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

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.

Send Several Thank-you Emails from One Screen

This post announces an express way to send acknowledgments for contributions, via email.

Until now, in order to issue notes, to both contributors, and to those who they wish to be notified about their contributions (which, for the sake of brevity, we’ll refer to as “notifees”), the procedure was this:

You would do a financial transaction query, typically by date. That assumes you send these notices on some regular cadence — weekly, daily, M-W-F, for example. Then, you would select the “Preview” link, look over the email, and either print it or send it.

The traditional way is still available. Now, however, you can choose a different approach. You’d do the financial transaction query, as before. But you’ll see a new button, labeled “Bulk acknowledge.” By selecting that button, you’ll see the same set of payments, displayed as a list. Not only as a list, but also with input boxes. In those input boxes, you can enter or override the description, the name of a notifee, and the email address. Also, there are check-boxes on the far right, so that you can choose which contributions will receive an acknowledgment.

The system fills in the notifee area in one of two ways. First, if you, as an administrator, have selected a person to be notified when you entered the financial transaction, that person with an email address will appear. Second, if someone has made an online contribution, and has supplied a name, or, better yet, a name with an email address, ShalomCloud populates whatever information the contributor has entered.

One last point — for the notifee template, if you want to include the name of the notifee, you’ll need one of these fields in your template:

  • {notifee}
  • {donee_firstname}
  • {donee_informal_name}

Here’s a video explaining the bulk-acknowledgment process.

Bulk Acknowledge
Bulk Acknowledge

CC Eligible Users

You now have the ability to CC eligible users on outgoing ShalomCloud email.

There are two places the CC comes into play. First, when you’re sending emails from the member query. Second, when you’re sending emails from the All Children report.

Be aware of a couple of ground rules, though. The CC email addresses must be in ShalomCloud as administrative users. That’s what we intend with the phrase “CC Eligible Users.” That is to say, they must have read or write permissions on general data. If you do type in an email address that isn’t eligible, the system will warn you with a red bar underneath the CC area. Just blank out the named email address, and you’ll be good to go.

Do be aware that your own sent email is available in ShalomCloud, under Queries -> Email history. Therefore, you needn’t CC yourself, just to have a record of what you’ve sent.

Here’s a video showing this new area in action

CC Eligible Users
CC To:

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New features for Membership Directory

We now have available a few new features for the membership directory.

The most visible change is the option to print the directory in a linear, up-and-down organization. Before now, the only choice was to use a “Z-Pattern.” That is, ShalomCloud would print the first entry in the upper left corner. The the second name in the upper right corner. Then the third name on the next row, under the first name.

Now, you can choose to first fill the left column, then fill the right column. Then, a new page, continuing to the end.

Another change in the new style is displaying page numbers.

One more thing — if you populate the field known as “informal label,” you can now include that in the directory.

This video runs through all of new features for the membership directory.

Additional options for directory
Additional options for directory

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