Enhanced formatting for Yahrzeit letters–by which we mean fonts, colors, sizing, and the like.
At first, ShalomCloud offered a way to control content for Yahrzeit notifications, presuming you would print and mail them. After that, we bolstered the communication offering by making available email templates. The latter included a toolbar to control letter sizes, letter colors, background colors, and even picture placement.
However, you, the user, had to choose one or the other–either the fixed format (but with editable content) of the letters, or the fluid format of emails.
No longer! You may now format your Yahrzeit notifications using the email templates, yet use the email template to send hard-copy letters. The best of both worlds.
If you print labels from the member query screen, the first line of the label now shows the individual member name, rather than the family formal name.
On the household/family query screen, you can now query by date resigned, and by reason for resigning.
For the notes/memos–you can now receive an email with your individual tasks that are past due (which appear in red), or due within the next seven days. Your administrator can determine the timing and frequency of those “push” emails–for example, the system can send the emails at 11 pm, seven days a week; or, if that seems too often, perhaps 5 am Monday through Friday.
Pertaining to Yahrzeits, where some notifications are by Hebrew date, while other notifications are by Gregorian date–a single export button now gives you two tabs. The first tab matches the top part of the screen; the second tab matches the Gregorian portion of the screen.
When producing a directory, beside each email address is the person’s first name.
In addition, there is one change intended to solve a reported problem that manifests itself as the cryptic message “502 Bad Gateway nginx/1.12.1.”
Asked for, and now delivered–the ability to send text messages from ShalomCloud.
Apparently text messages reach over 95% of their intended audience, whereas email is doing well to reach 30%. Therefore, for short, time-sensitive announcements (service time changes, reminders about classes and events), this might be your preferred channel for reaching a selection of congregants quickly and effectively.
Some time ago, in response to how crowded with fields was the Member query, we made available check boxes by which the user could select which fields should appear on the reports and spreadsheet downloads.
The same selection ability is now available on the Yahrzeit queries. This makes for a more device-responsive, cleaner appearance.
Realizing that this is fairly dry material, we nonetheless wish to mention several small enhancements within the Yahrzeit capability:
ShalomCloud has for some time offered “tags,” alternatively dubbed “attributes,” for Households and individuals. Yahrzeits can also now be associated with tags….which means you can also query and report by those tags.
If your congregation maintains plaques for Yahrzeits, you might be interested in a new query–displaying all the Yahrzeits with no plaque.
In the same vein, the application has long been able to show and display Yahrzeits and relationships to people in the congregation. Now we flip to the opposite question–showing all the Yahrzeits for whom no relationship exists.
Next occurrence of Yahrzeit, as of a user-entered date.
As you’re gathering momentum (or just starting) to prepare for the holidays, allow me to recommend something a tad bold and different, but which should help mightily.
Does this describe your situation? (1) Many events to orchestrate and coordinate; (2) Several people, and several committees, with varying responsibilities; (3) A mix of professional staff, office personnel, clergy, and off-site volunteers, all with different tasks and ideas; (4) a flood of emails roaring across the landscape, some with too narrow an audience, some with too wide an audience.
What is Slack? It’s a tool to collaborate online. Everyone involved in planning for the holidays (or for any large event, for that matter), can be a member of the Slack channel, and can post questions and answers, by topic. For example, you could set up topics such as Seating, Children’s Services, and Assignment of Honors.
Let’s spell out a few advantages of this way of collaborating:
— All communications happen in one place, segmented by topic.
— All content can be searched from one location.
— If there are documents to be shared, that can also be done within Slack–even if you use tools like Google Docs or Dropbox to house them.
— If the need arises for private communication, that can be accommodated within Slack.
— There are iPhone and Android apps for Slack; thus, team members don’t need to be in front of a PC to fully participate.
If your holiday preparations flow smoothly, and coordinating among the widely varied participants poses no challenge–well, keep doing what you’re doing. Otherwise, consider giving this intuitive, popular tool a try.
Please feel free to subscribe to this blog, using the form in the panel on the right. Or, if you’d like to join our own Slack channel, synagogue-management.slack.com, drop us a line.
Last week’s post mentioned free web hosting available for affiliates of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism. Fortunately, there is a parallel offering for affiliates of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).