Episode 65: Little Sun Success

Created on November 12, 2023 at 10:44 am

Learn about where WordPress ORG is going, how we’ll get there, and how you can get involved.

Join WordPress Executive ORG Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy PERSON as she looks at a recent WordPress ORG success story, the clean energy solution Little Sun PERSON , and learns about their WordPress ORG story.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to [email protected], either written or as a voice recording.


Host: Josepha Haden Chomphosy

PERSON Special Guest: Romane Guégan

Special Guest PERSON : Ashley Mrozek PERSON

Editor: Dustin Hartzler PERSON

Logo: Javier Arce

PERSON Production: Brett McSherry

PERSON Song: Fearless First ORDINAL by Kevin MacLeod

PERSON Show Notes


[00:00:00] Josepha PERSON : Hello everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing ORG . The podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress ORG open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks DATE . I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy PERSON . Here we go.

[ 00:00:28 TIME ] (Intro music)

[ 00:00:40] Josepha: WORK_OF_ART

Today DATE , I’ve got a special guest with me. I have here a couple of folks from Little Sun ORG , a nonprofit organization that recently moved its entire online presence to WordPress ORG . And we’re talking everything from their mission statement and donations all the way to their blog and shop.

Welcome both to the WordPress Briefing ORG .

[00:00:59] Ashley PERSON : Thank you.

[ 00:01:00 WORK_OF_ART ] Romane: Thank you.

[ 00:01:01 WORK_OF_ART ] Josepha PERSON : We have with us Little Sun PERSON

today DATE . Can you start by introducing yourselves and your organization? Just tell us a little bit about what you all do.

[ 00:01:08 ORG ] Romane: Hi, my name is Romane Guégan PERSON . I’m a Senior Press and Communications Manager at Little Sun ORG .

[00:01:14] Ashley PERSON : And I am Ashley Mrozek PERSON . I’m the Senior Digital ORG Manager.

[ 00:01:17 TIME ] Josepha PERSON : So what does Little Sun PERSON do for the folks who are listening and maybe don’t know about it yet?

[00:01:22] Romane: Little Sun brings full power and light to communities that live off the grid, with the focus on sub-Saharan Africa LOC because most of the people who lack access to electricity and need them. And we also inspire people to take climate action globally.

[ 00:01:39 PRODUCT ] Ashley PERSON : So access to solar energy helps kids who don’t have electricity and study at night TIME . They can complete their homework at night TIME . If their schools are in a more rural area, they will have a light to kind of guide them back home.

We also work on a lot of electric vocation projects and hospitals. So we’re, we’re kind of supporting labors that are, are taking place in the evening, after the sun goes down, among other things.

[ 00:02:07 EVENT ] Josepha PERSON : Yeah. It’s, I, I think that that is one of the things that folks, probably most of my listeners, probably take for granted, like the easy access to light. And as we all know, the sun is around a lot. And so that is one of our most readily available resources other than potentially wind power. But I think that that is a great mission. And I really think that that’s wonderful work that y’all are doing.

So, is there a particular reason that you focus on sub-Saharan Africa LOC ? Is that where you find a majority of people who don’t have access to that kind of resource are?

[ 00:02:43 WORK_OF_ART ] Romane: Yeah. 70% PERCENT of those people actually need in sub-Saharan Africa LOC , where solar is actually a viable source of energy. Actually, it’s only 1% PERCENT of solar, of the solar capital of the generation when we actually deliver solar energy there because there is so much potential.

[ 00:03:04 WORK_OF_ART ] Josepha PERSON : That’s amazing. So you said that you all were funded in 2012 DATE . I imagine that your business has evolved over time. So, obviously, you all are WordPress ORG users. That’s why we have you here with us today DATE . But before we get into the questions about WordPress ORG itself. Why don’t you tell us a bit about how your business needs evolved over time and how you wound up needing a solution that did use WordPress ORG ?

[ 00:03:31 PRODUCT ] Ashley PERSON : So I would say our focus and kind of the different initiatives that we’ve taken on since 2012 DATE have shifted a lot based on various reasons, where our donors are, where we’ve kind of found the most need, and where we can be the most impactful.

And I think as we go into those new geographies, our online presence has become more and more important.

[ 00:03:55 ORG ] Josepha PERSON : So, before you all switched to WordPress ORG , I understand that you had several sites that you had to merge into one. And so I assume that as you evolved the business and your focus has changed, you realized you needed something a bit more streamlined. So, how was that transition, that migration from a lot of different sites to one CARDINAL big site?

[ 00:04:17 WORK_OF_ART ] Romane: Yeah, because we started as a global project. And then, with the time, we evolved, actually also getting new donations. And in the past, we used to have one CARDINAL website where we have our webshop and our mission, our vision, all of our project descriptions.

But then we had another website only for the foundation. And then you had another foundation in the U.S. GPE So it was the question, okay, how do we put everything together? So we actually switched from littlesun.com ORG to littlesun.org with WordPress ORG , and it was amazing to see how we managed with the team to create an ecosystem approach, including impact, but also sales, and fundraising.

