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Transfer Donors and Donation Data From One Nation to Another

Submitted by Meredith on September 18, 2012 - 7:29pm

A few notes before digging into this topic. This post deals specifically with a micro-topic of sorts: not simply how to upload donor and donation data into NationBuilder, but rather how to transfer that data from one Nation to another. Thus, this is not going to be relevant for many, and shouldn't be viewed as a comprehensive 'how to' on how to import data into your Nation (although hopefully there will be a few helpful pieces!). Nevertheless, we've found ourselves going through this process several times around this election season, so we wanted to put our lessons learned on the record.

Getting Started

When transferring from one Nation to another Nation, be sure to identify the old Nation from the new. Toggling back and forth on two identical Nations can be confusing.

Be sure to have your own user login for each Nation as well. That way, your actions are tracked under your own name on each site. You will also need admin access for each Nation.

Donors vs Donations

It's important to clarify that there is a difference between “Donors” and “Donation History”. Donors are individuals who have donated at least once, whereas you can have multiple donations attached to one individual record.

In NationBuilder, individual people records are stored under the "People" tab, whereas donation history lives under the "Finances" tab.

Despite this distinction, there is some overlap between the two sections. Donors can be identified via the People tab or the Finances tab (whereas Donation history lives only under Finances).

Exporting Data

To export donation history, NationBuilder provides an easy option. Go to the Finances> More> Export donations to export all donations.

To export donors with their donation history, you can create a list under the Finances tab. While the data under the finances tab defaults to donations and not donors, you can identify and tag previous donors in the Finances section by doing an advanced search under the Finances tab.

Based on your parameters, you will see a list of donations when querying under the Finances tab. However, when you hit the “+” button at the top of the list, it will add the individual donors from your query to that list rather than every single donation. This is because lists in NationBuilder are for people, not for data sets. Thus, if you're working to simply upload donors (is donor), this might be the way you want to go.

Once you’ve added the people you want to your list, save it. It's not a bad idea to also batch tag all of the people in your list as well, just so you have breadcrumbs to backtrack on if need be.

When you feel confident that your list is complete, and documented, you can export it under the list options. NationBuilder can vary widely, so be prepared!

Importing Data

Once your data is exported, open up the csv and start thinking about what information you’d like to bring over to the new Nation. NationBuilder will automatically export all available fields, however you will not be able to map to all of those fields in your import. Additionally, if you don’t want to map to all of the fields available, there is no need to keep them in your data file. Leaving unneeded columns in your import file can increase the probability of errors.

Note that there are different places for different imports. If you want to import donors, you can do that import under the finances import, however only if those donors have donation amounts attached to them. If you are only importing a list of previous donors, tagged donor but with no previous donation amounts, then you should do that import under the People tab.

Note: "First donated at", "Last Donated at", and "Donation count" are not available for import in either Finances or People. This information, if you’d like to bring it over, might be best done via tagging. Particularly the donation count information.

One important note for transferring data between nations: if you are importing from a Nation, to a new Nation, do not map to NationBuilder ID. NationBuilder ids are unique for each Nation, and NationBuilder will overwrite and/or merge people in your new Nation based on the id field. Take similar precautions around donor ID.

If you are unsure how NationBuilder will react or deduplicate based on your data set, it's never a bad idea to do a test upload of a small sample set. Data is important, and mistakes are more easy to identify and correct in a data set of 3 than in one of 30,000.

NationBuilder's list of available people import fields are here: what fields are available for imports

The available donation import fields are here:
how do I import donor history

Once you have mapped to the appropriate fields, you should be ready for import. Be sure to start your import on line 2 if your uploaded csv file includes a header row.

Like exports, import times can vary. Once completed, if there are errors upon import, you can download a csv file of those errors, spot check, and correct issues before re-uploading.

We know this can be complicated and confusing stuff. If you have questions, feel free to comment below or contact us.