Complete the import process

After preparing your contacts for import you will need to then upload them to your contact database. If you haven't yet done this please refer to the relevant help articles:


Importing contacts in the right order

You need to import the different lists of contacts in this order:

  1. Organisations
  2. People
  3. Joint members

This is because the system needs to be able to find organisations to link people to them. And it needs to be able to find subscription owners when linking joint members to them.

To import people or joint members go to Contacts > People > Actions> Import people

To import organisations go to  Contacts > Organisations > Actions > Import organisations


Upload a CSV

Save each of your contact lists (Organisations, People and Joint members) as separate CSV files.

Upload a file to the system and wait for it to be checked. If there are any errors these will be displayed on-screen. You will then need to work through your original file to resolve each error. Repeat this process until there are no more errors and the contacts are imported.


Troubleshoot errors

If your file will not import due to errors, use the table below to identify the problem and take the recommended action.

Error message Recommended action
Conversion of nil to string Your file may contain rows above the expected header row and/or empty cells where values are expected. Refer back to the template and check your file is correctly structured.
# Invalid column names Your import file can only contain column names that exactly match fields that already exist in the system. Remove any columns you do not need and check the names of any custom fields you have created. They should all have the 'Field: ' prefix.
# Duplicate email(s) All email addresses in the system must be unique. Check your file and delete duplicate contacts. If you have two different people using the same email address you will need to remove the email address from one of them. The email field is not mandatory You can import a contact without an email address.
Incorrect honorific title Any titles that you wish to use must already be configured in the system. Go to Settings > Honorifics to set up all the titles you need.
First and last name are required These fields are mandatory for all people contacts. If you don't know a person's name you will need to enter something like 'unknown' or '?'.
Email address is invalid The system checks that the content of the email columns matches standard email formats. Check your data for any unusual characters or leading/trailing spaces.
Email address has already been taken This means you are trying to import a person with an email address that already exists in the system. You could remove the email address from the contact in the import file and merge the two contacts after the import process has succeeded.
Address line 1 can't be blank Address line 1 must contain a value if any other address fields are populated.
Country must conform to ISO3166 2-letter country codes The country must be in the format of a 2-letter ISO country code.
Incorrect communication type The communication type column must contain the names of communication types that have already been set up in the system. If a cell contains more than one value they must be separated by the pipe | character with no spaces.

For example: News and updates|Upcoming events.
Gift Aid must be Yes or No This is a binary setting and can only contain the values Yes or No.
Appear in directories must be Yes or No This is a binary setting and can only contain the values  Yes or No.
Incorrect group name The groups column must contain the names of groups that you have already created in the system. If a cell contains more than one value they must be separated by the pipe | character with no spaces.

For example:  Mentors|Associates.
Incorrect subscription membership plan The subscription membership plan column must contain the name of a membership plan that has already been created in the system. Note that people can only be subscribed to people plans and organisations can only be subscribed to organisation plans.
Subscription: Renewal date is invalid The renewal must be in the format YYYY-MM-DD.
Subscription: Payment method is invalid The payment method column can only contain the values Manual or Mandate.
Incorrect organisation name The organisation name must exactly match organisations that are already in the system. You, therefore, need to import your list of organisations first. It is prudent to check that all organisations referenced on the people sheet do match the organisations you plan to import before you do so.

This can be done using the data validation tool in Excel, Google Sheets or similar. The tool will highlight any organisations that do not match.
Incorrect organisation membership plan When importing people, and linking them with organisations you can also link them with the organisations membership subscription. To do this, you need to enter the name of the membership plan to which the organisation is subscribed.
Organisation: Key person must be Yes or No This is a binary setting and can only contain the values  Yes or No.
Incorrect field option Any multiple choice fields (drop-downs, radio buttons or checkboxes) have a discrete set of response options that are valid. Any values in your import file must exactly match the response options already created in the system.

You can import multiple values to a checkbox field. These must be separated by the pipe character.

For example: Green|Blue|Red.
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