Credits on File

This is a tutorial on the subject of credit on file. Credits on file are funds that you’re holding to be applied later.

There are two main ways that these funds originate: One way is typically toward the end of a calendar year. Somebody might send in a check, typically for tax purposes. Their intent is to instruct you in months to come, where to apply those funds; perhaps after the next pledge campaign, for example.

More frequently, though, is the case where you’ll have recurring payments. Toward the end of the recurring payment cycle, the respective charges are completely paid. In that case, the system places the extra funds into the category that we’ve dubbed Credit on File.

The question then is what do you do with that? How do you go about applying it? And we’ll run through a simple illustration in the accompanying video, using the fictitious Davis family.

We’ll see that they do owe some modest sums for dues. And if we skip all the way to the bottom, we’ll find that they have some credits on file left over from recurring payments over-payment.

To “draw” on the credit on file, we simply put an amount into the category that we wish to pay; and then, instead of a check, card, or bank account, we key that amount next to the credit on file balance.

Apply credits on file

Name-only Labels

ShalomCloud has for years been able to print labels. That is true both for individuals and for family units. However, until now, the labels were strictly mailing labels. That is, the program always printed the mailing address onto the label.

With this change, you now have the choice of printing name-only labels — excluding addresses. For family units, that name can be the formal name (“President George Washington and Mrs. Martha Washington”), or the informal name (“George and Martha”), or the informal label (“George and Martha Washington”). For individuals, it’s the title, the first name, and the last name.

A few possible uses for name-only labels: seating for a community Seder; badges for social events; badges for religious school, to name a few.

Here’s a short video showing the two places from which you can produce name-only labels.

Name-only labels
Labels — choice to include names only

Specific Item in the Shopping Cart

You now have the ability to point a link or button to a specific item in the shopping cart.

ShalomCloud has offered a shopping cart for some time now. That enables simple event registration, and the purchase of fixed-priced items. That could be classes, high holiday tickets, Hamantaschen, Siddurim–really anything with a price, including zero.

However, we’ve received feedback about the desire to point to a specific item in the cart, instead of showing all available items. That’s what this change provides.

Here’s how it works — when you’re configuring your items in the cart, you’ll see here and there a “Show” link. By selecting that link, you’ll see a new field, labeled Direct link. By using a button or link — on your web site, or in an email blast, for example–and directing people to that direct link, only that one item will show in the shopping cart.

This video shows how it works.

Specific item
Cart specific item — annual concert

One-time Password

For an extra layer of security, you may now take advantage of our one-time password capability.

One-time password? What’s that? Until now, logging into ShalomCloud was a matter of entering an email address and a password. That is still the default.

However, if you enter the synagogue options panel, you’ll see three choices: To not use OTP, or to require OTP for all, or to have OTP be an individual option.

If you opt to require OTP, everyone logging into ShalomCloud will see a second login screen. At the same time, the system will send that user a numeric code, to the logon email; and, if there is a cell phone in the user’s profile, the system will also send the code via text message.

If you make the second factor an option for your synagogue, then you’ll use a checkbox for each individual who prefers to log on via both email/password, and the six-digit number sent via email and/or cell.

Please follow this video to see how to put this capability into action.

One-time password
Process Flags

Some possible future enhancements:

Offering a preference between cell phone and email, to receive the code. For now, since cell phone is a new field in the user record, we’ll send to the email always, and the cell phone if it’s there.

Offering authentication via a phone app, such as Google Authenticator or Twilio Authy. This would mean scanning a bar code with your phone, and then using the phone app to retrieve the login code. This is considered a more secure way to implement MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), but more complex.

Small Enhancements

Here are described several small enhancements. Most of the time, we include a video. However, in this case, a screen snapshot should serve well to illustrate these changes.

When you’re doing Yahrzeit maintenance, you will now see a search box to jump right to the last name in question. This saves you from scrolling through several pages of Yahrzeits.

Yahrzeit search
Yahrzeit search

Second of the small enhancements: in the area of financial categories. If you use our contribution portal, you’re probably aware that you can select which categories appear in the drop-down box. You’d select “public” for those; the rest are internal, or private. If you have dozens to hundreds of categories, but want only a handful to appear in the portal, you can use the new button to declare all categories non-public. After using that button, you would flip to public the relatively small number of categories to appear in the portal.

