What does "Overwrite non-blank fields with these values" really mean?

I'm doing an import and want to change existing information with things like phone number and address changes. But I want all my tags to remain and to also add new ones. Should I check "overwrite non-blank fields with these values" with my import?

Official response from

"Overwrite non-blank fields with these values" tells the importer that the data in the file is more current than the data currently in the nation. In most cases, this is exactly what the update should do. New addresses or phone numbers should overwrite the existing data.

The exception to this is the tag list field in the people importer. Any tags added to a profile via the people importer will be appended to a person's profile. Importing tags via the people importer will never overwrite existing tags. You can map multiple fields to "tag list" and you can import multiple tags at once by comma separating them. Importing a tag list in the donation importer will overwrite all the tags on that person's record with the imported tags.

If a tag goes on all the records being imported, don't include the tag in your CSV. Instead, add the tag to the people using the "Add tags to each person" field in the bottom half of the import screen. Tags in this list are automatically added to all records touched during the import.

"Overwrite non-blank fields" only refers to signup values, i.e. fields connected directly to a person's profile. With the donor and membership addons, certain fields will always be updated via import. During a donation import, the donation record imported will always overwrite existing donation information if you map the import to the donation's NationBuilder ID. Similarly, a person can have multiple membership types, but only one membership per type. Therefore, membership imports always update the membership information associated with a person. You can still choose whether signup fields overwrite non-blank fields during these imports. 

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  • tagged this with Helpful 2014-04-29 10:22:58 -0700
  • tagged this with Helpful 2014-04-24 11:36:40 -0700
  • tagged this with Not helpful 2013-11-07 12:38:29 -0800
  • commented 2013-09-10 09:45:07 -0700 · Flag
    To prevent data loss, tags are not overwritten in the import process, only appended. If you need to remove tags from your database, you can do so in the People > Tags menu in the control panel.
  • commented 2013-07-07 00:09:06 -0700 · Flag
    So am I to understand that the field “tag_list” will overwrite existing tag lists with the new value, but, that tags assigned using the field map screen will be appended to the existing tag list of the NB records without deleting the tags that already exist. Are these two scenarios correct?
  • commented 2013-04-21 22:20:52 -0700 · Flag
    Excellent, thanks
  • commented 2013-03-14 15:18:38 -0700 · Flag
    One word: hallelujah.