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.

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

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



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

Labels for Checked Members

From the member query screen, you can now print labels specifically for members selected by checkbox.

Prior to this relatively small enhancement, if you wanted to finely select your audience for labels, you’d have to make a member attribute, and tag the selected members with that attribute.

Now, you can create an ad hoc set of labels, just by checking or unchecking names that appear in the query.

Here’s a two-minute video showing how to use this new feature.

Labels for checked members
Labels for checked members

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.

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.

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.