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 (, 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

Better Handling of Early Payments

Here’s a situation that has been occurring, not infrequently.

Let’s say that you intend to gear up for a pledge drive in June or July. Or, you’re going to register children for religious school over the summer, and bill the respective families. That is all well and good.

But — you may have cases where people send in payments (or remit funds online), before you’ve had a chance to bill them.

What has been happening? Lacking an amount owed, ShalomCloud creates an immediate debit matching the payment amount. Then, when you bill the family, unless you’ve recognized the prepaid pledge or school payment, you’re effectively overcharging. That’s a bit of a sticky situation to unwind.

With this change, you can declare selected categories as prepay-eligible. Then, using the same situation described above, instead of ShalomCloud creating an immediate debit, it’ll put the money into a credit-on-file category. It will also insert “Prepaid” at the beginning of the description. So, for example, if the intent was to pay for part of a pledge, under category “Standard family pledge”, you’ll see in the description “Prepaid Standard family pledge.”

New category type — Prepay

Prepay Category

There’s one other visual change. We’ve moved up the Credit on file section. It used to be at the very bottom, below the credit card and ACH sections. Now, it’s right under the check / cash /other section. You’ll see it much more readily than when it sat at the bottom.

source of funds and credit on file
New location for credits on file

Video showing these changes

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”?


  • 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:

A few changes to the contribution portal

Just a few changes to announce, concerning the contribution portal (a.k.a., non-logged-in portal).

First, where the contributor can name a person to be notified. The screen now has a radio button, to choose either email or postal mail address. Then, depending on which button the user selected, it offers an area in which to enter that email or postal address.

Second change: Before, as soon as someone tabbed out of the amount area, the screen immediately dropped down, to invite a second item within that contribution. That has led to some confusion, or, worse, people repeating the previous item unintentionally. Instead, the screen now has a checkbox. When the user checks the box (an intentional act), then the screen opens for a second line item. And repeats, for up to five line items.

Third change: With every contribution, office folks so flagged receive an email notification. All well and good, but we’ve added to that notification the email and/or the postal mail address of the “notifee.” That should save office personnel from having to look up, or, worse, chase down contact information for the person(s) to be honored.

By the way, if you missed the post on bulk email acknowledgments, have a look at this article.

And here’s a video showing certain aspects of this change.

Two new check-boxes for the Bimah List

Let’s say you’ve done a Yahrzeit query, typically by week or by month. Unless your congregation observes completely by Hebrew date, or completely by Gregorian date, you’ll see that the screen has two different lists. The first list comprises Yahrzeits that fall within the Hebrew date range; the second, Yahrzeits that fall within the Gregorian date range.

And then, the point of this article — between the Hebrew section and the Gregorian section is the button to create a combination Bimah list. So named, because it combines the two styles of observance. That has existed for some time. What is new, then?

A check-box to include all Yahrzeits with a plaque, regardless of any other selection criteria.

A check-box to exclude Yahrzeits for whom there is either no observer, or only observers with a notification flag of N (No notification).

One last wrinkle — on the combo bimah list, we’ve put an asterisk next to those who have a plaque.

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

QuickBooks Online and Class Codes

If you take advantage of the integration between ShalomCloud and QuickBooks Online, you may take a keen interest in this post.

First of all, if you’re not familiar with class codes, you may find this article from Intuit to be instructive.

With that background in hand, know that our connection to QBO now supports designating a class code for each financial category.

Here’s a video that demonstrates the use of class codes. This short illustration shows both the ShalomCloud posting, and how it’s reflected in QuickBooks Online.

Now available — select which categories to include on periodic statements.

ShalomCloud now has the ability to send statements, for specific categories that you select.

Until now, every statement was all-in. That is, it showed everything owed per family. Thus, you could not produce a statement for religious-school only, or cemetery-only.

Now, you can select one or more categories to appear.

To see a short (3m 7s) video of this feature in action, please follow this link.

Category selection for statements
Category selection for statements

Now available — two changes to improve your financial reporting

We have two unrelated, and relatively minor, enhancements.

First — on the trend report. For those of you unfamiliar with the trend report, it’s a running total across the last six years, of charges and credits per family. You choose which categories you’d like to see on the report. What have we enhanced? The trend report consists of one line per family unit. Formerly, each line started with the family code. Now, you’ll see both the family code and the formal name.

Trend report sample
Trend report snippet

(By the way, all names are fictitious.)

The second enhancement resides in Queries -> Financial Transactions. Here, the very first filtering criterion, Fiscal year, had been limited to one fiscal year only. Most of the time, you can select the data you want by filtering on a range of effective dates. However, there are times when activity might occur before your next fiscal year starts, yet you want to attribute that pledge or payment to the forthcoming fiscal year.

In those cases, you may well want to select a range of fiscal years, instead of entering a range of dates. That is now possible:

financial transaction search criteria

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