Bad data can be caused by any of a number of issues, ranging from problems with the source data to problems with how Excel has handled your data to problems within the data itself. Here are a few tips to help make sure your data is imported correctly:
Excel has a habit of automatically changing values in fields based on format. This can happen if you have a numerical field that will contain data that starts with zeroes. (This includes zip codes and identification numbers.) This can also happen if your dates are formatted as numbers instead of as dates.
When importing dates, make sure the years are formatted as 4 digits instead of 2 digits. It will save correction time later on.
If your imported data has large blocks of text in it such as contact notes, make sure that the notes and the addresses don’t have multiple paragraphs of text in them. If any of the records do have multiple paragraphs, merge the text into a single paragraph before you import it.
A suggestion: When text like this is imported into NationBuilder, it can give import errors as any of a number of different types. The most common error indicates that a record is missing a quote mark (Malformed CSV - Illegal quoting in line 1)
When you import data and get errors that you just can’t figure out, try this hint:
- Open your CSV file in a text editor
- Select the whole file and copy it
- Open a new text file
- Paste the CSV data into the new file
- Save the new file
- Import your new CSV file
This quick process will clear out any hidden characters embedded in the text as well as any characters that the importer just doesn’t understand.