Better Toastmaster Club Web Presence

Is Toastmasters a Best Kept Secret in Your Community?

In our community, the answer is “Yes”. Are there steps to changing this accidental Stealth (Invisible) Web Marketing Strategy? Let’s start off by doing a test.

Have you noticed how often new visitors to your club have said “I’ve never heard of Toastmasters.”

Someone who doesn’t know anything about the Toastmasters name might search on Google [my city name] communication and leadership training.

Sadly, Toastmasters will probably not show up at all let alone a Toastmasters club in your city. 

Did you know you have to rank on page 1 of Google search results? Less than 10% of people will look on page 2 or later—a fun fact from a Google search.

A knowledgeable colleague tells me if you are a member of a small noon hour club and you do a search for
[my city name] Toastmasters clubs, chances are it will not show up on the first page.

Instead Google will find the two largest clubs. If Google finds your club’s website, you may be in the minority. 

There are sound reasons for why I am focusing on websites vs. social media at this time. My name is David Bray and as a member of two clubs and currently the VP/PR, Bluewater TM 3835 in Owen Sound, ON. We take advantage of FreeToastHost, Thus, our website is http://bluewater.toastmastersclubs.org. 

Incidentally, if you just Google search public speaking, I get one reference to Toastmasters International on page 1 of search results. I get no reference to other Toastmasters clubs.

Tips for Getting Noticed from Google Searches

We first noticed our stealth (i.e. invisible) web presence issue, in 2014, with a Google search...

[my city name] public speaking. Google told us some local French speaking schools held contests. It still says contest for a lot of clubs. 

We/Bluewater solved this in summer 2014 when I added a custom web page for “public speaking”. This showed up immediately after paid listings.

However, Google has been busy refining their algorithms. With those changes, sometime last year we fell to page 2 (i.e. invisible), but sadly no one noticed.

Kijiji and yellow pages may show up with outdated information. My suggestion in this case is to make sure that your content is accurate. Test the links to your website (or blog or Facebook) actually work. Keep your content current. If it is now late summer, ensure your last notice is not an outdated “Sorry we will have to cancel our upcoming January meeting due to winter snow storms.”

For a search on Kijiji for [my city name] speaker training, Kijiji tells me I can purchase electronic speakers for my stereo. This suggests though that a well crafted Kijiji post might be useful.

Whether It’s a Google search for [my city name] leader training, personal development or clubs, odds are Toastmasters will not be found.

As noted in 2014, our club solved the stealth issue for “public speaking”. I am now working to solve it again—by getting us back on page 1. Plus, we have some new web pages on our site to start replacing stealth for other queries. I am working on learning “Search Engine Speak”—and to sort out any related apparent contradictions.

Toastmasters’ Stealth (Invisible) Web Presence is Pervasive

Clearly, some clubs have overcome the problem of “Toastmasters is a best kept secret”. In some cases, people can learn about Toastmasters because a club in England, Australia or the USA has the same city name—and a strong web presence.

“Good presentations are all about our audience.” I see a huge number of paid and unpaid listings online for speaking and leadership training. Clearly we have an audience out there looking for what Toastmasters has to offer. All too often that audience can’t find us—unless they already know the name Toastmasters.

Conclusion: we are a Best Kept Secret in far too many communities. I call it accidental Stealth (Invisible) Marketing.


About David Bray

My background is not marketing, nor is it websites. Thus I am trying to get up to speed on lots of content, including something I call “(Google) Search Engine Speak” known as SEO, Search Engine Optimization.

Have you ever asked the question “How do we get and keep our membership numbers above 20?” The general response was blank stares. Thus, I changed the question to “Toastmasters is a Best Kept Secret in Our Community. How do we change that?” the response this time, was “Launch a Facebook Campaign”. 

If so, why am I focusing on websites vs. Facebook? In short, I found a 2014 study which noted:

• 94% (that’s right 94%) of folks that buy items, first research them on the web.
• 77% do that research with Google search.

According to my math that is almost ¾ of people using Google search. Thus I ask, “How many folks have never heard of Toastmasters, but are looking for communication and leadership training?” I have no idea. But almost 3 out of 4 of them are looking for answers with Google search. If they live near a local Toastmaster club, we all want them to be able to find our website.

