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Congregation Connect School Module is #StruckByLightning

LIGHTNING EXPERIENCE Since August 25, 2015, the Salesforce ecosystem has been buzzing with excitement over the Lightning Experience, a revolutionary update to Salesforce as we know it. Lightning, or LEX as it is often called, is more than just a visual change. It will change the future of Salesforce and how we all use it. The Lightning framework allows a user to create custom pages and layouts, using standard and custom components, while greatly enhancing the user experience and interface. Lightning has become famous for its drag and drop Opportunity Board, customizable Home Page, redesigned List Views, enhanced Dashboard layouts and assistant led record pages. Other features native to LEX are the sleek and more responsive interface, improved Lookup fields that auto-search records as you type, and an enhanced date picker field. In January 2017, Congregation Connect shared that switching to Lightning was on the roadmap. Attendees at the NATA/NASA conference were shown a high-level demonstration of what LEX would look like down the road. We are excited to announce that the School Module is fully Lightning ready. Over the summer, all Congregation Connect instances will be introduced to some Lightning properties in the School Module. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU? For this release, Congregation Connect users do not need to take any specific actions to utilize the Lightning features. The release is built directly into the Classic experience and will be accessible once our next release is generally available. Users will have the same functionality they have had until now, with an upgraded interface. The School Module contains 5 features that have been upgraded to LEX: Schedule Meetings Button: Users will continue accessing...

School Registration Doesn’t Have to be Hard!

Does your synagogue have a Hebrew Day/Religious School program? Do you wish that you could better manage your students and enrollments? With the Congregation Connect School Module, having a 360° view of your school has never been so easy. Our School Module takes the hard work out of classroom management and provides a streamlined process to record your data. Let’s start with the students, otherwise known as Contacts. Use the Contact record to store pertinent and personal information for each student. Customized fields to store medical information and emergency contacts are already included within the module. The Household Account record will also provide further insights into the student, such as parent names and with their contact information. The Class object is used for each course offered within your school. For example, you may have a separate Class for each grade up until 4th grade. The 5th and 6th grade classes may have a beginner and advanced track so you would be able create separate class records for each. Meetings represent the actual sessions that each class has. The 2nd grade may meet weekly on Wednesday at 4:00 pm. The 6th grade advanced class may meet weekly, on Mondays & Thursdays at 6:00 pm. You can use the Schedule Meetings tool to quickly create all the meeting records by selecting the date parameters for these meetings. To enroll students in a class, simply create an enrollment record, linking a Contact to a Class. You can indicate their enrollment date and drop-out information, as needed. As you enroll students, the number of Enrolled Students on the Class record will update with the current total. On Thursday,...

10 Reasons Synagogues Are Using Congregation Connect

Congregation Connect is a managed application on the Salesforce platform for synagogues to manage their members. Below, we have compiled a list of the top 10 reasons Synagogues are using Congregation Connect. 1. It’s in the cloud. Congregation Connect is completely based online and can be accessed anywhere, at any time –  as long as you have internet access! You are no longer limited to servers or your office computer. Easily connecting with your congregation, and having a dynamic, up-to-date view of your organization has never been easier. Our scheduled releases are automatically pushed into the system, without requiring you to download or install anything. 2. It’s mobile! Yes, more than being cloud-based, Congregation Connect is easily accessible from your mobile phone or tablet. With a simple navigation menu and intuitive functionality, you can have a 360 degree view of your synagogue at any given moment. A few screen clicks is all it takes to record a visit with a congregant, update contact information, or create an internal follow-up task. These are just some use cases of what can be done with Salesforce1 – the mobile app. 3. It’s for synagogues. Congregation Connect was designed to suit the religious needs of synagogues. With 3 complete synagogue modules (Financials, Membership, School) we have all the components you need to manage your organization. Some of our most popular features includes Yahrzeit tracking, Torah readings (Aliyot), automatic Hebrew date conversions, and Religious/Hebrew School enrollment. 4. It’s functional. Being a synagogue administrator can be a rather complex position with multiple duties and various details and task to track. Congregation Connect offers an abundance of functions to cover all your...

