What is a unique identifier?

Official response from

Unique identifiers (IDs) are profile fields that may not occur in more than one profile within a nation. Unique IDs are used to merge information from imports with records already existing in the nation and for deduping records in your nation.

A person's profile in NationBuilder has several options for unique IDs:

  • email address
  • Facebook UID (numerical ID from Facebook)
  • Facebook username
  • Twitter ID (numerical ID from Twitter)
  • Twitter login
  • Meetup ID
  • CiviCRM ID
  • Salesforce ID
  • External ID
  • NationBuilder ID (also known as signup ID)

The best unique ID on an import is an email address. If you do not have an email address for a specific person, you may use one or more of the other unique IDs. However, the other unique IDs must have a first name and last name mapped during the import in order for the signup record to be imported into the nation. During an import, all of the above IDs are listed in the Signup section. 

Once the import has finished newly imported people in the nation will have a NationBuilder ID assigned to them.

There will be times when there isn't anything the importer recognizes as unique on import. In this case, you can create a unique ID for each record. 

  • Open the CSV file in Excel
  • Insert a new column to the left of the existing columns
  • Name that column "signup ID"
  • Leave the rest of the column blank
  • Save the CSV file
  • Import your file mapping the new column to the "ID" field within the Signup heading

If an attempt is made to import a person whose unique ID(s) already exist in the nation, NationBuilder will update the existing profile with the information from the import file instead of creating a new profile.

Voter Imports

Voters in your nation may have one or more of these unique IDs:

  • state file ID
  • PF Strat ID (also known as PoliticalFORCE ID)
  • DW_ID (also known as Catalist ID)
  • VAN ID
  • NGP ContactID
  • RNC ID
  • RNC Registration ID

You may also use county file ID, but only if you also map state and county. If you want to use county file ID to match an import to existing profiles, the people in your database must have state and county in their registered addresses. This is because county file IDs are not guaranteed to be unique without these two other fields. 

Donation Imports

Donations have their own unique ID (donation_nationbuilder_id) along with one of the unique IDs listed above so NationBuilder knows who the donation belongs to. Donation imports connect the donor to the donation via the same fields used for a one time import. When you are uploading a donation import, to map the unique donation ID, select "ID" from within the donation category. Map the NationBuilder ID to "ID" from within the signup category. 


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  • commented 2014-10-26 08:42:04 -0700 · Flag
    How can I change an ID?
  • commented 2014-02-20 14:55:22 -0800 · Flag
    Michael – you can map it to signup ID. Make sure you’re mapping to the ID listed under the word “Signup” rather than other IDs.
  • commented 2014-02-12 16:26:01 -0800 · Flag
    I am trying to import a donor list. I created the NationBuilder_ID column in the csv file, however there is no NationBuilder_ID choice to map to.
  • tagged this with Not helpful 2014-02-12 16:24:04 -0800
  • tagged this with Important 2013-03-01 10:33:04 -0800