If you have some short cuts or tips for strong Toastmaster web presence, I hope you will share. If you would like to join me on a voyage of how to build and maintain a strong web presence please contact me at Dbray9@gmail.com

For the good of Toastmasters, David Bray

DavidBray jpg

Membership Renewal

Membership Renewal Update

Effective October 1, 2016, Toastmasters International is increasing membership dues by a nominal $1.50 USD per month per member.  This works out to $45 for six monthly fees compared to the earlier $36.  The increase stems from a need for improved technology and member experience. For a more detailed explanation, please refer to the FAQs on the TI site. Membership Application forms and Club Central have been updated accordingly.

What Club Officers Need to Know

Clubs will have to update their Addendums of Standard Club Options (part of the Club Constitution of Clubs of Toastmasters International) to reflect the upcoming Toastmasters International membership dues increase. As this matter has been previously voted on the Board of Directors and is an organizational wide change, clubs will not have to vote on this matter individually as well.

The only instance where the club membership would have to vote on this dues change is when the club is also increasing the local club dues (a large number of community clubs would fall under this category). We encourage all clubs to do so as soon as it is convenient for the club.  A simple majority of active club members must vote in favour of this change. Once voted upon, Club officers can simply make these updates to their Addendum of Standard Club Options online in Club Central.

What Club Treasurers need to Know

  1. Treasurer Responsibility in August and September
    Prepare the renewal notice for all members and send them out starting mid-August. Begin collecting dues from members.  Any active club officer can log into Club Central and Pay dues now.       Please note: Clubs that do not pay the renewal for a minimum of eight members by Oct 1st, at least three of whom were members of the club prior to Oct 1st, be considered no longer in “good standing”.  Cash & Cheque for Club Fees; Credit Card for TI Fees are the traditional methods. Some clubs are now using Interac e-Transfers; Square, Eventbrite & PayPal. Each club determines how these fees are managed.

  2. Preparing a Club Budget
    The Budget helps determine the number of renewing members and the club’s plan for growth. In addition to paying for the club rental fees (if any) and the TI Membership dues, the budget indicates how the remaining funds will be used to pay for educational, incentive and social programs such as events with food.
    It should be presented to the club with periodic updates throughout the year. If the Club Executive has recommended a change to the fees it charges its member, a motion needs to be presented during the business portion of the club meeting.

What Members need to Know

There are consequences to members if a club does not pay their minimum membership by the due date and be considered no longer in “good standing”

Club members will not be able to compete or serve as any judge at any level in the upcoming Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests.  After the due date, all winners from these clubs will be retroactively disqualified. 

In addition, these clubs will not be able to vote at the District Council meeting on Nov 26, 2016.

Some FAQ and Tips for Club Executives

Q: Is there something special we can do at our club to retain member or attract new members?

A: The Leader Letter has "Top 5 Ways to Create a Quality Club"  The article provides more details.  In summary:

  1. Make a Strong First Impression
  2. Assign Mentors to New Members
  3. Keep Meetings Well Planned and Organized
  4. Grow Your Club!
  5. Celebrate Accomplishments

Take advantage of the Smedley Award Membership Building Contest and sign up at least 5 new/dual/reinstated members between August and September. 

  • You’ll qualify to receive a "Smedley Award" ribbon to display on your club’s banner.
  • Plus!! Qualifying clubs earn a special discount code for 10-percent off their next club order.
  • Plus Plus!! District will reward your club with a $25 Toastmasters Gift Certificate to use towards your club supplies!

In addition, club officers should be in regular contact with members that miss meetings. An Open House is also a great idea in September and October.

Q: I’m helping a new club charter by Sep 30th.  What fees will they pay?

A: Members of new clubs that charter by Sep 30 will pay six months dues in advance at the old rate of $36 USD. Effective March 2016 they pay at the new rate of $45.

Q: I belong to a corporate club and our HR pays for the TI dues. How does this impact our club and members?

A: Make your request to HR as early as possible and ensure that TI has the funds by Sep 30th.  

Q: I have more questions about this, who do I speak to?

A: Your Area Director can assist.  They are knowledgeable and have access to District resources.Visit http://www.toastmasters86.org/district-86-contacts/district-86 and choose your Division for the contact information for your Area Director.

Remember the motto, “If it’s not fun, it’s not Toastmasters”!

