Performing an Import
Log into your organization's VolunteerMatters Administrative Site
Click on 'Setup', then 'Import'.
Click 'New Import'.
Select Import Type
Core Contact Import – Import lists of new contact records with certain core contact information including contact ID, names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, birth date, contact-since date, status, photo, and any custom fields you have configured in the contact database.
Contact Status History Import – Import status history change records that include the date of the change, the status the contact changed/will change to, and any notes associated with the change.
Contact Custom Field Import** - Import new or updated custom field values for preexisting custom fields created in your database.
Contact Placement History Import – Import placement history records for your contacts. Each placement requires a new entry (row) in the import file.
Contact Fulfillments Import – Import a list of fulfillments to requirements for individual contacts. You can identify the date a requirement was fulfilled, by how many points, and any associated notes.
Contact Interaction History Import – Import interaction history records for your contacts. This can include one or more interaction types (communication, attendance, giving, and volunteer)
Committee Seat Setup Import – Import your organizational structure with a listing of all of your committees and seats
Contact Update Import** - Import updated contact information including contact ID, names, addresses, telephone numbers, emails, birth date, contact-since date, status, photo, and any custom fields you have configured in the contact database.
**While both the "contact update import" and "custom field import" can update custom fields within your contact database, the main difference is, with the "contact update import", if someone already has data in custom field and your import contains their contactID and the cell is empty in the spreadsheet it will not update their custom field from what it was to make it blank. With the "custom field import" if a cell is empty it will remove the value in the custom field.
Insert any related notes with the import (These notes are viewable while you create, edit and verify the import to help identify the purpose for this import).
Select a File Delimiter (Our Closerware import utilities recognize coma and tab delimited text files. A delimited text file is a type of data format in which each piece of data is separated by a comma or a tab. This is a popular format for transferring data from one application to another, because most database systems are able to import and export comma and tab-delimited data. Additionally, you may save Excel spreadsheets in either format. For more information on import file formats, please see “Import File Formats” later in this document).
Select a local file to be imported (When you click the browse button you can select, from your local machine, the coma or tab-delimited file that is to be imported. Once you have properly made your selection the local path to that field should be inserted into the ‘Import File’ field (e.g., C:\Documents\Settings\Station1\Desktop\members.csv)
In a later step the system will “Verify” (perform a number of tests) the import file to make sure its format or content does not causes errors on import. For example, the system checks for missing required fields, date formatting, inappropriate spaces in fields, duplicate Contact IDs, and empty rows. The system will report back errors it found during the Verify process and will only allow you to perform the import after all errors in the file have been cleared. This will most likely mean that you will have to ‘Edit’ the import job to re-upload the import file once you have made corrections.
At the time you "Save", the system will upload the file and prompt you to match the column headings in your upload file with the appropriate fields in our system. If the ‘Import File Field’ fields are very wide and contain all of the column headings it either means that you previously selected the wrong ‘File Delimiter’ or there is a problem with the import file itself. You may change the ‘File Delimiter’ and click ‘Save’ to see if it fixes the problem (You may have to scroll left to right to see the ‘Save’ button)
Map VolunteerMatters fields to import file column headings
The system will list every VolunteerMatters field allowed for this import in the left column titled ‘Field’. You must match that field to the correct column heading from your import file in the right column labeled ‘Import File Field’. If the ‘Import File Field’ fields are very wide and contain all of the column headings it either means that you previously selected the wrong ‘File Delimiter’ or there is a problem with the import file itself. You may change the ‘File Delimiter’ and click ‘Save’ to see if it fixes the problem. You may have to scroll left to right to see the ‘Save’ button.
Those fields with a green asterisk are required for the import. This means that every row in your import file must contain a properly formatted value for this field. If your import file does not contain a column heading for a required field, you must adjust your import file and re-upload it to the import job.
Once you have properly mapped all VolunteerMatters fields with import file fields, click ‘Save and Return’. This will return you to the listing of all import jobs that have yet to be processed.
