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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  • commented 2015-04-13 22:42:34 -0700 · Flag
    Nura – Are you still having trouble with your import? It sounds like maybe a few of your fields were missing a valid status or had some extra data in that field. If you’re still having trouble, feel free to shoot your info over to us at help@nationbuilder.com!
  • tagged this with Helpful 2015-03-23 06:42:46 -0700
  • followed this page 2015-03-23 06:42:42 -0700
  • commented 2015-02-18 22:45:24 -0800 · Flag
    Hi there,

    I fixed the unique identifier error using the steps above, but now it’s coming up with this message instead -

    There were errors on some mapped fields:
    Status must be either ‘active’, ‘grace period’, ‘expired’, or ‘canceled’

  • commented 2015-02-08 12:10:13 -0800 · Flag
    Thanks C.J.!
  • commented 2015-02-06 11:46:47 -0800 · Flag
    Tim, I’ve asked your organizer to reach out to you regarding the error you’re seeing. I’m not sure if you mapped a blank field to the signup ID or if you were trying to update records by importing people with their NationBuilder ID.
  • commented 2015-02-06 11:44:45 -0800 · Flag
    While couples may share an email address, it can only be associated with one profile in your nation. The best option is to attach it to one person’s profile and make sure to add a relationship between the two people who share the address. See: http://nationbuilder.com/how_to_keep_track_of_relationships House-holding will allow you to send physical mail to both people. See: http://nationbuilder.com/how_to_use_householding
  • commented 2015-02-05 09:20:51 -0800 · Flag
    I did what was suggested but received this error using the signup ID, There were errors on some mapped fields: id is not an integer number
  • commented 2015-01-29 13:54:05 -0800 · Flag
    What is the solution for people that live together and share an address, phone number and email address?
  • 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