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How to prep your data for import
How to prep your data for import

Learn some tips and tricks to get your data ready to import.

Claudia Segura avatar
Written by Claudia Segura
Updated over a week ago

We want you to feel confident getting your data ready for import! Below are some Google Sheets features with some tips and tricks that may help you through this process.

Please note, we will do our best to answer any Google Sheets questions you might have, but may recommend reaching out to their support directly if it is beyond our general knowledge.

Finding duplicates 👯‍♀️

Duplicates are a common occurrence in large data sets, but they can be managed!

Givebutter will automatically merge duplicates together that have the same first and last names and either the same email address or phone number. If you have donor records that have the same email address and/or phone number but different names, they will be flagged as potential duplicates by the system for you to merge or ignore.

Before importing, you can help remove duplicates by using Google Sheets' built-in data clean up feature, that will detect duplicates for you. If the system is having trouble detecting all duplicates in your column or sheet, you can also try using Conditional Formatting and a formula called, ‘COUNTIF’. This will highlight all of the duplicates within one column for you so you can navigate your sheet more easily while cleaning.

If you are exporting data from multiple sources, this is a great video walkthrough of how to locate duplicates between two sheets.

Splitting up data 🍌

Perhaps your previous platform exported a Full Name column rather than the First and Last Names separately, don’t worry! Google Sheets has a built-in feature that allows you to easily split this data.

Split text to columns is a great way to automatically split up information into two or more cells. You can also choose which character should be used as ‘the separator’, for example, a space or a certain number or letter.

split data columns
merge data columns

Merging data 🤝

If you have data within your sheet that needs to be merged with another column, you can use the JOIN formula for this. When you add this formula to a new, empty column, it will easily add together information from multiple columns. This will be especially helpful when you are using another formula, detailed in our next section, to match Givebutter Contact IDs to donor names.

                     Example formula: =JOIN(" ",C2,D2)

Excel has a different function for merging content in cells. If you are working with your data in Excel instead of Google Sheets, this is a good reference for merging data.

Using Givebutter Contact IDs in your transaction import 🪪

Once you have imported your contacts, Givebutter will generate a unique Contact ID for each record. Using contact IDs during your transaction import is a great way to ensure each transaction is assigned to the correct donor record.

You can retrieve those Contact IDs from your Contact Export:

VLOOKUP is a formula that can be used to match these unique IDs to their contact record automatically.

Here is a video walkthrough on how to use this formula, which should also work in Excel:

            Example formula: =VLOOKUP(A2,ID!$A$2:$B$4,2,false)

Some final notes for smooth importing 🧈

All contact records will need a first name and last name field to import. For any companies or businesses, we recommend putting the entire name in the first name and something like 'org' as the last name. You can even add a 'company' tag to these records so you can easily segment them.

Addresses will only import if they have all of the necessary fields. This means you cannot import just a city or state, you will need address 1, city, state, zip code, and country for the import to be successful.

Your transaction dates will default to the UTC timezone if you don't otherwise specify. This can put your dates a day behind in our system, depending on the timezone you have set for your account. If you want to add this in, you will need to add 00:00:00 and your timezone to the end of the dates, so it reads like 03/19/2024 00:00:00 CST. The join formula can be used to accomplish this!

Lastly, if you use the 'campaign title' column for transactions, those campaigns will be created at import as new, external campaigns in your account. For example, if your past transaction history is associated with 40 different campaigns, those will all be created in your account at import.

External campaigns cannot be made live again for future donations, they exist solely for record-keeping. This is important to keep in mind if you do not want extra campaigns in your account!

When in doubt, import a small 'test' list first 🧪

Feeling nervous about importing? We understand!

If you aren't sold how your contact custom field will look or how you want transaction fees to lay out, try uploading a small portion of your historical data first before you commit to the entire list. This can save you time modifying your data in case you commit to a big change too soon. If all else fails, you can always delete your import file as well.

Remember to allow yourself time to prepare your data before importing!

Migrating data is a naturally time-consuming process and can be tedious. You are one step closer to making Givebutter a home for your nonprofit once it is done! 🎉


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