When viewing the listing of import jobs, the top of the page will list all import jobs of type “New”, “Verified”, and “Not Verified”.
- “New” import jobs are those jobs that were created, but no attempt had yet been made to verify the import.
- “Verified” import jobs are those that have been created, tested, and are ready for import.
- “Not Verified” import jobs are those that had previously failed a “Verify” process.
From this listing you may:
- View () the import job details
- Edit () the import job to change the notes, file delimiter, upload a new import file, or update the mapping between VolunteerMatters fields and the import file fields
- Verify () the import job
- Process () the import
- Delete () the import job
Verify the import
After an import job has been created and the field mappings have been set, you can click the “Verify” icon () to test the import.
Closerware’s import utilities will test the file in several different areas to reduce the possibility of an import error and assure the quality of the data. The system performs the following checks prior to import:
- Checks for required mappings. All columns in the import file do not have to be mapped to VolunteerMatters fields. However, a mapping must exist for all required VolunteerMatters fields.
- Checks for any field values that may require unique values. For example, when importing a list of new contact records this will validate that the import file does not contain duplicate Contact IDs.
- Validates restricted field values. Validates any fields that have restrictions on data entered to predetermined values defined in VolunteerMatters . For example, on a fulfillment import there are predetermined fulfillment types defined in the system (Attendance, Volunteer Shift, Dues, Purchase, Donation, Buy-Out, Fine Payment, and Excused). The import file must have these field values exactly as they are stored in the system.
- Checks for required fields. Checks to make sure that all records in the import file have a value defined for all required fields. For example, Contact IDs are required when importing new contact records. The system will verify that every contact record has a valid entry for this field.
- Verifies data formats. For example if a field is for a date it will verify that the date format is proper (mm/dd/yyyy). Examples of other specialized data formats include time, true/false, whole number, year, currency and decimal number. For more information on working with date fields in excel click here.
Process the Import
After an import job has been created, the filed mappings have been set, and the import has been verified, you can click the “Import” icon () to process the import. The import's listing will move from the top of the page (“Imports”) to the listing of previously “Submitted Imports” a bit lower on the page. Closerware's import utility will re-run the “Verify” tests described above and perform two additional test on all records as the import is being processed. The additional tests include:
- Checks for unique Contact ID values against existing records in the VolunteerMatters database. For “Core Contact Data Imports”, the “Verify” process checks that Contact IDs are unique within the import file. The import process takes that one step further to make sure that the new records being imported do not have Contact IDs that already exist in the VolunteerMatters database. The utility will not import records where the Contact ID is equal to an existing record’s ID and will record an error for that line (row) of the import file in the import job’s notes.
- Checks to make sure that Contact ID exists for any imports that amend an existing contact record. For example, if you are importing donation history records for a set of contacts, the system will verify that the Contact IDs in the import file match an existing record in the VolunteerMatters database. The utility will not import records where the Contact ID does not equal an existing contact record and record an error for that line (row) of the import file in the import job’s notes.
The system will continue to import records until the import reaches 10 errors. At that time the import will stop and all errors will be reported under the job’s notes. The following example error is for a core contact import where the second record in the import file had a Contact ID that equaled a record that already existed in the VolunteerMatters database:
Import Member FAILED Duplicate Contact (or Membership) ID 369289 on line 2
Each error will list which line (row) in the import file failed so that you can reconcile this with your import file. If an import had fewer than 10 errors, you can assume that all records were imported successfully with the exception of those that had errors. If the import stopped because it had reached 10 errors, the last error entry will tell you on which line (row) the import stopped. You may assume that all rows that preceded that number (with the exception of the ones that had errors) imported successfully. You may need to adjust your import file to remove any already imported information so duplicates are not created but this will depend on the type of import.
Templates are available to download below. To obtain a Contact Update Import or Custom Field Import template it is recommended to run the Contact Listing report or a Contact List view with the columns included for those you wish to update. Click here for more information.