Member News September - 2016

Brilliant Bob’s 90th Birthday Bash

Bob's 90th Birthday

On August 30th Hershaw Toastmasters hosted a perfectly charming celebration of long time Toastmaster, DTM and inspirational gentleman Bob Dye in honor of his birthday. No detail was left unchecked in preparation of this special event with guests and members donning handmade bowties and 1920’s fashion. Musical performances of Summertime, Moon River and Edelweiss were elegantly sang out by Mikael Gatje, Merle Miller, Alice Siefert and Isabel Hershaw with keyboard accompaniment of Rueben Calalang. Friends from Toastmaster of Cambridge and District 86 Director Vitaliy Fursov brought with them merriment to this special occasion with Bob brilliantly taking center stage. It was a delight for all in attendance to share their heartfelt memories, impressions, admiration and amazement of all things Bob. A Happy 90th Birthday to our dear friend, mentor and fellow Toastmaster Bob Dye!

Lyndsy Johnson

District 86 Mascot Contest

Did you know there is one thing Toastmasters doesn’t have?  A “Mascot”!  The Trio wants to start a new tradition for our District, and that is to establish a District 86 Mascot.  We want to set precedent by doing things never been done before in our District -- but we need your help.  Are you game?

We have no idea what our Mascot should be, but we are calling on every creative and whimsical thinker out there to put their best foot forward to create the most amazing Mascot ever for our District! To spark more interest and to generate some buzz, we will be posting this on Facebook™ and on our District 86 website.

DISTRICT 86 MASCOT CONTEST

Participants, are you ready?  Let the contest begin!  We want as many clubs to participate as possible.  Therefore, to make this more fun, clubs are invited to submit their ideas for a District 86 Mascot to districtdirector@toastmasters86.org.  

Contest Guidelines:

  1. Explain what the Mascot will be;
  2. Provide a picture; 
  3. Write a short story of why you think yours is the best Mascot for our District; and 
  4. All entries must be received by September 30, 2016

The Trio will review all entries and make a short list of Mascot contenders.  They will inform winning clubs by October 15, 2016.  After this date, the Trio will ask the winning clubs to present their Mascot at the Fall Conference during the period of November 25 - 27, 2016.  At that time, Fall Conference Delegates will vote on the best Mascot for our District.  We will acknowledge the winning club in addition to honorable mention going to all runner ups with some prizes. 

The winning Mascot will receive its own Facebook™ page, and it will travel from club to club.  We encourage clubs to take as many photographs with it as possible and to share your stories from all club visits. 

To use the Mascot, a Club Representative will need to visit the club that holds it and ask to take it home.  In case representatives from multiple clubs visit a club on the same day, holding club members of the Mascot will decide what club gets the Mascot next on a first come, first serve basis.

Are you pumped?  Does this sound like a fun way for clubs to interact with each other; to step outside their club and to make a positive impact on our District?   We believe the answer to these questions is a resounding YES!

With your active participation, we know our District will stand out above the crowd.  Thanks and good luck.

 

Club News August - 2016

The Newmarket Toastmasters (TNT) Celebrate Distinguished Club Status for the First Time!

TheNewmarketToastmasters2

TNT is Dynamite! After striving to attain this goal since chartering four years ago – this year, we did it! TNT recently held a Distinguished Celebration on Thursday, August 4th, 2016. We were thrilled to have current and past Division M supporters celebrating with us! Division M Director – Dragana Vulpic-Bork, ACS, ALB, Area 14 Director – Tammy Hall, CC, ALB, Immediate Past Division M Director – Al Steele, DTM and Past Division M Governor – Leizyl Sobrinho, ACS ALS. 

Thank you to our members! This outstanding accomplishment would not have been possible without your enthusiasm, dedication and desire to participate.
Thank you to our supporters! We truly appreciate the guidance and support from our Club Mentors, Area 14 and Division M Directors, D86, and our neighbouring Clubs.

Tania Ferus, CC, ALB
President / VP Education
The Newmarket Toastmasters (TNT)

Reach For the Stars

ReachForTheStars BlogModule

Announcing Reach for the Stars 2016-2017

Complete activities & get your stars initialled. Complete 5 or more different activities and submit by April 29, 2017. Be recognized for your achievements and win prizes.