Congregation Connect Signs 17 New Synagogues and Goes Live with Temple Israel in Boston

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. Asheville, NC, April 19, 2016 – Congregation Connect (www.congregationconnect.com), a Salesforce AppExchange application developed by Cloud for Good, helps faith based organizations manage their congregations. It leverages the Salesforce platform to manage all of their constituent data. The application helps strengthen relationships and better engage with members, raise more funds, and communicate more effectively, while delivering better programs and services. It’s based on a unified data model that offers a 360-degree view of a community. Congregation Connect provides a robust account receivable sub-ledger, Hebrew calendar integration, event management and powerful reporting capabilities. It is built for the social and mobile era, so faith based organizations can reach their constituents wherever they may be located. The UK Federation of Synagogues recently selected to move forward with implementing Congregation Connect for their 17 affiliated synagogues. “After looking into a range of synagogue membership systems it quickly became clear to us that Congregation Connect is the one package that can meet all of our needs in terms of recording membership and accounting data for our synagogues. We are very excited to roll out Congregation Connect to all our member synagogues; it will ensure that our organization runs as efficiently as possible and enable us to build up a full picture of our core membership that we have not been able to do in the past,” stated Judy Silkoff, Communications and Project Manager, UK Federation of Synagogues. Additionally, Temple Israel Boston, has gone live with Congregation Connect and the Salesforce platform. “We recently went live with Congregation Connect and it has already made a huge impact...

Winter 16′ Release Highlights

On January 28, 2016, Congregation Connect was upgraded to Version 3.2X to better serve your congregation, your mission, and you! This release includes many great enhancements, bug fixes and feature requests. If you have not yet reviewed the release notes, you definitely need to check them out. Additionally, this Release also includes a training video to guide you in this upgrade. Below are some of the top new features we are excited to share with you: – Increased flexibility in defining the household Contact 1 and Contact 1. Use the “Contact Type” field on the Contact record to define a contact’s status within the household. – New Visualforce component to display the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Torah Portion. This allows your Contact record page to function as a regular Salesforce page, display custom fields and layouts, and calculate the appropriate Torah portion. – Meeting Attendee “Date” field auto-populates according to the date entered on the corresponding Meeting record. This saves time on data entry, while ensuring the accuracy of your records. – Loose Transactions are placed in daily Batches, according to their input interface. At the end of the day, Batches are closed and can be marked to export. – Many additional options for exporting financial information with the Transaction Exporter have been added. You can choose the fields to include in the export, multiple summary options and even filter on GL Batch dates. – Some of our great portal enhancements include a new domain name, managing credit cards directly from the portal, the ability to print tax letters by month or year,  options to display the Shabbat and Jewish calendar, more field columns available in the “My Finances” page...

Special Offer for New Customers

12 MONTHS OF FREE LICENSES If you sign up for Congregation Connect before January 15, 2016, we will waive your user fees until January 2017!* Congregation Connect helps you manage your synagogue, using the Salesforce platform. It offers a 360 degree view of your entire community, providing real-time data and robust reporting capabilities. Did we mention it’s built for the social and mobile era, so you can reach your constituents wherever they are located? Additionally, Congregation Connect Provides: Full Account Receivables Integration with Accounting Member Portal Online Event Management Cemetery Management Yartzeit and Aliyot Tracking Clergy Services Built-in Fundraising School Management Outlook and Google Integration Workflow Automation Mobile  Application   What are you waiting for? Submit the form below and get started today!   *This offer applies to new customers who subscribe Gold Level Congregation Connect licenses. It does not include Apsona, member portal, Quickbooks integration or online forms.  Implementation fees still apply.  Implementation start dates will be assigned on a first signed, first served basis, dependent upon consultant...

