Using Joomla to build and maintain websites for volunteer run/charity organisations

Robert Fairhead & Jet

The Eastern Suburbs Dog Training Club is a volunteer run organisation that has held dog training classes on Sunday mornings in Sydney's Centennial Park since 1962.

We have no club-rooms and everything we need on Sundays, the dog training equipment, administration desks, vetting tables, tea and coffee urn, etc, is towed onto the grounds and set up first thing in the morning, and packed away and towed back off the grounds at the end of training.

Due to the lack of shelter and electricity of club-rooms, and the older demographic of our helpers, for the majority of our 50 plus years of dog training our administration processes, from the handing out of information, to the registration of new members and maintenance of the membership database, have been paper-based or very low tech, eg. a spreadsheet for our membership database .

In 2006 the club entered the digital age with an HTML/CSS based website, which I designed and developed for the club (pro bono). The objective of the website was to provide an overview of the club, our classes, training dates and other general information. It proved successful, we were able to redirect emailed enquiries to a website rather than having to call them the club's mobile phone and we didn't have to hand out information brochures. However, it was very hard to update the less static content, like the training dates, club news and newsletter articles.

About this time a former club member emailed me and asked, "Have you ever used a content management system? Check out Joomla. It's super easy to use ... after the initial WHAT THE!? shock."

This lead to version 2 of the website, using Joomla 1.5 in 2008, and to my becoming involved in the Sydney Joomla User Group and JoomlaDays, both of which were invaluable in helping me get over the WHAT THE!? shock of Joomla!

Version 3 of the club website was produced using a template creator, Artisteer, and introduced funky sidebar menus and images to make the site more friendly. However, we soon discovered more members and potential members were accessing the website via mobile devices than desktop browsers and the website wasn't responsive and looked terrible on a smartphone. This led to a responsive version 4 of the website in early 2014 and later that year we rolled out online membership applications ... which we download into our spreadsheet database!

In this presentation, I will recap the benefits of using the Joomla platform to build and maintain a website for a volunteer run/charity organisation like my dog club, what I consider to be the must-have extensions, and some of the WHAT THEs!? you can avoid with a little preparation.

 

Format: Speaking Session
Speaker: Robert Fairhead
Bio: Robert has been involved in Joomla since 2008. He has developed a number of Joomla and WordPress websites. He is currently working on Joomla-based online magazine and forum for writers, readers and publishers.
Business: Rocher Communications
Website: www.rocher.com.au
Twitter: @tallandtrue
Facebook: www.facebook.com/robert.fairhead