What is a unique identifier?

Official response from

A unique identifier (ID) is data that exists in only one profile within a nation. Think of it like a social security number: a particular value can only exist in that field in one record in your database. Unique IDs are used to merge information from imports with existing records in your nation and for deduping records in your nation. All imports must include a unique ID. 

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)

Additionally, voters in your nation may have one or more of the following unique IDs:

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

During an import, all of the above IDs are listed in the signup category. NationBuilder ID is listed as "ID" within the signup category. 

State file ID and county file ID can also be imported. The state file ID will be considered a unique identifier if you also map the registered state field. If you want to use the state file ID to match an import to existing profiles, the people in your database must have a state listed in their registered address. This rule is in place because a nation can include people from multiple states and state file IDs are not unique across the country. 

Similarly, the county file ID will only be considered a unique identifier if you also map the registered county and registered state fields during import. And if you want to use the county file ID to match an import to existing profiles, the people in your database must have a county and a state listed in their registered address. This is because county file IDs are not unique across the country.

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

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.

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. 

People without unique IDs

On rare occasions, you may want to upload a list of people without a unique ID. Perhaps you have a list of people and physical addresses without any other identifying information. Rather than creating a fake ID, you can create a blank column for NationBuilder ID. 

  • 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 category

By following the above steps, the people will be imported into your nation and assigned a NationBuilder ID automatically. Remember - you cannot assign people a NationBuilder ID. It must be done automatically when a profile is created. It is always preferable to import people with a unique ID, rather than tricking the system into assigning one on import. 

If you are having difficulty with an import, please contact your organizer for assistance. 

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