Convenience — Copy High Holiday Honors from a Prior Year

If you’ve used our Aliyot/Honors capability in a previous year, you can now copy those records into the current year.

If you’re unfamiliar with the ShalomCloud Aliyot capability, best to set up some time with us. We can go through the entire round trip, including:

  • Setting up the honors
  • Offering, or nominating, persons for each honor.
  • How to follow-up, either for those who have not responded.
  • How to send reminders for accepted honors.

In contrast, this announcement pertains to cases where you have a set of prior honors, and wish to get started on the new year.

It’s simply a matter of choosing a service (Erev Rosh Hashanah, Kol Nidre, et al.), using the “copy” link, and designating the date and time of the respective service.

Also — if you wish to copy the honorees from a prior year, there is a button for that, too. Or, if you want to start fresh, you can copy the honors themselves, but leave the honorees open.

Here’s a video that runs through this new process.

Copy high holiday honors

Now Available — Add/Change/Delete Purchase History

Until this change, the ShalomCloud shopping cart purchase history relied solely on purchases made online. You had no way to change those records. So, if someone accidentally signed up twice, or signed up and later informed you that they could not attend, you had no way to update that data. Your record counts would be off, and the funds collected (or to be collected), would be off.

Another situation: if someone wanted to make a purchase, or register for an event, but would prefer not to use the online shopping cart, you had no way to indicate that. Perhaps they mailed in a check for a Shabbat dinner, for example, and you wanted to add that reservation to the purchase history.

This change allows you to accommodate those situations. You can delete a purchase; and you can manually insert a purchase.

One major caveat, though — any financial ramifications would have to be handled separately, via the normal financial transaction screens.

Here’s a video that demonstrates some basic use cases.

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.

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.

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.

New warning on duplicate form responses

With the ShalomCloud form builder, you can declare certain questions as auto-bill. This means that, depending on what the user selects, ShalomCloud creates an amount owed. Example — membership type, like this:

  • Family membership $2000
  • Single membership $1000
  • Senior couple $1200

What has been happening on occasion, is that either both adults in a household respond to the form — or the same person responds a second time. The result would be double-billing. Two family memberships, in the above example, for a total of $4000.

Now, with this safety check, when someone accesses a form, the system checks whether anybody in the household has already submitted the form. The system provides the name of that person, and the date of the previous form submission.

One caveat — this is just a warning. That is, it does allow the 2nd person to continue with the form. Why? At this juncture, we are leery of stopping those cases where, perhaps, someone didn’t fill out the form completely, and just wants a do-over. Depending on how this plays out, we can consider preventing the subsequent submission.

Also — we have not yet applied this logic to school registrations. Most assuredly, it needs to be there, but we opted to put this portion of the enhancement into production.

Here’s an end-to-end run-through of the first, then the duplicate, form submission.

Easily Track High Holiday Honors

We’ve expanded on the already-available, but not widely publicized, ability for ShalomCloud to manage the process of assigning honors. This pertains primarily to the High Holidays, but could be used for any set of honors.

There a detailed tutorial available, which may serve better than this text description. Nonetheless, here goes. With this feature, you can

  • Nominate people to carry out various honors.
  • Track the status — accepted in person, accepted virtually, declined — whatever terminology you’re accustomed to using.
  • When assigning honors, ask for a specific last name, or by anyone who has not already been assigned an honor.
  • Obtain a spreadsheet, with contact information, of who has not received an honor.

And on the query side,

  • Obtain a list of honors for which there is no assigned person.
  • Ask for those who have been offered an honor, but who have not yet responded.
  • From that list, send formatted emails, with the specifics about the respective honor.
  • Obtain a list of those who have accepted an honor, and email a formatted reminder, replete with details about the honor.

How to gather and verify information about your members

We have two new small enhancements regarding the “Turnaround Document” — so-called because, when you send it to your congregation, they it turn it back in, with additions and corrections. We’ve had this capability for three years (https://blog.shalomcloud.com/2020/03/18/the-turnaround-document-2/), but it’s worth going over again.

First of all — if you’re not familiar with this term in ShalomCloud, perhaps it’s best to view the tutorial. That will cover what it is, what purpose it serves, and how to send it to your congregation. Basically, it’s a document that can either be sent via postal mail, one per family, or by email. It displays every piece of non-financial data in ShalomCloud on behalf of that family, with a place to write in additions and corrections.

The two new aspects of the turnaround document are:

  • Including the three emergency contact fields — a name, phone number, and email address.
  • A place to put a free-form message, after the individual members of the household, and before the Yahrzeits observed by anyone in the household.

Here’s a video that runs through the entire process.

Now has a free-form area, below members and above Yahrzeits

Include More Info in the Shopping Cart

We have one new wrinkle to announce, concerning the ShalomCloud shopping cart.

Until now, the items in the shopping cart consisted of the name of the item, a description, and a price. (By the way, that price could be zero, or could be user-determined). All well and good. But — what if you needed to collect some additional information from the “buyer”?

Examples:

  • For a class, the names of the attendees
  • Same thing for a community Seder
  • If you’re selling Hamantaschen, who will be picking up the order?

If you have asked for that additional information, when someone places that item into the cart, the program will provide a place for the response.

In turn, the purchase queries include the question-answer pair.

Last item of note — the email to the “buyer.” Thinking that, more often than not, those emails will appear on a cell phone, we’ve formatted the response to appear vertically.

Here’s how it looks on a computer monitor:

Shopping cart purchase -- wide screen
Shopping cart purchase — wide screen

And here’s how it looks on a cell phone:

Shopping cart purchase -- narrow screen
Shopping cart purchase — narrow screen

To see a video of the end-to-end process, please access this link:

ShalomCloud shopping cart: Now with user-determined prices

Until now, the ShalomCloud shopping cart contained strictly fixed-price items. Shabbat dinners, Lulav and Etrog sets, classes (whether free or not) are some examples.

However, sometimes you’ll have a set of prices for an event, perhaps with various sponsorship levels. Aha, but if anyone wanted to register for the event, but remit something above, or between, the fixed sponsorship levels, you couldn’t do that with the shopping cart. Instead, you’d have to use the donation button.

With this announcement, you can designate shopping cart items that have a “fill-in-the-blank” price.

By the way, your existing shopping cart items are unaffected. By default, they are fixed-price.

This video shows this new capability, both from the back-office perspective, as well as from the “shopper’s” perspective.

shopping cart user pricing
Shopping Cart User Pricing