an independent, volunteer-run project that helps Toastmasters clubs modernize their websites and use them more effectively for marketing, recruiting, and meeting management. Built on top of WordPress, the world’s most popular web publishing platform, Toastmost sites are optimized for:
- Mobile, with content that reformats for phones and tablets.
- Search, adding structure that Google and other search engines understand.
- Social media, with integrations for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more.
- Video, making it easy to add content from YouTube, Vimeo, and others.
- Club business, with tools for agenda management, member enrollment, and dues payment.
- Professional development, offering club leaders an opportunity to learn website management skills they can apply to other business or nonprofit ventures.
District Sponsorship for Free or Discounted Club Websites
Clubs that come to the service independently are normally offered a 3-month free trial, after which hosting on the service costs $50 per year. Districts interested in lowering that barrier to entry — particularly for new clubs that may find it most useful but are just establishing a budget — have the option of sponsoring free or discounted club websites.
For a $450 sponsorship, Toastmost will provide districts with coupon codes to distribute to clubs as they see fit. This can be either:
- 10 coupon codes for 1 year free (really 15 months, since the year starts after the 3-month trial).
- 20 coupon codes for a 50% discount, or $25 for the first year of hosting on Toastmost.
This offer can be scaled up or down, proportionately — $45 per 1-year-free coupon or two 50% discount coupons. Minimum: $135 for three 1-year-free coupon codes.
This could be particularly useful for new clubs or clubs that are struggling and need the benefit of Toastmost’s marketing and member recruiting tools.
Coupon codes can be entered upon registration or any time during the 3-month trial period.
Why Another Club Website Platform?
Most clubs continue to use either Free Toast Host (toastmastersclubs.org), which is supported by Toastmasters International, or easy-Speak, a volunteer project that I’m told gets financial support from districts where it is widely used. Some clubs use both — Free Toast Host as the marketing site and easy-Speak for agenda management.
The WordPress for Toastmasters alternative gives clubs access to professional digital marketing and publishing tools — for example, providing better support for viewing on a mobile phone than either Free Toast Host or easy-Speak. In addition, the WordPress option provides its own framework for agenda management, along with productivity tools that are particularly useful for online and hybrid club operations. For example, new members can complete a web-based application form and pay online via either PayPal or Stripe.
Who Is Behind Toastmost?
From WordPress for Toastmasters project founder David F. Carr
Toastmost is currently run on an approximately break-even budget by Carr Communications Inc., my small business.
I consider hosting and support for club websites a volunteer project, and invite technical and training contributions from other volunteers, but it does require financial support. The primary expense related to the service is for hosting infrastructure purchased from Siteground. The core software is available for free through WordPress for Toastmasters for those with the technical resources to run an independent site hosted elsewhere.
Toastmasters International allows this business arrangement and its brand compliance department has reviewed the starter designs offered to clubs. I have discussed moving ownership of Toastmost to a nonprofit entity but would need partners and sponsors (for the legal fees) to do so. Write to email@example.com if you would like to help.
Meanwhile, I run this venture as a loss leader for my business, which potentially generates interest in my service as a consultant on pro speaker websites and other business websites, including district websites.
Independent of any financial support from districts, I am available to present on Toastmost and the WordPress option at training events and conferences.
Help with District Websites
In the 2021-2022 year, I participated in a pilot project with District 62 on the redesign of their 62toast.com website and also worked with district leaders to encourage clubs to adopt the service.
Districts interested in consulting with me in the coming year are invited to write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or set up a Zoom meeting using https://calendly.com/davidfcarr/after-hours/. Because every district’s requirements will be different, there is no standard pricing for this offer — which is really more for Carr Communications services than Toastmost access per se.
However some of the services that can be offered are outlined below (see also the video at the bottom of this page).
- Access to WordPress themes (designs) that have been preapproved by Toastmasters International — with the opportunity to innovate within that design.
- Configuration of the website to use the district’s own domain.
- District-specific features, including support for hybrid online/offline business meetings, which will be enhanced over the coming year in collaboration with district leaders and their webmasters.
- Events calendar with registration feature built into the website.
- Support for online payments, including event fees.
- Option to create accounts for area, division, and district officers, allowing them to publish content to the website or draft content for approval. You also get the option to publish content such as contact information to members-only pages that only someone who has been issued a password can access.
- Email aliases like dd@, pqd@, cgd@, trio@, divisionB@, area5@, etc.
- Option of enabling a dec@ email list. Only DEC members or whitelisted addresses can write to the list; messages are distributed to all members.
- Access to features originally developed for club use, such as contest tools with digital ballots and vote counting.
- Technical support for district webmasters.
- Consultation with Toastmost creator David F. Carr, DTM, on digital strategy.