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Article ID: KB216
Keyword Name: import contribution, importing contributions, import, add new contribution
Created: November 01, 2017
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Importing Contributions

 

Overview

 

This article will give you the basics of importing contributions.  This is done via the Voters (or Donors or Contacts – hereafter called Voters) window from the Application Menu inside the Voters (or Donors or Contacts) folder. 

 

 

 

Disclaimers

 

Importing data into any computer application is a powerful, yet sensitive process.  The process is powerful in that you are able to move data from one computer application (or file(s)) into another computer application.  The data import process is sensitive in that it can be tricky at times to get the right data in the right format and imported properly.

The following are rules to preforming a successful import that whoever is doing the import should adhere to:

 

· Understand the data.

 

· Ensure that the data is structured according to the requirements of the application where the data is being imported into.  For example: a last name column should contain last names.

 

· Ensure that the data makes sense where it is positioned. For example, a person’s name inside a location meant for a city name doesn’t make sense.

 

· Know how to import the data into the application (this article plus other videos and KB articles).

 

· Carefully and intelligibly perform any data mapping or other preparation inside the application where the data will go into.

 

Failure to adhere to all of the above will result in the imported data to be messed up, potentially to the point of being unusable.  A reminder: we are talking here about importing data into any computer application, not just into Trail Blazer.

 

 

 

Visualization and Conceptualization

 

The following paragraphs will help you visualize how to organize the contribution data you want to import into Trail Blazer.

The following are the essential characteristics when a contribution (even a non-monetary contribution) is made:

 

· A person or an organization makes the contribution.  Inside Trail Blazer -  persons, voters, donors, contacts, foundations, PACs, corporations and are organizations are referred to as Voters.

 

· The contribution occurred on a particular date.

 

· The contribution had a value attached to it.  This may be in the form of actual currency.  Or it might be a non-monetary contribution in the form of goods or services given.

 

Trail Blazer requires at the bare minimum a voter and contribution amount to be imported.  If there is no contribution date specified, Trail Blazer assigns a default date of 6/6/2079 to the contribution.

There are a wide variety of optional characteristics can occur in contributions, such as check number, or payment type or fund allocations.  Fund allocations are only available in the Non-Profit version of Trail Blazer.  Trail Blazer can handle most, if not all, of the optional contribution-related characteristics.

 

 

 

What Can Trail Blazer Do In A Contribution Import?

 

Trail Blazer can import a contribution and optionally create a new voter. There are limits on the columns available for importing into a new voter.   Some voter columns are necessarily to match a contribution to a voter in the system.

 

The following table lists the different columns you can import via a Trail Blazer contribution import.

 

 

Trail Blazer Column

Description

Do Not Import

Does not import the data from that column.

Addr1 Address

First address line for the first address block of the voter. 1

Addr1 Address2

Second address line for the first address block of the voter. 1

Addr1 Address3

Third address line for the first address block of the voter. 1

Addr1 City

City for the first address block of the voter. 1

Addr1 State

State for the first address block of the voter. 1

Addr1 ZipCode

Zip or Postal Code of the voter’s first address block. 1

Addr1 ZipCodePlus4

If Addr1 ZipCode is only the US 5 digit zip code, this can handle the additional 4 numbers of a 9 digit zip code. 1

Addr1 CD

Congressional District for the first address block. 1

Addr1 County

County (Parish) name for the first address block. 1

Addr1 County Code

County (Parish) code for the first address block. 1

Addr1 LD

State Legislative District for the first address block. 1

Addr1 Nation

Nation (preferably an ISO nation code) of the first address block. 1

Addr1 SD

State Senate District for the first address block. 1

Alt Email

Alternate email address for the voter.

Alt Email List Flag

Do not use – no longer used by Trail Blazer

Alt Email Note

Notes about the voter’s alternate email address

Alt Phone

Alternate phone2

Alt Phone Ext

Extension of the alternate phone, brief note about alternate phone or unacceptable alternate phone number.

