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.

Two New Features for Yahrzeit Emails

Announcing two new features for yahrzeit emails.

First — until now, the recipient of the reminders saw only the email address of the sender. So, for example, if you logged in as admin@yourtemple.org, that’s all the recipient saw. Now, the name associated with that user will appear, alongside the email. Thus, for example, assuming that Adam Adams is the administrator, the email will come from Adam Adams <admin@yourtemple.org>.

Second change — until now, the subject of those yahrzeit emails was always the single word Yahrzeits. If you’re content with that, you need do nothing. If, however, you want something more descriptive as your subject line, you can go to Home => Declare synagogue options. Scroll near the bottom, where you’ll find a field labeled Subject for yahrzeit reminders. Whatever you enter there (after touching the submit button), becomes the subject line for emailed yahrzeit reminders.

To see a brief video demonstrating the above, feel free to access this link.

The directory and the portal — respecting privacy

If any of your folks have expressed a desire to NOT appear in your ShalomCloud membership directory — – or, if they wish to not appear in the member portal search — here is how you’d fulfill that wish.

First, create a family attribute, specifically with the abbreviation _EXCL. That’s uppercase EXCL, preceded by an underscore.

Then, you’d proceed to tag the privacy-oriented families, using Maintenance -> Assign Family Attr.

Once so tagged, when you produce a directory (Queries -> Produce Directory), that entire household does not appear.

Also, in the member search section of the logged-in member portal, people in the excluded families do not appear.

Video illustration.

Credit balances now on statements

We call it, officially, “credit on file.” Sometimes referred to as pre-payments. These are funds sent in ahead of time, to be used in the future, as specified by your congregants.

We at ShalomCloud had conceived the periodic (monthly, quarterly, annually) statements as something geared to commitments, and then payments toward those commitments. However, as time bore on, we’ve received feedback that, in those cases where your folks send in money ahead of time, those funds should appear on the statements.

You’ve suggested; we’ve acted accordingly. Now, those credits appear on the statements, listed after the commitments (a.k.a. dues or pledges).

One rule-of-thumb to be aware of — once a credit balance gets drawn down to zero, it

  • Does not appear if its effective date precedes the statement period.
  • Conversely, does appear if its effective date falls during the statement period.

Here’s the video illustration of the above textual description.

One more thing — we’ve guessed that the vast majority of our readership will prefer this addition to the statements. If you do not wish those credits to appear on statements,

  • After signing into ShalomCloud, go to Home -> Declare synagogue options.
  • Find the selection “Statements show credits on file.”
  • Select the radio button Exclude credits-on-file on statements.
  • Submit

An additional way to see Yahrzeits

This is purely an incremental change, and one of modest scope. Nonetheless, it’s something that a few of our customers and prospects have suggested.

Let’s say that you want to see the Yahrzeits related to a person or a family. Heretofore, there were basically two way:

Way I: Go to Queries -> Yahrzeits. Enter any part of the member’s last name, and optionally any part of the member’s first name. Check a few boxes in the list of fields to appear, and search. You’ll see a screen with all the Yahrzeits observed by the member whose name you entered, alongside with other observers of those Yahrzeits.

Way II: Go to Maintenance -> Yahrzeit Relationships. In the search box toward the left side of the screen, enter the last name of the member in question. ShalomCloud displays the corresponding Yahrzeits. Take note that the link to the far left on the Yahrzeit name, jumps into maintenance on the deceased. And that the link on the right jumps into maintenance on the relationship. For example, from there you could change the notification to N (no notification).

And now, we have Way III:

Go to Maintenance -> Add /Update Families. Enter a portion of the family code. Then, use the Edit link on the right to drill into the details for that family. First you’ll see the household information; after that, the individual members of that household. Immediately below the last member of the household, you’ll see the new section, showing all the Yahrzeits for any member of the household. That, too, has a link that allows you to jump into editing any one of those Yahrzeits.

This accompanying video runs through all three techniques.

