Query for Deceased Members

You may or may not be aware that there is a flag to mark a member as deceased:

You can maintain this field under family maintenance; however, we recommend that you use more of an automated process, as described in this article.

But that’s not the point of this post. By default, the member query excludes deceased people. That’s in order to avoid the possibility of sending communications, either text or email, to those individuals.

In contrast, you may be interested in seeing information about those deceased persons. This change enables you to do that, by checking a box on the member query:

Note that, when you do choose to show deceased members, ShalomCloud automatically includes all billing statuses. That is a convenience, so that you needn’t worry about the default billing status of Active.

Not Just One, but Many — on Statement Runs

Modest change here — having to do with your periodic statements.

One of the selection criteria on statement runs had been the ability to select all families, or one family:

With this change, you can now select multiple families or all:

Probably the most advantageous circumstance where this would be useful is this: Suppose you primarily send statements by email. The system dutifully warns of any families who would have received a statement, but for whom the system has no email address.

Before, you would proceed by selecting the first family and printing the statement. Then, you would select the second family; and so forth, one at a time.

Now, you can select all the families for whom there is no email address, and obtain printed statements in one step.

Here’s a video that illustrates the above.

By the way, if you want to see a series of articles about the various developments concerning statements, please peruse this collection.

New Field — Community per Family

What do we mean by the term “Community?” Families often live in what can generically be referred to as a community. For example, a senior living community. Or, an apartment community. Or, a Home Owners Association community. It’s just a way to group families by a geographic area, more local than zip code.

Now, how might you use this new field? By first designating the communities in the Configuration menu

you can then assign these communities to the respective families who reside there.

And, then, to harvest that information, you can either

  1. Run a family query for one or more communities, or
  2. Run a member query, to list all the people in those communities.

For example, suppose you’re running a Purim program at one of the senior living communities. By using this new field, you could send a targeted email, announcing the event, to members of that community.

Here’s a video showing how to enter the communities, and then how to query both families and members, by community.

New capability — to acknowledge pledges

Adding to the existing ability to acknowledge payments in bulk, we now have the ability to bulk acknowledge pledges.

If you’re not families with what we mean by “bulk acknowledge,” please view this article.

That works handily for recognizing payments of any kind. Now, we’ve added the a button to sent several acknowledgements for pledges, or any amount owed, for that matter. For example, you may want to sent email thank-you notes after a pledge drive, or after people have made commitments to a building campaign.

The procedure is the same as before — it stars with Queries -> Financial transactions. Then, you’d likely select a date ranges; and, perhaps focus on a designated set of categories

New is the light blue button to bulk acknowledge pledges (actually, any type of amount owed).

Here is a video to view the end-to-end process

Direct Link — Member Portal to Shopping Cart

Now available — a direct link from the member portal to the shopping cart.

Some basics — if you’re unfamiliar with the member portal, it might help to view this video.

The ShalomCloud shopping cart provides a way for your community to purchase items (including zero-cost items), and sign up for events. Examples include Shabbat dinners, Rabbi classes, Lulav and Etrog, concerts … quite a variety.

In the last step, where the user goes through a check-out process, there’s a form to fill out. As described in the shopping cart tutorial, ShalomCloud uses the demographic information in that form to identify the buyer, and to attribute the purchase to a family known to your synagogue — or to create a new family unit, if none of the info matches anything in the system.

What is new about this announcement is that, if the congregant first logs into the member portal, a new button will appear. That button will launch the shopping cart. Furthermore, when that person enters the check-out, all the demographic information will be pre-filled. Name, email, phone, physical address. Thus, no need to repetitively fill out known data–as long as your congregant first logs into the member portal.

Video demonstration

Announcing a new, more granular authorization

First of all, some background. If you’re not familiar with the ShalomCloud shopping cart, please review this handful of articles.

Some more background. ShalomCloud controls access to its major functions by means of a set of permissions, or authorizations. Each permission carries a flag — N for no access; R for read access; and W for read/write access. All well and good. In order to add or change items in the shopping cart, one needed the Financial permission. However, financial permission opens the door to see all financials, including pledges, contributions, and shopping cart activity.

And now we arrive at the focus of this article. You now have an authorization specifically for the shopping cart. In other words, you can grant access to create and update items in the shopping cart, without granting access to the rest of the financial information.

Unlocking the Full Potential: More Ways to Maximize Your Alternate Email Sender

For some time now, ShalomCloud has offered the ability to send emails from a general alternate email address. For background on that capability, see this article. Useful for things like newsletters, general information, et al.

We have expanded the use of alternate sender address, to both periodic statements by email, and tax letters by email.

Here is a very short video that demonstrates these two new use cases.

Now available — track form responses

The ShalomCloud form builder offers an integrated capability to send forms. The most common use is for school registration and membership renewal. However, the form builder accommodates any kind of information that you wish to gather. Surveys, interests, preferences, for example.

For some forms, especially those two most common uses, there has not been a convenient way to track who has and has not responded. The best way, until now, was to set up an attribute for each sent form, and then mark the attribute as forms came in.

We now have available a feature we’re calling the Form Tracker. Here’s how it works:

For any form for which you want to enable tracking, there’s a radio button to say so. By default, tracking is off for a given form.

With tracking enabled, each time you send a form, the system tracks when, and to whom, you sent the form. In the case of school forms, it also tracks the student .

Then, when someone responds, the systems records the date and time of the response.

Moreover, there is now a convenient screen that shows the times sent and received. There is also a check-box, so that, if you want to send, say, a reminder, you can do so, directly from that tracking screen.

Finally — each time you send a form, the system creates an attribute, more or less matching the name of the form. And, as people respond, it attaches that attribute to the responder. Therefore, you can easily query families or individuals, perhaps to promote sending acknowledgements.

You can see this feature in action in this video.

Two New Features for Yahrzeit Emails

Announcing two new features for yahrzeit emails.

First — until now, the recipient of the reminders saw only the email address of the sender. So, for example, if you logged in as admin@yourtemple.org, that’s all the recipient saw. Now, the name associated with that user will appear, alongside the email. Thus, for example, assuming that Adam Adams is the administrator, the email will come from Adam Adams <admin@yourtemple.org>.

Second change — until now, the subject of those yahrzeit emails was always the single word Yahrzeits. If you’re content with that, you need do nothing. If, however, you want something more descriptive as your subject line, you can go to Home => Declare synagogue options. Scroll near the bottom, where you’ll find a field labeled Subject for yahrzeit reminders. Whatever you enter there (after touching the submit button), becomes the subject line for emailed yahrzeit reminders.

To see a brief video demonstrating the above, feel free to access this link.

The directory and the portal — respecting privacy

If any of your folks have expressed a desire to NOT appear in your ShalomCloud membership directory — – or, if they wish to not appear in the member portal search — here is how you’d fulfill that wish.

First, create a family attribute, specifically with the abbreviation _EXCL. That’s uppercase EXCL, preceded by an underscore.

Then, you’d proceed to tag the privacy-oriented families, using Maintenance -> Assign Family Attr.

Once so tagged, when you produce a directory (Queries -> Produce Directory), that entire household does not appear.

Also, in the member search section of the logged-in member portal, people in the excluded families do not appear.

Video illustration.