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Salsa Import Best Practices

Submitted by Kate on September 1, 2011 - 4:16pm

Prepping Your Data

  1. Your information should be in columns, with each row of data containing one entry.
  2. If any data are unknown, make sure they are blank, or else you might end up with something like “John Unknown Smith” instead of “John Smith”.
  3. Make sure the fields are the same throughout and that the column headers (if they exist) are correct.

Field Matching

  1. Only import columns data that you are either updating or need for matching.
  2. If you are importing data from an export, be sure to keep the Salsa ID column, called “supporter_key.” This is the best way to match data on an import.
  3. Check and double check that you are matching the data to the correct fields.


  1. Before going to the upload screen, make a tag for your import (from the ‘dashboard’ tab). Tag should be descriptive, eg. 2011-08-23_address-corrections.

Advanced Options

  1. Skip Lines – if you have a header row, you can skip one line. Otherwise you will have a new supporter with first name “First Name” if that was the title of your first name column, for example.
  2. Deduplication – if you have a Salsa ID column, aka “supporter_key”, change the deduplication field to “supporter_KEY (WFC unique ID)”
  3. Overwrite Options – the default is all data and blanks you import will overwrite old data in Salsa.
    1. Never overwrite – this could be used for example if you find an old event list and want to tag everyone or put everyone in a group en masse, but don’t want to mess with the contact info being old, and possibly hurting newer data already in Salsa.
    2. Do not overwrite individual fields, but append into blank fields – Use this if you are using data to match and just want to fill in the holes without changing other data.
    3. Overwrite existing with blanks – I’ve never used this, but if you want to clear data out, this would be an effective way.

After Import

  1. After import, it is wise to check the import status screen until the import is complete. Be sure the numbers of "records created" and "records updated" match what you intended. If not, investigate.
  2. You can also check the import by spot checking supporter records to see if the data you import did indeed edit the individual record as intended.

Salsa Documentation for Reference

  1. Importing Donations:
  2. Importing Supporters: