Import and Export

An opinion based on decades of dealing with programs and users (please forgive the virtual yelling):

It’s your data.  Your should be able to extract it into a spreadsheet at any time.

Too often, purveyors of software make you a prisoner of their environment, because your data is locked inside their database.  As a trivial example, I’ve seen this in a lot of to-do apps.   You might have a hundred items in there, and you may wish to extract them for offline analysis.  “No,” say many vendors.

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Announcing — Member Portal, Part II

As of last post, congregants could update their demographic information–name, address, phone, email, birthday, et al.–and could pull statements for any time interval.

Member portal pull statement


Added to that capability, members can enter financial activity directly into the system.

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Have you considered QuickBooks Online?

Apparently many synagogues use QuickBooks for their general ledger, with their chosen synagogue software acting as a subledger feeding into QuickBooks periodically.  While many synagogue leaders understand the benefits of cloud-based synagogue management software, they often cling to desktop-based accounting software.  This is non-optimal.

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Free web hosting for affiliates of URJ

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).

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Free web hosting for affiliates of USCJ

The reader should be aware that the USCJ (United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism) offers free web hosting for its affiliates.  In addition, they make available about half a dozen free WordPress themes.

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What to consider when evaluating software

Whether acquiring software initially to solve an unmet need, or considering replacement for an existing, but inadequate solution, here are several ideas to consider and evaluate:

  • How would conversion to the software happen?  For example, can data be initially loaded via spreadsheet, or must it be entered manually?
  • Can data within the system be easily downloaded into a usable format for analysis within spreadsheet programs?
  • What are the ongoing maintenance costs, considering (a) licensing, (b) hardware, (c) vendor support?
  • To what extent does the software integrate with others that you may be using, such as accounting programs, scheduling applications, email, and text messaging?
  • If the application handles credit cards, is it compliant with PCI (Payment Card Industry) standards?
  • What is involved with adding users?
  • How are upgrades handled?
  • To what extent is the vendor willing and able to enhance the software to better serve your work processes?

Seven reasons to use cloud software

  • Nothing to install on desktop/laptop machines
  • No server software to maintain and, eventually, replace
  • Saves the cost of having a local hardware company maintain and patch your on-premises machine
  • Software upgrades available automatically–no local upgrades required
  • Device independence
  • Frees you from having to perform periodic backups and having data available in case of a contingency event
  • Hardware sizing can grow and shrink according to need