Amount

Monetary amount of the contribution (REQUIRED)

AmountFromOther

Do not use – no longer used by Trail Blazer

BatchCode

1 unique code for all contributions in an import.  It identifies the contributions that have been imported as part of a “batch” of contributions that were imported.  This is helpful later on if there is a question of where a contribution originated.

BusFaxPhone

Voter’s business fax phone2

BusFaxPhoneExt

Extension of the business fax phone, brief note about business fax phone or unacceptable business fax phone.

BusPhone

Voter’s business phone2

BusPhoneExt

Extension of the business phone, brief note about business phone or unacceptable business phone.

CellPhone

Voter’s cell phone2

CellPhoneExt

Extension of the cell phone, brief note about cell phone, or unacceptable cell phone.

Check Number

Contribution’s check number

CheckMemo

Originally intended to capture notes about the contribution when made by a check during the import, now covers note about the contribution for any type of payment.

ContributionDate

Date the contribution was made.

CreditCardConfirmNumber

Confirmation number from the credit card transaction of the contribution.

CreditCardExpiration

Credit card expiration date from the credit card transaction of the contribution.

CreditCardNumber

Credit card number from the contribution.

CreditCardType

Credit card type of the contribution.

Date-StringYYYYMMDD

Do not use – no longer used by Trail Blazer

Email

Primary email address for this voter

Election Name

The name of the Election Cycle or Fiscal Year cycle this contribution was made.

Employer

Name of the voter’s employer.

EmployeeID

An assignable identifier for this voter.

Event ID

Numeric Trail Blazer event ID.  Useful when importing contributions attached to an existing Trail Blazer event.

Event String

Name of the event attached to this contribution.  If an exact match by event string is found in Trail Blazer, then it will be attached to the matched event.  Otherwise, it creates a new event.   Note that if the event string is spelled slightly differently than the intended event, a new event will be created.

FaxPhone

Voter’s fax phone2

FaxPhoneExt

Extension of the fax phone, brief note about fax phone, or unacceptable fax phone.

FirstName

Voter’s first name.

FullName

Full name of the Voter.  Trail Blazer will attempt to split the name out into the various name fields.  Sometimes this doesn’t work as one thinks it should.  So, if using this column for importing, verify and fix data as needed after the import.

HomePhone

Voter’s home phone2

HomePhoneExt

Home phone’s extension, brief note about the home phone, or unacceptable home phone.

ImportReferenceKey

This is a numeric value. Each contribution should have a unique ImportReferenceKey, preferably starting at 1 and sequential for the rest of the contributions being imported.  This value points to the specific contribution in the file being imported. Making it distinct within the file helps pinpoint the original data if there is a problem noticed in Trail Blazer with the contribution after import.

LastName

The voter’s last name.

LogArray

Log notes for a voter.  Note: this column can be mapped to many times within the same import.

MiddleName

The voter’s middle name or middle initial.

MiscText1

Combined with MiscText2 to form the Check Memo. If a separate check memo field is used, that will be the check memo and the MiscText data will be discarded.

MiscText2

Combined with MiscText1 to form the Check Memo. If a separate check memo field is used, that will be the check memo and the MiscText data will be discarded.

Name Last First Middle Suffix

Full name in the following format: Last, first, middle, then suffix.  As with the FullName column, sometimes using this has unintended results. A wise move when using this import column is to verify that the name parts were imported properly.  If not, work in Trail Blazer to clean up the name parts.

NameOnCreditCard

The full name on the credit card for the contribution.

Nickname

The voter’s nickname

NonMonetaryDescription

Describes the non-monetary contribution. If not non-monetary, then leave empty.

Non-Monetary Type ID String

Code for categorizing the non-monetary contribution. If a monetary contribution, leave blank.

