SY 2016 Update
Summary: The past school year has been a busy one here at Ed Web Services. We have been upping the communication game for our ten Locals with some including Mailchimp integration to send updates and newsletters. Several sites now include timelines from Facebook and Twitter accounts for both the Locals and NYSUT. Most sites are keeping the money coming in for Member Benefit ads from NYSUT and AFT although more could be getting the AFT money. Above all keeping our site's software updated to stay ahead of spammers and hackers has occupied many back office hours this year.
Mailchimp has become a new ally in the effort to keep our members informed. Integrated with Joomla (our core software) we are able to pass our member lists from the site to Mailchimp with very little effort. Once the list is there we are leveraging the email marketing power of Mailchimp's platform. The templates as well as the drag and drop editing make it easy to put together a branded newsletter and push it to your members with a few clicks. After the fact tracking is also valuable to keep track of who is and who isn't reading the info that you send. The local's currently using Mailchimp are using the free package but could up their game with the premium services that Mailchimp has to offer.
User/member list management on your site, as always, is a critical piece of making Mailchimp work for you to accomplish your communication goals. There is no more powerful tool for a Local than a finely tuned list of member's non-school email addresses coupled with website content delivered to specific groups using the access control of our Joomla websites.
Facebook and Twitter feeds have become important pieces of the communication puzzle for the big Unions and Locals alike. Although the access control is not there for delivery of sensitive info, the newsfeed are a powerful broadcast tool for keeping both members and the school community informed. Many of the Ed Web sites now contain a newsfeed from the local we have included a NYSUT Facebook and Twitter feed along with the NYSUT RSS article feed on most sites.
One area that could use improvement is getting reimbursements for the Locals. Several Locals are getting the $500 NYSUT ad money but only three are receiving the AFT money. There a few steps to getting set up to get the money and after that, Ed Web Services does the rest. For both NYSUT and AFT we change the code monthly so that everything is in place for you to get the money. With both reimbursements combined your $600 Ed Web Services site gets you $750 dollars annually (more for larger locals). How can you argue with that? The steps to get both of these payments can be reviewed on the Ed Web Blog.
The back office work of site maintenance has kept us on our toes here at Ed Web Services this year. The relentless persistence of internet spammers and hackers has kept site security at the forefront of our efforts. There have been no fewer than 5 major software updates to the core software for our sites as well as all of the updates for the corresponding extensions. All Ed Web sites are up to date. All of your sites have the latest version of 'Captcha' installed to keep robots from creating accounts. On our servers security is a priority and we are always keeping careful watch for attempt to compromise our sites.
Following this update you will see another email sent from Paypal containing your annual invoice from Ed Web Services. You may pay it directly from the email using a credit card or, as always, a paper invoice will follow to your address on record.
Thank you for continuing to allow Ed Web Services to be your Local's web provider and thank you for all that you do for your members.
As you enter the home stretch, enjoy the Memorial Day weekend and as only a Teacher can fully appreciate... I wish you a happy June ?!