Running Statements

Running statements can tie up your screen for much more than a few seconds. In fact, if statements take more than two minutes, you’ll see a message about a Gateway timeout.

In order to avoid this, we are now processing statements as a background job. What does this mean to you? First of all, as you submit a statement run, you’ll get an immediate response, telling you that the statement run has begun. Later, typically two to five minutes, you’ll receive an email, from [email protected], informing you that the statements are ready. In that email will be a link, which you can use to download the statements.

For small synagogues, this may be a bit of an inconvenience — after all, it’s a two-step process to pull statements. However, you do gain the benefit of being able to use your browser while the statements are running. And, by running them in the background, you’ll not have to worry about the system timing out.

In weeks to come, we expect to be doing the same for some of the longer-running selections.

Statement run in action: Link to video

Long running jobs

Move a person from one family to another

ShalomCloud now offers a convenient way to move a person from one family to another.

On occasion, you may have added a person to the wrong family. Or, you may have what are, in reality, duplicate records that you wish to consolidate. You may even have situations where families merge.

For any of these situations, we now offer a simple way to move a person from one family to another. It’s just a new field amidst the normal family/member maintenance.

Behind the scenes, there are a couple of clean-up actions that occur:

  1. The system checks to see whether there are any financial transactions tied to the ‘from’ family.
  2. The system checks whether there are any people remaining in that family.

If either is true, nothing further happens. Otherwise, the system goes ahead and deletes the ‘from’ family. If, for some reason, you want to see what was in the family record, you can go to the family/member audit trail to see those values.

Here is a very short video on this topic.

Move person from one family to another.
Move person from one family to another

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