Make all non-public

Third thing — if you use our form builder, and specifically radio buttons and check-boxes — you now have up to sixteen choices for each, up from five.

While we’re on the subject of the form builder — if you’d like to see responses from prior forms, you can now select which set of forms or registrations you’d like to review:

Select a registration

Envelopes for Yahrzeit notifications.

Directly from the Yahrzeit query screen, you may now print envelopes for Yahrzeit notifications.

The envelopes come out in alphabetical order, one per person. As is the case for printing envelopes from the family query, you may choose to print your synagogue’s return address on the upper left of the envelope, or leave that area blank.

For more background on various aspects of Yahrzeits, please visit this link.

For a video specifically on printing envelopes for Yahrzeit notifications, please visit this link.

Envelopes for Yahrzeit reminders
Envelopes for Yahrzeit reminders

Search Names on Contributions

Our payment/contribution portal contains an area to designate someone to be notified about a contribution. That has been in place for years. In order to send that acknowledgment letter, the administrator had to pick a name (or names) from a drop-down list. With this enhancement, though, we now offer the ability to search names on contributions, rather than choosing from a pick-list.

Yes, the ability to search names on contributions. The new search box is right above the pick-list. Enter any portion of the last name of the person to be notified; pause one second; and the pick-list will be reduced to only those names that match what was entered.

Here’s a video that shows, first, someone entering a contribution. And, then, the back-office point of view.

Search names on contributions
Pick List by Last Name

Shopping Cart Tutorial

This shopping cart tutorial provides instruction on how to set up and use the ShalomCloud shopping cart.

First, a couple of ground rules. If you don’t see the menu options for the cart, we’ll need to set a certain flag. Also, using the shopping cart depends on your organization using the services of our preferred card and ACH provider. The reason will become apparent as you read on — our shopping cart is integrated with the membership and financial aspect of ShalomCloud.

Another ground rule — the shopping cart is appropriate for any fixed-priced items — including zero. In other words, where the visitor chooses an amount to pay, that would go under contributions.

First, setting up the cart. Under the Configuration menu, you’ll see a selection named “Items.” An item has a name, a description, a price, and a quantity available. Also, there is a date after which the item appears for purchase. In other words, before that date, the item won’t appear in the cart. Then, on the flip side, you would archive the item once it is longer for sale. For example, a Shabbat dinner from last Friday.

Finally, there is a field to designate what category to which the funds post.

When someone makes a purchase, then, the system subtracts the quantity purchased from the available count; and posts the monies to the category glued to that item.

To see what people have bought, you’d go to Queries -> Purchases. Here, you can ask for purchases, using any combination of four fields:

  • Any portion of the family code of the purchaser
  • Any portion of the item name
  • Purchased on or after
  • Purchased on or before.

As with all our queries, you can then download the results.

Last thing — in the video, you’ll see what the cart looks like from the visitor’s perspective. It’s a typical shopping cart paradigm. It has buttons to adjust quantities; to clear the cart; to continue shopping; and, finally, to check out.

When the user completes the purchase, a few things happen:

  • The purchaser receives an immediate email
  • Administrators so flagged receive an email about the purchase
  • If the system recognizes the email or cell phone that the visitor entered, it posts the money to that family.
  • If the system does not recognize the email or cell phone, it creates the family automatically.

Here’s a shopping cart tutorial video.

shopping cart item
shopping cart item

Tax Letter Tutorial

Given the season, we at ShalomCloud thought it timely to produce a tax letter tutorial.

There is one new minor feature included in this announcement. You can now include either formal name or informal name in the body of the tax letter.

Without more fanfare, we suggest just watching the video. It will show you how to set up the tax letter template. And, if you’re so inclined, a tax letter notification by email.

In the video, you’ll see some options when producing the tax letters. For example, you may choose to show payment sources — check number, card last-four-digits, etc.

Another option is whether you want to include all payments, or only those to categories marked as deductible.

Tax letter tutorial
Tax letter tutorial