Recognizing and encouraging members to participate in activities outside of their clubs and help across the district. Learn more and increase the quality of the Toastmasters program across District 86.

How It Works

Starts September 24, 2016 – ends April 29, 2017

Cards will be distributed by the area directors at their area speech contests, or can be downloaded (see below).

Complete different activities and get your stars initialled by the club president or the organizing district officer. Collect a minimum of 5 different stars and submit your card to the Program Quality Director – Cathy Herschell in person at the Spring Conference, April 27-29 2017. Or scan and email a PDF file with details to: programqualitydirector@toastmasters86.org

Choose from 18 activities between club, area, division, or district level. Some are more challenging than others.

Recognition

  • Everyone that submits a completed card will be recognized on the Wall of Stars on the district 86 blog.
  • Members collecting 5 different or more stars will be recognized at TLI and or division training events in June 2017 and presented with a token of appreciation Toastmasters pin to be presented by the district.
  • Members collecting 10 or more different stars will also receive $50.00 in Toastmasters International gift certificates.

Rules

Simple and easy to follow:

  • One-time credit per star
  • Visiting club’s officer, area or division directors to initial card
  • Name must be on website for club coach, sponsor or mentor by April 1st
  • Name on conference registration list before cut-off option 1,2 or full only
  • Name on TLI or Division round 2 training registration list
  • Conference committee chair to sign card for committee members
  • Link to media story to be supplied with application
  • Successful club lead to be initially by CGD

Good Luck!

 Reach for the stars postcard Reach for the stars list

 Download the PDF here>>>

 

Contact : Cathy Herschell , Program Quality Director - District 86

Hot off the Press!

On August 16th Division C Hosted an Exceptionally Successful Lunch Hour Club Officer Training!
It was amazing training session with great turn-out! Among highlights of the event were:

1. Overall event attracted about 35 people, including a representative from the emerging club in Area 42, CitiGroup!
2. Almost 25 Club Officers trained in an hour!
3. Great Keynote – RK – delivered an exceptionally inspirational speech!

Div C COT Aug 16 1

It is our view that Lunch Hour Officer Training has particular appeal to those officers in Corporate Clubs who are not able to make it out to regular COT events. It offers opportunities to these officers to make some
important connections with Toastmasters from outside their club.

Join us for more Lunch Club Officer Training sessions!
Organized by Anton Adashkevich, Area 42 Director & Andy Mayhew, former Area 42 Director

Anton Adashkevich, CL
Area 42 Director
Cell: 416-930-0362
e-mail: anton.adashkevich@gmail.com

Division C Hosting a Lunch Hour Club Officer Training for All Divisions

Fabulous News !!! Division C is hosting a Lunch Hour Club Officer Training for All Divisions. This is a great opportunity if you or your club executive team have missed the earlier Club Officer Training (COT). Please cascade it to your Area Directors and ask they it to respective club's executive team.

Ensure that your club officers are properly trained! Trained officers mean stronger clubs!

· Club Officer Training provides valuable training and advice.
· The training provides one of the goals in the Distinguished Club Program (DCP).
· It is a requirement for recognition as Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB).
Club Officer Training (COT) Hosted by Division C for All Divisions

Date: Tuesday, August 16th
Time: 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM (EST)
Venue: Canada Revenue Agency Toronto West TSO
5800 Hurontario Street, 2nd Floor
Mississauga, ON L5R 4B4
Registration Fee: Free
Register via e-mail: anton.adashkevich@gmail.com or mccullmayhew@gmail.com
Registration Deadline: End of Day on Monday, August 15th
Agenda:
· Registration : 11:45 – 12:05 PM
· Presentation: 12:05 – 12:25 PM
· Workshops: 12:25 – 1:15 PM

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail or call us:
· Anton Adashkevich, Area 42 Director @ 416-930-0362 and anton.adashkevich@gmail.com or
· Andy Mayhew, former Area 42 Director @ 416-508-3143 and mccullmayhew@gmail.com
Look forward to seeing you at the event!

Thank you,
Anton Adashkevich, CL
Area 42 Director
Cell: 416-930-0362
e-mail: anton.adashkevich@gmail.com

Toastmasters International Values:  Respect • Integrity • Service • Excellence
Our Principles:  Lead By Example • Work / Play as a Team 

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