Recurring Payments

There’s a new feature available in regard to recurring payments.

Previously, there were only two time periods for recurring payments–weekly or monthly. Now, though, you can specify the number of weeks or months between payments.

For example, if you specify a month-type payment, but with an interval of 3, that charge will happen every 3 months.

If you’re unfamiliar with the whole idea of recurring payments, as implemented within ShalomCloud, you’ll likely find this video helpful.

List of payment plans
Payment Plans

Copy email and letter templates

It is now possible, and rather easy, to copy email and letter templates.

In both cases, the procedure is simple. Under the Configuration menu, go to either letter templates or email (a.k.a. multipurpose) templates. From the list, choose the new link that says Copy.

The system will duplicate the document, appending a -copy to the name. You can then edit the document as usual.

Here’s a short video showing the feature in action.

Statements by Email

We now have the ability to send statements by email.

Button to send statements by email.

Taking our cue from banks and brokerages, we’ve opted not to send the actual statement by email. Instead, we send a rather long link that, when selected, takes the congregant directly into that family’s statement.

There are a few very simple setup steps:

  • Make an email template named send_statement_link.  This is an ordinary email template–so that you can insert pictures, and other customized language. The only requirement is that the template contain, in squiggly braces, the phrase {magic_link}.
  • When you go to produce the statements by email, you may choose to send the links to only certain roles, such as Parent or Adult. And, as with letter statements, you can select specific billing statuses, and/or certain family attributes.
  • Do know that the system will tell you any families for whom there are no email addresses. In that case, without leaving the screen, you can print statements for those families. Then, before the next statement period, perhaps you could work on retrieving email addresses for those families lacking one.

Here’s a video that takes you through the process.

Reassign Categories

You are now able to reassign categories for financial transactions. That is to say, if you have an obsolete category, and you wish to move all the activity to a new category. you can now do so in one action.

If you wish, you can delete the old category once the activity moves.

Here’s a two-minute demonstration of this feature.

One Donation Letter per Household

Frequently, when congregants make contributions, they include requests to inform others about the gift. Until now, the system dutifully created precisely one letter per individual. For example, if David Davies contributed $18 to a fund, and wished to inform Earl Everett and Eva Everett about the contribution, the system produced a letter to David (as the contributor), a letter to Earl, and a letter to Eva.

With this change, the system recognizes those cases where the honorees reside in the same household, and produces one letter per household

This video illustrates a case, where, in fact, the last names of the honorees are different, but reside in the same household. You’ll see in the video one letter to the honoree’s household.

Payment Portal for Receivables

The payment portal, sometimes called the non-logged-in portal, and sometimes called the contribution portal, has a new wrinkle.

Until now, the portal was purely a means to accept contributions. Now, though, if you do indeed create charges for items such as school tuition or pledges, you’ll see the portal looking for such receivables against which it will apply payments.

Sounds awfully wordy and complicated. Please watch this short (3m, 42s) video to see how this works.

Archive Financial Categories

Primarily to control what appears in the two user portals, you now have the ability to archive financial categories.

What do we mean by “archive?” You might think of it as a way to retire a no-longer-used category. Or, perhaps, you might have categories that you use internally. In fact, if your organization is more comfortable with a term such as “close” or “make private”, we can accommodate that wish quite easily.

The main point is simple–when you archive financial categories, those do not show up in either the general payment screen or the logged-in user portal.

For more background on the portals, please see these articles.

Here is a video (3:40) that shows how to archive a category, and its effect on the contribution portal.

Archiving Financial Categories
Archiving Financial Categories

Contribution Portal — card fees

As seen in the December, 2018 post, you’ve had the option of asking your contributors if they’d like to absorb card processing fees, bundled into their contribution.  As originally set up, you could determine:

  • The percentage to be recovered
  • The per-transaction amount to be recovered
  • The actual phrase or sentence that asks whether the contributor would like to absorb the fee.
  • Your choice as to whether the default would be yes or no.

With today’s change, you’ll have the option of automatically including the fee.  In this case, the contributor would not have the option of declining.

Here’s a short (4 minute) video illustrating how this works.

 

Consolidated Bimah List

Now available–a consolidated Bimah list.

We’ve added another button to the Yahrzeit query. Just a little background would be in order. On the Yahrzeit query, the top half of the screen shows all the Yahrzeits matching the Hebrew date range. Conversely, the bottom half of the screen shows all the Yahrzeits matching the Gregorian dates that you’ve entered.

If your congregation concentrates on one or the other — all Hebrew or all Gregorian — you can use the long-standing buttons to create a Hebrew or Gregorian Bimah list.

On the other hand, if your congregation has a mixture, the new Combination Bimah List button will serve you well.

combination bimah list

With this button, the system combines the Hebrew lines with the Gregorian lines, to give you one list. Along the way, at your option, it sorts by the dates the Yahrzeits occur, according to the Yahrzeit observer.

If you haven’t used the Yahrzeit area before, you might find it helpful to have a look at this instructional article and video.

Or, if you’d like to see the new “Combo” Bimah list in action, here’s a link that will step through the process.

Consolidated Bimah List

Improvements within Yahrzeit Queries

You’ll see three improvements within Yahrzeit queries. Those changes are as follows:

  • If you’re entering a Gregorian date range, the program had been adding a day to the end of the range. Why? you might ask. We were being extra cautious. We were including Yahrzeits that began after sundown on the “to” part of the date. However, none of our customers thought that made sense. Consequently, we have removed the extra day tack-on. If you enter July 1 through July 31, you’ll see July 1 through July 31, alongside its equivalents on the Hebrew calendar.
  • When sending emails from the member query, you may be taking advantage of the ability to use an alternate sender email address. (If you missed that announcement, here’s the post that will fill you in.) All well and good–but that same idea was not available if you’re sending out Yahrzeit notifications by email. For example, you might wish your Yahrzeit notifications to be sent from a general address, such as “[email protected]” If you do wish to use an alternate sender address, please do get in touch with us. We’ll need to have our email handler verify the new email sender.
  • Last thing–on smaller screens, or screens that were less than maximized, the buttons below the listings collided with the drop-down boxes to their right. The system now handles those situations gracefully, even to the size of a cell phone.
action buttons on Yahrzeit queries
Actions Buttons on Yahrzeit Query

Here’s an under-four-minute video that runs through these improvements within Yahrzeit queries.