New warning on duplicate form responses

With the ShalomCloud form builder, you can declare certain questions as auto-bill. This means that, depending on what the user selects, ShalomCloud creates an amount owed. Example — membership type, like this:

  • Family membership $2000
  • Single membership $1000
  • Senior couple $1200

What has been happening on occasion, is that either both adults in a household respond to the form — or the same person responds a second time. The result would be double-billing. Two family memberships, in the above example, for a total of $4000.

Now, with this safety check, when someone accesses a form, the system checks whether anybody in the household has already submitted the form. The system provides the name of that person, and the date of the previous form submission.

One caveat — this is just a warning. That is, it does allow the 2nd person to continue with the form. Why? At this juncture, we are leery of stopping those cases where, perhaps, someone didn’t fill out the form completely, and just wants a do-over. Depending on how this plays out, we can consider preventing the subsequent submission.

Also — we have not yet applied this logic to school registrations. Most assuredly, it needs to be there, but we opted to put this portion of the enhancement into production.

Here’s an end-to-end run-through of the first, then the duplicate, form submission.

Two Small Enhancements — Plaque Location on the Bimah list…

and a summarized version of the Deposit Assistant.

We have two small, unrelated enhancements to show you.

Enhancement One: This relates to the combination Bimah list. The combination Bimah list, for those of you not familiar with it, combines onto one list, the Yahrzeits observed by Hebrew date, along with those observed by Gregorian date.

The combo Bimah list contains a growing numbers of options. Prior to now, those options were

  • Group by month, or group by day.
  • Whether or not to show the relationships on the list (e.g. father of, mother of).
  • To include all Yahrzeits with plaques, whether or not there was an observer.
  • Whether to specifically exclude relationships with a notification flag of “N” (meaning do not notify).

Now, we have one additional checkbox. If you’d like to show the plaque locations on the Bimah list, there is a corresponding selection.

For our second small enhancement, we turn to the Deposit Assistant. Here, as before, you can select recent incoming funds, either by Deposit ID, or by date range. Until now, the report always showed the detailed line items, grouped by category, within the source — cash, check card, ACH, etc.

Now, you’ll see an additional radio button — to produce the report in summary, with only headings and totals.

Here’s a video that runs through these two features.

Your entry did not go to QuickBooks Online — now what?

Announcing the ability to post activity to QuickBooks Online retroactively.

First of all — this article does not pertain to those who use our QuickBooks Desktop integration. Because that is, by its nature, run in batch, after the transactions post to ShalomCloud.

When would you want to use this capability? Not often, hopefully. However, let’s say you’ve set up a new financial category in ShalomCloud, and haven’t mapped it to the corresponding chart of accounts entries in QuickBooks. And, then, some items post — could be via the administrative screens, or via any of the online portals. If that happens, you’ll receive an email, saying something like, “No mapping for credits on category <name of the category>.

Given that the integration from ShalomCloud to QuickBooks Online occurs within seconds, how can you correct that missing entry? In the past, you could post the entries manually; or we in ShalomCloud support could handle it, also manually.

Aha! Now, you can go into the familiar Queries -> Financial transactions. Enter whatever criteria will include the items(s) in question. Check the box on the far right, and touch the orange button at the bottom, Send checked to QBOL. That’s it.

You can see the above scenario in action by viewing this video.

Retroactive posting to QuickBooks Online

Easily Track High Holiday Honors

We’ve expanded on the already-available, but not widely publicized, ability for ShalomCloud to manage the process of assigning honors. This pertains primarily to the High Holidays, but could be used for any set of honors.

There a detailed tutorial available, which may serve better than this text description. Nonetheless, here goes. With this feature, you can

  • Nominate people to carry out various honors.
  • Track the status — accepted in person, accepted virtually, declined — whatever terminology you’re accustomed to using.
  • When assigning honors, ask for a specific last name, or by anyone who has not already been assigned an honor.
  • Obtain a spreadsheet, with contact information, of who has not received an honor.

And on the query side,

  • Obtain a list of honors for which there is no assigned person.
  • Ask for those who have been offered an honor, but who have not yet responded.
  • From that list, send formatted emails, with the specifics about the respective honor.
  • Obtain a list of those who have accepted an honor, and email a formatted reminder, replete with details about the honor.