WordPress Community Sessions at 2019 Nonprofit Technology Conference a Big Success!

On Tuesday, March 12, 2019, I spent the day with members of NTEN’s WordPress community at the Nonprofit Technology Conference‘s (NTC) pre-conference day. This was the first year the community had their own track of sessions alongside sponsored sessions, and they were fabulous!

“WordPress is a Banquet” with Andrea Middleton

We started the day with Andrea Middleton talking about how the WordPress open source project is organized. Andrea shared three stories of people who took unique paths to contributing to WordPress by providing online support, translating the WordPress software, and organizing WordPress’s marketing efforts.

The reason we invited Andrea to speak (besides her being a great speaker and fun person!) is that nonprofits and open source have a lot in common.

It was great to kick of the day with an inspiring talk, and you can see an older version of it online!

WordPress 5.0 Block Editor Panel

Next up was possibly our hottest session of the day, a panel about the new WordPress editor! We had two wonderful panelists, Sasha Endoh and Eric Dye, who were experienced with the editor and provided really good guidance and perspective to the 30 folks or so who came to learn.

I had the pleasure to moderate this panel!

Starting off the session with some polls, we found that tons of people knew about or had tried the editor but few were using it full time to manage their site. We included tons of great questions from the audience such as “will the editor make all sites look the same” (Eric didn’t think so) and “how does this influence sites made with page builders” (it depends, but test your site in a sandbox to find out!).

It was especially valuable for all the potential attendees to see two folks who know a lot about the editor but still struggled with certain tasks or didn’t know the answers to every question. We’re all figuring this out together!

WordPress Lightning Talks

After lunch, we were back at it with community lightning talks hosted by fellow community organizer Jason King.

We learned about optimizing your database, connecting forms to task management software, engaging online communities in real life, how “block library” plugins can be useful, and why the new block editor isn’t everyone’s favorite thing.

I gave my own lightning talk on one of my favorite research-backed best practice articles on “5 Tips to Get Donations on Nonprofit and Charity Websites.” We closed with an amazing impromptu session from a community member who had just learned how to do user testing and had found amazing success doing it already!


Here are the slides for my lightning talk.

Community Help Desk Hangout

At the end of the afternoon, we got 20 people in a room and helped each other! We had fabulous folks offering advice on site redesigns, diagnosing website bugs, cleaning up plugins on creaky old sites, and doing more impromptu user testing!


Thanks again to NTEN for making space for our community which filled in important gaps not addressed by the sponsored sessions. Most importantly, we had a great time, built community, and made immediate impact on a whole of lot websites and the awesome people who build and maintain them!

We’ll have more chances for community at “Birds of a Feather” tables at lunch and a community “Connect” session Friday afternoon.

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