Non-Profits:

· 101 – Non Perishable Food

· 102 – Perishable Food

· 103 – Clothing

· 104 – Other 1

· 105 – Gift Certificate

· 106 – Toys / Gifts

· 107 – Vehicle

· 108 – Other 2

· 109 – Books

Political and Professional Editions:

· 1 – Services or Facilities Provided

· 2 – Property Given

· 3 – Campaign Expenses Paid

Non-Monetary Type Quantity String

Quantity of the non-monetary contribution.

Non-Monetary Type ID

Do Not Use. For internal use only by Trail Blazer staff.

Non-Monetary Type Quantity

Do Not Use. For internal use only by Trail Blazer staff.

Occupation

The voter’s occupation.

Payment Type ID

A number representing the method that was used for the contribution.  The following values are valid:

· 54   (Cash)

· 55   (Check)

· 56   (Credit Card)

If the data is something other than above is used or if the data is not filled in, it will become the default payment method as indicated on the contribution import window.

Payment Type String

This is the method that was used for this contribution. The following are valid:

· Cash

· Check

· Creditcard

· Credit

· Credit card

· Cc

· Ccard

· In-kind

· Inkind

If something other than the above is used or if the data not filled in, it will become the default payment method as indicated on the contribution import window.

Recurrence Type ID

Indicates the recurrence frequency of the contribution. Call Trail Blazer customer support at 866-909-8700 (or 952-767-2651 locally) or email support at support@trailblz.com for a list of values and what each mean.

Note that if you have no payment gateway configured in Trail Blazer or if the Trail Blazer does not support recurring contributions with the gateway you use, you will be responsible for manually maintaining the contribution records after importing.

SOS Voter Number

State assigned voter identifier.

Spouse

The voter’s spouse name.

Suffix

Voter name suffix like III or Jr. or M.D.

Thank You Sent

Whether a Thank You letter/email was sent for this contribution. Simply a Yes or No (or True / False) value.  No date values are accepted.  Can also be empty (implying not sent).

Title

Prefix or title of the voter’s name.  Some examples: Mr., Mrs, Dr., Prof, Rev, Senator.

Contribution User 001

Customizable field for data that should be stored with the contribution.

User 001 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 002 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 003 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 004 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 005 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 006 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 007 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 008 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 009 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 010 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 011 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

User 012 - Voter3

Customizable field for storing voter-related data that should be stored with the voter.

VoterCounty

County (or parish) that the voter lives in.

WorkPhone2

The voter’s work phone.

 

1 – “First address block” refers to the collection of columns that refer to the first geographic location to be imported into or used in searching Trail Blazer for a voter match.

 

2 – After removing formatting letters like parenthesis and spaces and dashes and slashes, the maximum acceptable length for phone numbers is 10. 

 

3 – Substitute Donor or Contactor whatever word(s) are place for your Trail Blazer system instead.

 

The following are allowed only for Trail Blazer’s political customers.

 

 

Trail Blazer Column

Description

Campaign Committee

Name of the political committee this contribution came from.

Category

FEC category code to classify the contribution.

CFBRegistration

Registration number with the campaign finance board

Contribution User 002

Customizable field for storing contribution-related data that should be stored with the contribution.

PCRDate

Date a Political Contribution Refund was received.  Use only if you are a Trail Blazer Political Customer in Minnesota. Otherwise, do not use.

PCRNumber

The identification number associated with a Political Contribution Refund. Use only if you are a Trail Blazer Political Customer in Minnesota. Otherwise, do not use.

 

 

The following are allowed only when you have Trail Blazer Non-Profit Manager.

 

 

Trail Blazer Column

Description

Allocation Fund

Fund to allocate a portion of the contribution amount.

Allocation Amount

Monetary amount of the contribution to allocate to the fund.  Cannot be used with Allocation Percent in the import

Allocation Percent

Percentage of the contribution amount to allocate to this fund.

In Honor/Memory Of

Who this in honor/memory of is for.

Memorial Type String

Indicates if this is in honor of, an honorarium, in memory of, a memorial, …

Memorial Type ID String

· 1 is for “in honor of”

· 2 is for “in memory of”

Memorial Type ID Integer

Do not use.  Meant for internal use by Trail Blazer staff.