Keeping it Clean: The Data Import Basics

Data is a four letter word, but it doesn’t have to be a dirty one. Clean and complete data means trustworthy data, and trustworthy data is what will ensure user adoption at your organization. Importing and maintaining clean data can feel like a daunting chore, especially when you’re just getting up and running in Salesforce, but there are a number of tools to lighten your load. These range from the basic import wizards and merge tools that are built into Salesforce, to a number of more powerful applications. And the really good news is, all of it, even the third-party programs, are free to Nonprofits, so there’s no added cost to making sure you avoid the heavy price of dirty data. Best Practices: Start by Improving the quality of your data files Whether you need to load data records into Salesforce for the first time, or you want to improve the quality of the data that’s already in your system, or you need to augment that data with new information, there are some best practices you should follow before running any imports. No tool will perform its functions well if the file you’re importing with it contains sloppy or incomplete data. Your first step should always be to do some basic level of cleanup on the data files you plan to import. This can include: Put First Names and Last Names in separate fields. Unless your constituents are pop singers and Brazilian soccer players, they probably have at least two names, and you should load them that way. Last Name should be 100% populated. Keep the data in your...

Preparing Data for Import: Sticking Stuff Together

There are times, in the life of a database administrator, when you just have to go back to good ol’ Excel. We use it for taking data apart, for finding duplicates and flagging them, for sorting up and down to find anomalies and errors. We use it to replace whole columns of one number with another. Francis Scudellari from the Cloud for Good team started this discussion with this excellent post, Keeping it Clean: The Data Import Basics. Check that out to get started thinking about your data importing. One of the most common uses, however is for putting cells TOGETHER. Usually this happens when I have a FirstName column and a LastName column and we need a Full Name column also. Sometimes we need to put one line of the address together with the second line. Excel calls this function “concatenation,” but I always think of it as “sticking things together.” Let’s see just how easy this is. We start with a name issue. Here we have a list of names. Some are husbands and wives, but for the first example, all we want to do is get full names for everybody. Say I’m addressing envelopes for an invitation and I want to invite each individual. I’ve exported my contacts pages, and I’m looking at split names. I need to find a way to get them all into one cell. Click the formula button above your table. It looks like fx. Notice that I’ve already created the “destination” column. Your concatenation needs someplace to go! Insert function comes up and CONCATENATE is at the top of the list!...

Preparing Data for Import: Separating Couples’ Names

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. As Francis wrote a few weeks ago, it’s important to import clean data into your Salesforce system. Gaining & keeping users’ trust is especially critical at the beginning of a project. When we work on a QuickStart project, the client is always tasked with preparing their data in a spreadsheet file with all the columns named and set-up. Even if you’re paying a consultant to manage your data import, you can save money by making sure you’re giving them the best data possible for import. And consultants won’t be able to catch anomalies in your data the way someone who’s more familiar with it can. Whether you’re migrating from another database, or finally moving away from multiple spreadsheets to manage your data, there are a few principles you want to keep in mind, and some tools you can use in Excel or another spreadsheet program to achieve them. SEPARATING COUPLES’ NAMES Many organizations have data where both members of the couple are listed in one field. If your data has a separate Last Name column, and you have a single column in which couples’ names are together, you’ll want to separate them (unlike Trish’s post from last week about sticking them together). You’ll have a lot more flexibility going forward with Salesforce if we use the 1 Contact = 1 Person concept consistently. What you can do for data import, that will make your data preparation much easier, is to just separate the column with the two first names together into two columns: If there is a mix of “Chris &...

Change Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -” ― Heraclitus Change can be hard. So hard, in fact, that there are whole sections of bookstores dedicated to managing change.  When we work with clients to implement Salesforce, there is often a system we’re replacing.  Clients are used to that old system.  We sometimes hear, “But we’ve always done it this way!” So how can you make sure that this change to a new system (Salesforce) sticks?  Here are some tips: Have an executive sponsor for the project. An executive sponsor should provide clear vision as to the reasons for the change, and should be involved in the process. The executive sponsor should embrace the new processes and should work to incorporate the new toolset into their management toolkit. This could include new reports, new workflows, or new ways of gathering information. Organizations don’t change, individuals change. Just because it is software that is being implemented doesn’t mean that the people don’t have to change.  Often, it is the staff member who creates the mailings, reports or call lists, whose job is about to be automated.  That’s not a bad thing as it frees them up to do other mission critical tasks, but it can be scary.  Acknowledge that fear. The ADKAR model (http://www.change-management.com/adkar-book.htm) says that in order to be successful with change individuals have to have the following 5 characteristics: Awareness – I know why the change is needed. Desire – I’ve made the personal decision to participate and support the change. Knowledge – I know how to...