How to avoid 10 common import mistakes

Before importing profile information into a nation, files should be cleaned, verified, and converted to CSVs. Here are the 10 most important things to check in the data files before they are imported:

  1. Use the correct importer based on the type of information you are importing. 
  2. Each set of data needs to be imported is in a separate CSV file.  For example, do two separate imports when importing data from your LinkedIn contacts and data from email contacts. Concatenating the two files together can cause field mapping problems.
  3. Any date on an import must be in the format of MM/DD/YYYY (month then date then four digit year). Make sure that all year values have four digits. (This includes birth dates, registration dates, and join dates.)
  4. Match the field names in your files to the field names available in NationBuilder. This will make it easier to map the fields when you import the files. If applicable, be mindful of the localization standards for voting districts.
  5. Hard returns and quotation marks in the data must be removed before importing files. Both of these characters can cause rows of data to be split unexpected. The unexpected splits will cause both partial records containing only the information before the special character and extra records which contain only the information after the special character.
  6. Any file containing more than one address needs each address mapped correctly.  
  7. Make sure that notes are imported to the right record when importing donations.
    • Notes can be attached to both a person’s background and to each individual donation record.
    • Imported notes on the donor should be mapped to the field “background”, while notes on the donation should be mapped to the field “note”. Remember: mapping to a profile's background note will overwrite any information already in that field and not add to it when "overwrite existing data" is checked. If this option is not checked, the background data will not be updated.
  8. Align abbreviations to NationBuilder’s import standards:
  9. Confirm that the files being imported are UTF-8 standardized.
  10. Properly format email addresses. Email addresses should not contain spaces or special characters. Email addresses should contain an at sign followed by a domain name.

If you’re unclear on how this feature works, please ask a question. If you would like to see changes to this feature, please submit a suggestion.