 

 

What Can’t Trail Blazer Do In A Contribution Import?

 

There are several things that the contribution import does not do. These are listed below.

 

        · Create Pledges

 

        · Create Voter Attributes

 

        · Populate Address User Fields

 

        · Populate Address Political districts (Precinct, Ward, County Commissioners, …)

 

        · Create Event Details (other than the event title)

 

        · Allocating to Multiple Funds

 

        · Voter User Dates

 

        · Voter User Decimals

 

Remember that the purpose of the contribution import is to import contributions.  The subset of voter information that it can create exists so that Trail Blazer can identify the contribution’s voter.

 

Be Prepared

 

Preparation of the data in the file before performing the actual import is about 90% of the effort required in doing a contribution import.  The following are general guidelines for preparing data for a contribution import:

 

· The top row is reserved for the column titles.

 

· Every row other than the top row are for the data to be imported.

 

· Every column has a title on the top row.

 

· Every row has data (that is – no blank rows).

 

· Make sure the data for each cell in a particular column:

 

o Belongs in that column.  For example, a last name never should be in an amount column.

 

o Will fit in the imported area.

 

· Got allocation funds or events?  Make sure the spellings match up exactly.  A misspelling will create a new fund (or event) when importing.

 

· Preferably use 2 letter state/province abbreviations.

 

· Although full spelling of country names are allowed, try using the standard 2 letter ISO country abbreviations.

 

· Phone numbers should have no letters and have a maximum of 10 digits. Anything other than that should be put into a phone number ext column.

 

· Email addresses:  you cannot email to web site addresses nor to any email address that is missing the @ symbol and a period someplace after that symbol.

 

 

The Import Contributions Windows

In order to get to the Import Contributions Window, open a Voters window. 

Select the File menu.  From there click Import… . These two steps are identified as #1 and #2 in the picture below.

 

 

 

 

That will bring up the Trail Blazer Import (Step 1 of 3) window like the one in the picture below.

 

 

 

 

The numbers in the above image corresponds to the following steps:

 

3.  Import File Type:  This should be From CSV (Comma Delimited Text).  If it isn’t then change it to be this value.

 

4.  Type: Select Contribution.

 

5.  Source Location:  Click the Browse button.  Locate the file you wish to import.

 

6.  Once you are done with steps #3 through #5, click the OK button.

 

Doing the above will bring you to the main contribution import window (unofficially called the Trail Blazer Import (Step 2 of 3) window) like the one below.

 

 

 

 

Look at this window for a bit.  The red circled area has been added as part of the following discussion on this window.

 

        · Tables: This lists the complete directory path and filename you selected in the previous step.

 

        · Add new Donors:  This tells the import process whether or not you wish to add a new voter if one based on imported data cannot be found.

 

        · Payment Type:  This establishes a default payment type for each of the imported contributions if there is no payment type in the data nor no payment type mapped to in the file.

       

        · Allow Duplicates:  This refers to duplicate contributions, not duplicate voters.  A contribution is considered a duplicate if all of the following apply:

 

o Voters are the same

 

o Contribution dates are the same

 

o Contribution amounts are the same

Not allowing duplicates will produce a window each time a suspected duplicate is reached during the import process.  This window prevents the import process from continuing until you answer the question in that window – whether to import or ignore the possible duplicate.  Imported contributions can be deleted afterwards if need be.  For a large number of contributions to import (100 or more) Trail Blazer recommends that you always check this box.

 

        · Do NOT set Thank You: By default, every contribution imported is marked as having a “thank you” being sent to the voter.  There are two ways to override this behavior:  one is to check this box and the other is to have a column in the file that sets the “Thank you sent” value differently for each contribution.

 

        · Account Type: This applies to Trail Blazer political customers.  It lists the default account type for the source of the imported contributions: federal, non-federal, levin, and allocation.

