Jeff Zigman – a student of Rabbi Dov Harrouch and Rabbi Michael Harrosch – is a software designer and project manager in Montreal, and the creator of ComLinker.
About three years ago, Purim rolled around and just like most young Jews with a connection to Judaism, I started thinking: “I want to go to a Purim party. So… where are they?”
So I looked and looked, through Facebook, various Chabad sites, and others through Google searches, and after all my searching, I only found one party. I knew there must have been a bunch of them going on around the city (I’m 29 and I live in Montreal, Canada, by the way), but I could only find one.
This bothered me. I thought “There should be one place where anyone Jewish can go to easily see all of the Jewish events happening around them.” No wonder we’re so disconnected from each other and it’s difficult for people to meet. It must be the engineer in me that kicked in (by the way, I graduated from McGill University, from Electrical Engineering) and said “Wait a second… just because it doesn’t exist yet, it doesn’t mean it can’t; and I’m not about to wait around hoping someone will do it.”
And so ComLinker (“Community Linker”), my website, was born. My goal when designing it was to connect communities (i.e. the Jewish community), so that anyone Jewish could go on it and see all of the Jewish stuff going on around them. Is it a Jewish-only site? No. Much like Facebook, it’s available and usable by anyone. But imagine if Facebook allowed you to “characterize” your group as “Jewish”, or to characterize your events as “Jewish”, whereby anyone Jewish could find them easily and at the push of a button (filtering out all of the non-Jewish ones). I think that as an educator, the goal is not just to educate the Jews that are already close to Judaism, but to help bring back into the fold those that don’t know anything about it, or perhaps don’t even consider themselves Jewish.
So what is ComLinker and why should you care? Bear with me for the next three minutes and I will try to make the lives of every rabbi, every educator, every shaliach, so much easier, by increasing your effectiveness at reaching your communities and helping to bring together the Jewish community as a whole.
Here’s how I’ll explain it:
• What ComLinker is capable of doing
• Examples – How it is being used and how it has been used
• What does this mean for you
WHAT COMLINKER IS CAPABLE OF DOING
Here is a brief overview of what ComLinker will enable you to do (by the way, here’s the basic “How It Works”: http://www.comlinker.
• Set up a “Community” (Group/Organization) Page: Create a Community page that is easily visually customizable, quickly, and with no technical expertise – people can also see a description of the Group/Organization, along with the ability to contact you.
• People can join the Community: You can then easily and at any time, send out mass communication (like a Newsletter or Facebook message) that will reach all community members as a Notification on ComLinker, and in an email.
• Community members can see your list of upcoming events/classes at any time just by going to the page – and they can buy tickets to / reserve for the ones they want to go to.
• Set up and manage events: Within two minutes, you can set up an event, customize it to make it look pretty, and then invite all friends and community members to it.
• You can set up tickets for the event (Adult, Child, Senior | Early-Bird, Late | Donations), such that it can accept payments from people and automatically keep track of who has bought, so that you have an always-up-to-date list of who is coming, at any moment, with no work on your part.
• Add Questionnaires that all ticket buyers will need to answer when buying their tickets, allowing you to collect whatever information you want and get a statistical overview of all attendees (age, gender, Jewish involvement, where they live, where they heard about your event, etc)
• You can do a 1-click spreadsheet export of all attendees, at any time, if you want to check them in at the door (no need to manually compile this) – it will show their names, emails, phone number, and whatever other information you collected from them – actually you can even check people in at the door by using your phone/tablet/laptop as well.
• Instant pre-event (and post-event) mass-communication with everyone that has bought tickets for the event.
EXAMPLES – HOW IT IS BEING USED AND HOW IT HAS BEEN USED
First, here’s a comparison between a site produced by using Chabad.org and one created on ComLinker.
ComLinker Equivalent: http://www.comlinker.com/
Free, clean, 3 minutes to set up, no maintenance or upkeep, no additional costs for access to features and modules, and it is available to everyone and not just Chabad houses.
All “Communities” can then be found in a simple Community Search: http://www.comlinker.com/
Note: Try searching for “Jerusalem Kollel” (a friend of mine at NLE quickly created a Community page, to test it out).
Here are some examples of how Event pages can look.
Here’s a past Shabbat dinner: http://www.comlinker.com/
Here’s a Speed Dating event: http://www.comlinker.
Upcoming High Holidays Registration (try to click on the “Pay Now” and check out the process): http://www.comlinker.com/
Trip to Israel, led by Rabbis Dov Harrouch and Michael Harrosch of NLE: http://www.comlinker.com/
And here’s an event that I used ComLinker to manage the ticket sales for (it involved selling Adult tickets and Child tickets) – you can see the list of attendees here, which gets automatically compiled/updated AS they buy tickets: http://www.comlinker.
All upcoming events can be found in a simple Events search:
Lastly, here is Jewish Experience’s Community page and the list of their past events – you’ll notice events, classes, parties, and trips:
ComLinker is a group-management tool, combined with complete and extensive event-management capabilities, that will prevent you from wasting time and money on tedious things you should not have to deal with.
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
Every one of you can essentially create your own website, for free, within five minutes, while making it look like you want, disseminating information and updates to all community members, while managing all of your events, and at the same time…
This requires no time or money investment from you or NLE; it’s immediately available to you; it requires no ongoing site maintenance by you, or by NLE, and all future feature developments that we make will be yours automatically and at no cost. (Imagine how much time, resources, and money it would cost to create yourself a website with these capabilities on your own).
Oh, and to top it off, in an effort to help out the Jewish community, for any Jewish organization that uses it between now and December 31st, 2013, we’ll be donating 50% of what we make from any paid event you organize back to your organization/group.
If you have any questions or you want to know more, I look forward to hearing from you and you can reach me at jeffz at comlinker dot com.