[00:05:02] Josepha PERSON : That was a big footprint that you all had, and you kind of consolidated it into one. And for all of our folks listening on the podcast, I’m going to include some links, not only to their site but then also to a few other things that we’ve mentioned in here today DATE . So, since you made that change, how has it, how has that impacted the way that you all work with your site or with your online presence?

[00:05:27] Ashley PERSON : Yeah, I think using WordPress ORG and having access to WordPress ORG has been hugely valuable for us. We’re a small team, we’re a nonprofit, so it is pretty scrappy. Everyone is kind of doing a lot of different things. We don’t have a dedicated development team. And so being able to easily customize our pages and create new landing pages or make adjustments on the site without that development help has been valuable.

[ 00:05:55 PERSON ] Josepha PERSON : Yeah, so you don’t have a developer team now. Did you have a developer team when you had all the sites?

[00:06:01] Romane NORP : We just still work with freelancers.

[ 00:06:03 PERSON ] Josepha PERSON : Okay, yeah. I am also not a developer, for what it’s worth, and have been working with nonprofits for a while. And I understand that problem where you have all these things you need to do and want to do, but there are also things you absolutely have to focus on in order to make your mission possible and your vision come true.

[ 00:06:23 PRODUCT ] Ashley PERSON : Yeah, and I think, I think WordPress ORG has given us a lot more, like a lot more flexibility to kind of produce new content quickly. And because of that, it’s just been a lot more efficient, too, for us, you know.

[00:06:38] Josepha PERSON : And you all are using Blocks? Are you, like, the best Block builders?

[00:06:42] Romane: Yeah, I love Blocks.

[ 00:06:43 WORK_OF_ART ] Josepha: Blocks WORK_OF_ART are a fairly new innovation for the history of WordPress ORG . WordPress ORG has been around for 20 years DATE , so we’re a nice, mature project. And we’ve really only had blocks as a functional part of the CMS ORG for probably the last five or so DATE . We’ve been working on the project a little bit longer. And it has been fascinating to me, like, in my own work that I have done with WordPress ORG , kind of outside of my work with the project, to see, like, how much autonomy you get to have back as somebody who is not a developer, maybe isn’t a designer, but you do know exactly what you need to have on your site today DATE , right?

And having to stop and find a freelancer or stop and find some set of developers who can make those changes. For me, when I was specifically working on nonprofit stuff. That was always kind of a moment where I was like, well, I guess I’ll just go to Facebook ORG and put that on there or something because I was faster than trying to find someone to come help you. And so, I’m so glad you love the block.

[ 00:07:48 TIME ] Ashley PERSON : We’ve created many a landing page.

[ 00:07:50 PERSON ] Josepha PERSON : Also, your site is adorable, and your brand is adorable, in case no one’s mentioned that lately. Super cute. Super cute.

[ 00:07:58 WORK_OF_ART ] Josepha PERSON : So, we’ve talked about how you kind of took a bunch of stuff and made it into one CARDINAL big thing and how that’s been easier for you all to manage it. But from the standpoint of just, like, somebody who’s running a nonprofit, someone who’s running an organization, how has that transition been for your team? I know you said you don’t have a huge team, but was the move toward WordPress ORG a net benefit over time, or was it immediately beneficial? Like, how has that been for your team?

[00:08:27] Romane: So what’s interesting actually is that we have a team that is spread also all over the world. And so we have teams in Berlin GPE and in U.S. GPE , and New York GPE . In Zambia GPE , too. What was really interesting was how people identify to the new website because now we have to really think, okay, what is the content we want people to see, but also we want our critics to see. And so it kind of unified all of our content at Little Sun ORG . And it was much more like much easier to understand afterwards.

[ 00:09:03 PERSON ] Josepha PERSON : Yeah.

[00:09:04] Romane: And it was because we also work at the intersection of creative communications, impacts, fundraising, technology, and to be able to put everything and have it on the front. And then have the stories to tell the stories from sub-Saharan Africa LOC , from universities who got either a Little Sun ORG lamps or solar systems, and then we have the donation page, so basically everything could be integrated in a super easy way, and it could target different audiences easily, either it’s someone who wants to partner with us, or a donor, or just someone who wants to be part of our solar training.

[ 00:09:46] Josepha: WORK_OF_ART Yeah, and I mean, I think that no one will be surprised to hear that if you have multiple things that you have to get everybody to, it really increases the amount of marketing that you have to accomplish, rather than having one CARDINAL place for everyone to go too, and they can see everything that they might want once they arrive. So, that’s wonderful.

[00:10:06] Ashley PERSON : I think I was just going to say, or kind of echo what Romane PERSON said about the fact that we have so many different audiences, we have partners, we have donors, we have people who are just coming to learn about solar energy, or who are interested in purchasing a lamp. I think prior to this, it was a little bit confusing for those different audiences to kind of navigate to where they were intended to go to on the site, and now it’s much more cohesive. And we often hear that from people where it’s like, it’s quite easy to, to kind to find what they need to find on the site.

