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

When a Congregant Passes Away

When a congregant passes away, there are a number of tasks to take care of. Until now, we provided a list of those actions, which you had to perform one by one.

With this enhancement, we have streamlined that process and automated quite a few steps. Where the steps do require manual input, we’ve gathered those inputs into fewer screens than you had to visit in the past.

The manual steps are:

  • Update the formal name, informal name, and informal label of the family
  • Possibly changing the billing status, especially if the one who passed away was the last survivor of the family

The automated steps — those that ShalomCloud performs without your intervention are:

  • Sets the “deceased” flag for the member.
  • Erases the email address (to avoid inadvertently sending an email from ShalomCloud).
  • Erases the cell phone (to avoid inadvertently sending a text message from ShalomCloud).
  • Changes the role-within-family to “Deceased.”
  • For all Yahrzeit notifications that the newly deceased was receiving, sets the notification flag to “N”. This avoids the embarrassing possibility of sending Yahrzeit reminders.
  • Tags the Yahrzeit as a former member. Thus, you can query Yahrzeits for former members who passed away during a given time period.

After performing these actions, both manual and automated, the system then provides you with a link to all the Yahrzeits currently observed by the person who passed away. This gives you the opportunity to declare other reminders, thus keeping alive the lineage.

To see this process in action, please peruse this video, illustrating the process to follow when a congregant passes away.

Death of a congregant
Death of a Congregant

Move a person from one family to another

ShalomCloud now offers a convenient way to move a person from one family to another.

On occasion, you may have added a person to the wrong family. Or, you may have what are, in reality, duplicate records that you wish to consolidate. You may even have situations where families merge.

For any of these situations, we now offer a simple way to move a person from one family to another. It’s just a new field amidst the normal family/member maintenance.

Behind the scenes, there are a couple of clean-up actions that occur:

  1. The system checks to see whether there are any financial transactions tied to the ‘from’ family.
  2. The system checks whether there are any people remaining in that family.

If either is true, nothing further happens. Otherwise, the system goes ahead and deletes the ‘from’ family. If, for some reason, you want to see what was in the family record, you can go to the family/member audit trail to see those values.

Here is a very short video on this topic.

Move person from one family to another.
Move person from one family to another

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



The Turnaround Document

Scattered through these posts are some citations of the Turnaround Document. The Turnaround Document, to be brief, is a way for you to send letters or emails to your congregation, with all the information you have on file for each family. The document shows:

  • Household information, such as physical address and primary phone number
  • Information on each member, such as email, cell phone, birth dates, occupations, Hebrew names, etc.
  • A list of all the Yahrzeits related to any member of that family.

With this latest change, you can now select, by family status, who will receive the letter/email. For example, if you have statuses such as ‘Active’ and ‘Affiliate’, you can target just those two.

One more thing–the congregants can now specify on the turnaround document whether they want their cell phone numbers and/or email addresses suppressed on a membership directory.

Selections for the Turnaround Document

End-of-school-year Promotion

If you track your religious school enrollment within ShalomCloud, you can now take advantage of the end-of-school-year promotion process.

In order to use this action, you’d want to make sure that your grade levels are set up. One typical example would be 1 = Alef, 2 = Bet, 3 = Gimel, etc. You’d want to ensure, above all, that the grade levels are numeric and consecutive.

We typically upload your current student population during the conversion process, rather than your having to enter them student by student.

With those setup items complete, to run the end-of-school-year promotion process, you’d go to Maintenance => Promote to next grade level. The system does pause to confirm that you want to take this action. If you reply OK, you’ll see a screen, with each student’s new grade level, and any errors that occurred.

Here’s a video illustrating the end to end promotion process.

Country Code

You can now enter a country code as part of the address for your congregational families.

In most cases, you likely do not want to designate a country. That is, if the mailing address is in the same country as your synagogue, it is best to not designate a country.

In contrast, let’s say that your temple is in a northern climate in the United States, and you have a family or two with a winter home in Costa Rica. You would want to designate a country (CRI in this example) for that seasonal address. Or the opposite–your congregation is in Florida, and you have folks with a Canada address, either as their primary or seasonal address. You’d put CAN as a country code.

If the system sees a country code, it will print a separate line on envelopes and labels to show it.

New drop-down selection for country

Members by Household Attributes

You can now query for individual members, by the attributes associated with their household records.

To step back a bit–for some time, ShalomCloud has provided a way to define attributes (or ‘tags’) for families (a.k.a. Households), for individuals within those families, and for Yahrzeits. There are screens where you can easily and quickly tag your families and members, as needed.

Then, by going to the Queries menu, you could pull lists of families with your choice of attributes. Similarly, you could pull lists of individuals, with your choice of member attributes.

However–what if you wanted to obtain a list of people who belonged to families with certain attributes? For example–maybe you’ve tagged some households as Seniors, others as Young Couple or Young Single? And you want to reach out to members of those families, maybe to organize group-specific activities?

That’s what this enhancement handles. Have a look at the video (5 minutes). It shows you this feature, and also shows an example of combining the different attributes into one query.

Family attributes available in member query
Family attributes now available in member query

Donation Acknowledgments

This post discusses a couple of new ways to send donation acknowledgments.

For quite awhile, you could send such acknowledgments via postal mail, using a template in the format of a typical business letter. The structure included things such as insider address, greeting, body, complimentary close, and writer identification. If your synagogue’s letters fit into that mold, then that is probably your best option.

However–if either (a) you prefer to email your contribution acknowledgments, or (b) your template is more involved–say, with officers and titles running down the left side–you can now take advantage of the richer formatting options available under email templates.

In a way, we’re double-dipping here. At the risk of seeming repetitious–you now have three options:

  • Continue to use the venerable letter templates, especially if your letter adheres to the available structure;
  • Create an email template, and use it to email your donation acknowledgments;
  • Leverage the rich formatting of email templates to create a highly customized donation acknowledgment letter.

Here’s a seven-minute video that explains all three options.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a note at [email protected] . We’ll be happy to go over your specific situation and make a recommendation.