Table of Contents

Where to start (before you import)

All new nations are eligible for a free data import performed by our highly-skilled Data Services Engineers. You can learn more about our free import services here, or submit an import request here. For advanced custom data services — e.g., large-scale migrations, cleanup, and deduping — contact our Services Team.

Each nation has a single relational database with connected tables. Information directly connected to a profile is in the signup table. Donations are stored in the financial table and memberships are stored in the membership table. 

Imports must be formatted as UTF-8 standardized, comma separated files (CSV). Certain fields only accept data in a particular format and some fields are only available in particular types of imports. Detailed information is available on fields available for import. Files must be 1000 MB or smaller to be imported. Your computer may have problems opening a CSV file that is larger than 50 MB - a macro is available for splitting large files.

Detailed instructions are available on preparing for an import. Important highlights:

  1. If you already have data in your nation, take a snapshot before starting an import. The snapshot must finish before you begin the import.
  2. Make sure your file includes unique identifiers.
  3. Understand how importing affects existing data.
  4. Mapping fields ensures data isn't lost or placed incorrectly. 
  5. Some fields only accept data in a particular format - pay attention to any restrictions indicated (Note: Commas should be deleted from your CSV, with the exception of the "tag_list" field. A list of tags should be separated by commas).

Types of imports

One-time import

This handles importing most profile information for both people and organizations. You can import from a CSV file. A list or filter shared by another nation can also be imported using the one-time import. Begin a new import and review status of previous imports at People > Import > One-time import.

Recurring import

A list or filter shared by another nation can be imported using the recurring import. Public information connected to a Twitter account can also be imported using recurring import. Twitter followers imports people who follow a particular Twitter account. Twitter followings imports the profiles followed by a particular Twitter account. Begin a new recurring import at People > More > Import > New recurring import. Review and edit previous recurring imports at People > Import > X recurring import. "X" represents the number of active recurring imports in your nation.

Voter file import

This type of import requires that you enable voter features at Settings > Defaults > Basics. This will import profile information for voters. It also allows you to import a larger number of signup fields, including voting districts and party affiliation. You can also request a U.S. voter file from the NationBuilder Election Center. This requires you to enable voter features in your nation. Begin a new import and review status of previous imports at People > Import > Voter file.

Ballot import

This type of import requires that you enable voter features at Settings > Defaults > Basics. View a historical record of when elections occurred and whether an individual voted in that election. Voters must already exist in the nation for you to import vote history through the control panel. Once voters exist, ballots can be imported in the People section at People > Import > Ballots.

Scanned survey import

Import information collected during a phone bank or door knock using scannable sheets. Scannable sheets include the results of a survey. Begin a new import and review status of previous imports at People > Import > Scanned survey import.

Donation import

This type of import requires that you enable donor features at Settings > Defaults > Basics. Import donation records. Each record represents a separate transaction. Donations are stored in the finances table, which is connected to a particular signup profile by unique identifiers. Begin a new import and review status of previous imports at Finances > More > Import donations.

Membership import

This type of import requires that you enable membership features in Settings > Defaults > Basics. Memberships are stored in the membership table and are connected to a particular signup profile by unique identifiers. A signup can have more than one type of membership, but only one membership per type. Begin a new import and review status of previous imports at Settings > Nation defaults > Membership types > Import memberships.

Related HOWTOs

General import information:

How to back up your nation
Prepare for your first import
Fields available for import
How imports affect existing data
Importing addresses
Unique IDs
Macro to split large files
Recover from a bad import
How to import shared lists and filters
How to use recurring Twitter imports
Import a voter file
Import ballots
Import scannable sheets
Import donations
Import memberships

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