If you use the Toastmost service or the WordPress for Toastmasters software, please share your feedback. I've been speaking with a small circle advisors on how to fund a required Toastmost upgrade and fund future growth and want broader input.
Take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/72X5292
The survey is intended partly to gage support for expansion or the Toastmost service and the related open source software project. Although the underlying software is available for free, most clubs take advantage of the pre-configured hosting setup on Toastmost.org.
Going forward, clubs hosted on Toastmost.org will be asked to invest $50 per year to support the service. If you have a current subscription, this will not go into effect prior to your renewal date (although early renewals and donations to the cause would be appreciated).
In the spirit of transparency, I'm sharing some financial details below.
Toastmost and WordPress for Toastmasters Finances
Toastmost and the WordPress for Toastmasters (the free open source software project) are volunteer initiatives led by me, David F. Carr, DTM, with support from other Toastmasters leaders.
I don't expect to profit off this service and operate within some limitations by agreement with Toastmasters International, which doesn't want me "profiting off the Toastmasters brand." However, to remain healthy and growing, the service needs to be self-sustaining.
This past year, Toastmost reached break even, meaning that subscription fees approximately covered the costs of web hosting and related expenses. However, the service is operating at the limits of the current hosting setup, and I've been getting warnings about the need to upgrade as we come to the end of each month. The risk is that club websites could see performance degrade, and eventually there will be no choice but to upgrade.
The next level upgrade costs about double and is supposed to provide about 5X capacity. The minimum expenses I'm projecting for the coming year will rise from about $515 to $1,020 as a result. To leave some margin for error, plus the ability to make additional investments, I estimate I need to budget $1,500 to $2,000.
To get there, I'd like to at least double the number of participating clubs to 50+. To get 50 or more subscribers, Toastmost probably needs to attract 150 or more club leaders signing up for a 6-month trial account. The trial is important to give club leaders time to develop and test a website before committing to it. To attract that volume of trials means spending money on Facebook ads or other promotions to make Toastmasters leaders aware of this option.
Of course, you recommending Toastmost to other club leaders also makes a big difference -- more than money can buy.
After online transaction fees, a $50 subscription payment yields about $48.25. Here's what that looks like at different numbers of total subscribers.
|25||$1,206.25||Approximate break-even for upgraded hosting|
|30||$1,447.50||Enough to start paid promotion|
|50||$2,412.50||Funds additional promos, upgrades|
|100||$4,825.00||Would support another major upgrade|
Write back if you have suggestions on funding or can assist with other aspects of the project, such as improved documentation and training materials.
Meanwhile, please complete the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/72X5292