[ 00:10:39 PERSON ] Josepha PERSON : I define the WordPress ORG community as anyone who is using WordPress ORG , regardless of whether they know it or not. And so you all, in my mind, are part of the WordPress Community ORG . And I just wondered if being part of that community has changed your approach to the way that you manage your content online or the way that you have chosen work with your business as like an online entity that also does on-the-ground, in-person thing?

[00:11:06] Ashley PERSON : I think definitely. I think we’re kind of going back to what I said before. I think we’re much more efficient now. I think in the past, it’s the idea of, like, well, getting this web page live or publishing this is going to be, you know, we have to think about a huge timeline, that’s, is going to require a lot of resourcing, a lot of different types of expertise and people, and everything now feels like something that we can, we can launch pretty immediately, which is really wonderful too.

I would also say just like being a part of the WordPress ORG community too. It’s the sort of support that we’ve gotten from your team. It’s always really tailored. And I think as a nonprofit working with a, like, a much bigger business, you can be apprehensive sometimes, feeling like you won’t really get that personalized support.

And I think that’s something that’s been so nice with WordPress ORG . Is really feeling like the people we’re working with are understanding our business and taking the time to understand our needs. And I think that makes us think differently about our online presence as well because then we feel like we have that additional support, which is great.

[ 00:12:12 PERSON ] Josepha PERSON : I’m always a fan of hearing that people who are passionate about WordPress ORG are also passionate about helping others with WordPress ORG . That’s one of my favorite things about us. That’s not true. I have like 25 CARDINAL favorite things about us. And so I need to stop saying that I have one CARDINAL favorite, but I never will.

Okay, well, do you all have any last thoughts that you just want to share with me or podcast listeners that we have?

[ 00:12:36 PERSON ] Ashley PERSON : Yeah, I think the, the plugins and integrations have been really useful for us. I think it can be really intimidating to bring on, like, a new tech solution or tool and feel like everything that you are already working with or have is going to become outdated or obsolete in some way. And I think it’s just been really nice to work with WordPress ORG and have all of those transitions be really seamless for everything to connect really well. Yeah, I think that’s been. That’s hugely helpful too.

[ 00:13:07 PRODUCT ] Josepha PERSON : So, was that part of the decision-making process? Like, do I know that this software will be around in the future so that you’re making an investment in the site now and know that it’s going to hang around now you can find people help? Like, was that part of the decision-making process?

[00:13:21] Ashley PERSON : I think so. I mean, I guess I wasn’t completely around during the time, but I would say, like, that’s definitely something that we’re considering in any kind of tech that we’re thinking about is it can require so much work to, to kind of bring something on with such a small team. So we want to ensure that, yeah, it’s going to last, it has longevity, and it’s going to work with the tools that we already have. So I think all of that is really important for sure.

[ 00:13:48 ORG ] Josepha PERSON : Well, thank you both so much for joining me. Like I said, we’ll have a link to littlesun.org in the notes so that you all can learn more about their project and see their beautiful site with their beautiful little solar sunflowers.

Thank you both for being with me today DATE .

[00:14:04] Romane: Thank you so much.

[ 00:14:05 WORK_OF_ART ] Ashley PERSON : Thank you so much for having us.

[ 00:14:07 ORG ] (Music interlude)

[00:14:11] Josepha PERSON : What a wonderful organization. I’m so glad that they found WordPress ORG and that it works for them. Let’s continue our tour today DATE with the small list of big things.

Item PERSON number one, it’s time to save the date: December 11th, DATE

2023 DATE , for this year DATE ’s State of the Word ORG . State of the Word is the annual keynote address delivered by the WordPress Project ORG co-founder Matt Mullenweg PERSON . Every year DATE , the event shares reflections on the project’s progress and aspirations for the future of open source. And so, if that is something that you like to tune into, December 11th DATE is your day.

Second ORDINAL thing on our list is that we are celebrating our 10,000th ORDINAL photo submission. So, on October 11th DATE , the 10,000th ORDINAL photo was approved. The Photo Team ORG is one of the newest ways to contribute to the WordPress ORG open source project, and it feeds all of those photos into Openverse ORG as well.

The third ORDINAL thing on our list today DATE is that I want to tell you about a community team training module that just came out. It’s specifically about the Translate Live tool, and it is ideal for presenting at your local meetups to engage and onboard new translators for your native language. If you’re organizing a WordCamp PRODUCT , consider introducing this tool during your Contributor Day EVENT . I will leave a link for this in the show notes so that it is easy to find.

And item number four CARDINAL , the journey to update WordPress.org, continues with the launch of a new Showcase ORG design. The Showcase ORG is a natural starting point for a lot of visitors who are on WordPress.org. It inspires creativity and also demonstrates what’s possible with WordPress ORG . So, stop on by there, it’s WordPress.org/showcase GPE , and give it a bit of a look.

[00:15:58] Josepha PERSON : And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Thank you for tuning in today DATE for the WordPress Briefing ORG . And don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast app or subscribe directly on WordPress.org/news PERSON . You’ll get a friendly reminder whenever a new episode drops. And if you like what you heard today DATE , share it with a fellow WordPresser PERSON . Or, if you had questions about what you heard today DATE , you can share those with me at [email protected].

I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy PERSON , and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks DATE .

[00:16:24] (Music outro)

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