Email Attachments

ShalomCloud now offers the ability to add email attachments to your communications.

Before we delve into the “how-to,” let’s look at some of the things you might consider before sending out email attachments.

  1. In most email systems, the recipient must download the attachment to see any part of the email.
  2. Many users read emails on their cell phones; if, at the time, they are not in a wireless network, that data would count against their cell plan data allotment.
  3. Sending large attachments to several hundred recipients is a generally frowned upon practice. Better would be providing a link to the document. That way, the email itself reaches its recipients more quickly, and they can decide whether or not to access the document.

With that being said, adding an attachment is rather easy in ShalomCloud. There is a new button at the bottom of the member query, as pictured below:

email attachments
Adding an attachment to emails

There are a couple of limitations, though: first, you can add only one attachment at a time; second, the attachment must be smaller than two megabytes.

Here is a video showing how to query members, and send them emails with an attachment.

Recurring Payments in the Member Portal

ShalomCloud now offers the ability to create recurring payments in the member portal.

By way of background — we have for some time offered the following capabilities, once a congregant logs in:

  • Maintain own family’s demographic information
  • See yahrzeits related to any member of the family
  • Add a member to the family
  • Pull a statement — amounts owed and paid — for any date range.
  • Make a payment, while designating exactly how those funds should be applied.
  • Member search, by any portion of the last name and/or first name.

To these functions, we now add the idea of creating, updating, and deleting recurring payments. For the sake of completeness, let us mention a couple of prerequisites:

  1. Your temple or synagogue must have an account with our gateway that offers both card and ACH. For more information on that topic, please send us a note at [email protected], and we’ll guide you through the setup process.
  2. There must be a charge, debit, or amount owed, to which the recurring payment would be applied.

The following video shows, not only the new recurring payments function, but actually everything that the member portal can do. Feel free share this post and video, especially if you have members who may want to have an online account.

Member portal end-to-end.

Recurring payment via member portal
Recurring payment via member portal

Segment the Turnaround Document

Our larger customers may be interested in the capability to segment the turnaround document.

What is the turnaround document, you might wonder? For background, please have a look at this video. This is a document that holds all the fields we have collected for families, individuals, and Yahrzeits. The goal is to send each document to its respective family; and then the family would “turn around” that document with additions and corrections.

For large congregations, the program might well time out. In that case, you would want to take advantage of the new ability to segment the turnaround document — to run it by range of letters. It defaults to “A” to “Z.” If that’s too many, you might try entering something like “A” to “D”, then “E” through “H”, etc.

Here you may watch a video to see how this feature works.

Turnaround document selections

Private Notes

ShalomCloud now has the ability to create private notes.

For a few years now, ShalomCloud has had the ability to create notes. The note creator can assign a priority, a due date, and can assign a user to the note.

However, until now, anyone with the “families” permission could read the notes. With this change, only the “assigned to” person can see the body of the note. For anyone else, the topic appears, but the body clearly shows the note as private.

To see this feature in access, please access this video.

Marking notes as private

Search in the Member Portal

Logged-in users can now do a search in the member portal

For background, please review these articles about the member portal.

We are now announcing something new–the ability to search for people in your congregation.

To run a search in the member portal, you’ll see a new button labeled “Member Search.” When you click that button, you’ll see a form with last name and first name. You can enter either or both. For example, if you enter just “Ann” in the first name, it’ll find everyone whose first name is Ann, Anne, Annette, etc.

The system will tell you how many people matched your search, Then, on each line, you’ll see first name, last name, cell phone, email, and address. Also, on each line, there’s a checkbox to see additional family members.

If you, as a member, do not wish your cell phone or email to appear, you can edit your information to keep those facts private. Or, you may also contact your temple administrator, who can also mark it private.

As a reminder–members can edit their own information. Names, addresses, phone numbers, occupation, birthdays, anniversaries. And that anything edited by members on the member portal goes directly into ShalomCloud.

Here are two videos on this topic. The first shows this feature on a laptop screen. The second shows how it looks on a smart phone.

Member portal search
Member Portal Search



The Turnaround Document

This post shows how to ask your congregation to verify the information on hand, via the turnaround document.

The turnaround document is an email template. It consists of placeholders for all the information in ShalomCloud for each family, member, and Yahrzeit data, per household.

You can choose to send it by email, by postal mail, or both. Also, you can also send it first by email, and then by postal, only for families with no email.

You can change the template itself. For example, if there are fields that don’t matter, you can delete them. Too, If you’d like to change a background color, the accompanying video will show you how.

This video shows the end-to-end process. It covers editing the template, sending it by email, and printing it.

Emergency Contact Information

ShalomCloud now offers a place to enter emergency contact information.

You can now enter a name, phone, and email, as an emergency contact for all members of a family. The name is actually a free-form field. Thus, it can contain not just a name, but also a phrase, such as “brother.” The email does need to be a correctly formatted address.

You have a checkbox in the family query, that lets you include the emergency contacts. Also, the spreadsheet download from the family query includes the emergency contacts. That way, if you just want a quick list of the families and contacts, you can obtain that from the family query.

Similarly, the individual member query has a checkbox to include the emergency contacts. And, of course, so will the member downloads. Since those contacts are held at the family level, every person in the family has the same contact.

Here is a video showing how you enter the data and how you query these new fields.

Emergency Contact Information
Entering Emergency Contact Information

Option in the Periodic Statements

There’s a new option in the periodic statements. That is, if you use the financial capabilities of ShalomCloud, you’ll see two sections in the statements. The upper part shows owed items and anything paid against them; while below that is an area of recent payments.

If you choose, you can now exclude the lower portion. There’s a checkbox that is checked by default, to keep intact the prior default behavior. Now, though, if you would like to eliminate that lower section, just un-check that box.

Here’s a short video showing the statement, with and without the lower section.

Options in the Periodic Statements
Include Recent Payments

Yahrzeit Letters – Tabular Format

If in your congregation, it is common for one person to receive multiple Yahrzeit reminder letters in the same period, you can now use the tabular format. In this format, the Yahrzeits appear in neat columns, in the middle of the page. In contrast, in the traditional format, the Yahrzeits were in-line with the rest of the text.

There is one thing you should be aware of, though. The tabular format is fixed–it has the name of the deceased, relationship to the living person, and Hebrew and Gregorian dates. There is no flexibility to include or exclude fields in that table.

With the Yahrzeit letters tabular format, you still do control the rest of the text of the letter–the areas above and below the table are free-form.

Here’s a video (3:51) showing how this works.

Yahrzeit letter tabular format

Tax Statements by Email

You can now send links to your memberships’ tax statements by email.

For some time, ShalomCloud could send tax statements by printed letter. As with the periodic statements, you can now send links by email to your members. By accessing the link, each member can see, print, or download the tax statement.

There are two “must-have” items for this process. One — the actual tax letter. Two, an email template entitled, specifically, “send_tax_statement_link.” If you already have a “send_statement_link”, you can copy that one, and change it for tax purposes.

Here is a video showing the tax email process in action:

Tax statements by email

Tax Letters by Email
Tax Letters by Email