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.

Letters for Families

You can now produce letters for families, driven by the family/household query.

ShalomCloud has offered a number of different ways to communicate with your congregation. For example, you can send Yahrzeit reminders by letter or by email. Similarly, you can send acknowledgments for contributions by letter or email. When reaching out to individual members, you can use email or text messaging. Finally, at the family/household level, you could print envelopes or labels.

However–one thing was missing–namely, the ability to create a general letter, intended for either the entire congregation, or to a selection of families. We have filled that gap.

Here’s a short (3:39) video illustrating the new capability, Letters for Families.

Creating Letters from the Family Query

Synagogue Directory: More Choices

When producing a synagogue directory, you’ll now have a few more choices.

In the initial roll-out of the synagogue directory, there weren’t any options. The program simply created a document of all your Active families, in two columns, on 8 1/2 by 11 paper. Just three mouse clicks would create that directory.

Since that initial announcement, we’ve add a few things. First, you can select which families to include, based on the billing status [Active, Associate, Friends, etc]. Also, you can select by family attribute(s). Moreover, there is a special attribute to exclude a family entirely from the directory.

The newest set of options provides one more selection criteria. If you’ve marked your individual members with the Role within Family (see this link for details), you can indicate which roles to include. For example, if you’ve marked roles such as Adult and Child, you can specify that only Adults would appear in the directory.

As mentioned above, the directory had been available in one format, and one format only–8 1/2 x 11 paper, in two columns. Now, you can designate your paper size (for example, 8 1/2 inches tall, 5 1/2 inches wide), and whether you want a one-column format or a two-column format.

Directory options
Directory Options

This video (8 m, 18s) runs through these options.

Certainly, if you’d like to help setting up these directory templates, feel free to reach out to us.

How to: Input and Report on Yahrzeits

This post runs through most aspects of updating Yahrzeits, especially connecting members of your congregation to their loved ones who have passed away.

The video also shows how to

  • Pull Yahrzeit lists by both Hebrew date range and Gregorian date range.
  • Obtain a spreadsheet with both lists.
  • Create Yahrzeit reminder notifications, honed specifically to the recipient’s preference of Hebrew or Gregorian.
  • How to create a printable list of Yahrzeits, using either a Hebrew date range or a Gregorian date range.

In contrast to most of our posts, which announce new features, this is meant as an instructional video. Enjoy.

How to: Maintain and report on Yahrzeits.

Setting Up the User Portal

Some of you may be aware of the logged-in area of ShalomCloud, but may be wondering how you’d go about setting up the user portal. Wonder no more.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the user portal, this is a place where logged-in users can:

  • See and maintain their own household information.
  • Review any Yahrzeits connected to any member of that household.
  • Pull a financial statement for any period of time. The statement shows any outstanding balances, and shows any payments in the designated period of time.
  • Issue payments–pledge payments, contributions, school tuition, for example.

Setting up the portal is a three-step process:

  1. First, create an email template, that will be used to send each new user information on how to log in.
  2. Then, select the audience, and click the orange button.
  3. Last, review the results.

Here is a six-minute video that steps you through the end-to-end process.

Setting up the User Portal from Norman Snyder on Vimeo.

Here are some articles showing what logged-in users can do.

Portal user selection
Selecting users for the portal

The Turnaround Document

Scattered through these posts are some citations of the Turnaround Document. The Turnaround Document, to be brief, is a way for you to send letters or emails to your congregation, with all the information you have on file for each family. The document shows:

  • Household information, such as physical address and primary phone number
  • Information on each member, such as email, cell phone, birth dates, occupations, Hebrew names, etc.
  • A list of all the Yahrzeits related to any member of that family.

With this latest change, you can now select, by family status, who will receive the letter/email. For example, if you have statuses such as ‘Active’ and ‘Affiliate’, you can target just those two.

One more thing–the congregants can now specify on the turnaround document whether they want their cell phone numbers and/or email addresses suppressed on a membership directory.

Selections for the Turnaround Document

End-of-school-year Promotion

If you track your religious school enrollment within ShalomCloud, you can now take advantage of the end-of-school-year promotion process.

In order to use this action, you’d want to make sure that your grade levels are set up. One typical example would be 1 = Alef, 2 = Bet, 3 = Gimel, etc. You’d want to ensure, above all, that the grade levels are numeric and consecutive.

We typically upload your current student population during the conversion process, rather than your having to enter them student by student.

With those setup items complete, to run the end-of-school-year promotion process, you’d go to Maintenance => Promote to next grade level. The system does pause to confirm that you want to take this action. If you reply OK, you’ll see a screen, with each student’s new grade level, and any errors that occurred.

Here’s a video illustrating the end to end promotion process.

Country Code

You can now enter a country code as part of the address for your congregational families.

In most cases, you likely do not want to designate a country. That is, if the mailing address is in the same country as your synagogue, it is best to not designate a country.

In contrast, let’s say that your temple is in a northern climate in the United States, and you have a family or two with a winter home in Costa Rica. You would want to designate a country (CRI in this example) for that seasonal address. Or the opposite–your congregation is in Florida, and you have folks with a Canada address, either as their primary or seasonal address. You’d put CAN as a country code.

If the system sees a country code, it will print a separate line on envelopes and labels to show it.

New drop-down selection for country