 

        · Allow $0 Contributions: Checking this will import any contributions in the import file that are blank or have 0 in the Amount column.  Any contributions that have one of these values will automatically be created as a non-monetary type of contribution.

 

        · Default Cycle: This is the election cycle (if political) or fiscal year cycle (if non-political) for the incoming contributions to be assigned to.  Imported contributions can be set to different cycles via the contribution search window after import.

 

        · TransferIn: Do not use this.

 

        · Precision: Trail Blazer recommends that you leave this set at the default setting of MAX

 

        · Run Import: This button is only available after the Match Fields button is clicked and there are columns in the red-circled list.

 

        · Source Column / Trail Blazer Column list:  This is the list where your file columns are listed (on the left) and the columns they map to in Trail Blazer (on the right).  This is the region in the picture above that is circled in red.

 

        · Match Fields: Clicking this button will scan the first line of your file for column names and attempt to automatically map Trail Blazer columns to them.  After that, it is up to you to manually map the remaining fields.

 

       · Cancel: aborts the import contribution process.

Click the Match Fields button.  Trail Blazer makes an attempt to match the columns in your file to Trail Blazer columns.  The columns that it could not match are set as Do Not Import.  An example of this is shown below.  Note the two red arrows point to columns that Trail Blazer could not match.

 

 

 

 

After Trail Blazer attempts to match columns, you have the opportunity to manually match columns from your data to Trail Blazer columns.   When you are done matching or adjusting the matches between your data’s columns and Trail Blazer columns, then click the Run Import button.

 

 

To Add New Voters or Not To Add New Voters?

 

That is the question we deal with in this section.  Why wouldn’t one want to create new voters when doing a contribution import?  Recall in the section of this article called “What Can’t Trail Blazer Do In A Contribution Import? “ that there are several things that Trail Blazer’s Contribution Import cannot do (such as import political districts, create attributes, and create/update user decimal and user date fields) .  If you want to do any of these along with importing contribution data, then you will need to do two imports: a voter import and a contribution import.  If this is the case, you will not want to add new voters while importing contributions.

 

If you do not add new voters, Trail Blazer will only import contributions where it can match the voter from the data to what exists inside Trail Blazer.  How does it do that?  It is a bit complex to describe in detail, but if the voter data in Trail Blazer and your data match on any of the following, it is a match. 

 

Ways Trail Blazer Matches Your Data to an Existing Voter in Trail Blazer

 

· Trail Blazer ID – this is assigned by Trail Blazer when you import a voter or create a new voter inside Trail Blazer or a new voter is created via a Trail Blazer IFRAME used in your website. 

 

· SOS Number – from the Secretary of State or Board of Elections

 

· Employee ID - this can be something you define.  Remember to make it unique or else your contributions may be imported to the wrong voter!

 

· First Name, Last Name, optionally Middle Name, first Address City, first address Street Line 1 – only if there is a Street Line 1

 

· First Name, Last Name, and City – only if there is a city.

 

· Last Name and First name – only if there is no city in your contribution data.

 

It does these in order from the top, if that data is in your import file and is mapped to the Trail Blazer column in the import.

 

And that is it on importing contributions into Trail Blazer.

 

 

Final Remarks

As you have read, importing contributions into Trail Blazer is much more than just having contribution data and telling Trail Blazer to import it.  It takes time to analyze your contribution data… put it into a format that makes it “importable” into Trail Blazer.  It also takes knowledge of what can and cannot be imported via a Trail Blazer Contribution Import. 

 

That is how to import contributions into Trail Blazer.

 

At this point, you might feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the length, breadth, and depth of this article.  Please do not worry. 

 

If you need to schedule a session to have “hands-on” learning, please call us and schedule it.  We ask that you have a file that you wish to import when we train you on this.  If you have a question about importing contributions, call (or e-mail) our support team and ask.  Our support number is 866-909-8700 and the support team’s email is support@trailblz.com.

 

We wish you good luck on importing your contributions.

 

 

 



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