Choose the Best File for Your ImportOmatic Training

May 21, 2015

When preparing for your ImportOmatic (IOM) implementation, planning ahead is key! Prior to your IOM implementation, a sample data file is required for submission. The purpose of the sample file is to get you thinking ahead about your desired data mapping. It’s also super helpful for the team at Omatic! The file helps your Omatic consultant tailor to your implementation needs. So here’s the skinny – your sample file must contain 20 rows or less with column headings indicating your desired mapping destination fields within Raiser’s Edge™ (RE). Simple enough, right?

Now – take a deep breath – for some, I realize that producing this sample file can be a daunting task! But, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Read on for some general rules of thumb for choosing the perfect sample data file for your IOM implementation.

Be realistic and select a raw sample of something you know you will commonly need to import. Far too often, clients are in a hurry to implement and they’ll create a dummy file from an RE query. Unfortunately, this is a disservice because it is not a realistic representation of the data challenges you will likely face with real “raw” data from an outside source. As a consultant, I am always wary of files that are too pretty or seem too perfect to be real. Let’s face it, the real world can be an ugly place and it will not likely be so kind when providing you with data to import. Therefore, it’s best to submit real data that you’ve received recently and resist the urge to clean it up before submitting. Keep in mind, if you clean it up before your consultant sees it, you may be short-changing yourself when it comes to possible auto-manipulations that IOM could be performing for you in the future.

The best sample file for an upcoming IOM implementation will contain some or all of the following:

* Constituent Name Fields (Parsed into separate columns)

* Constituent Address Fields (Parsed into separate columns)

* Constituent Phone Numbers & Email Addresses (Parsed into separate columns)

* Relationship info for spouses, employers, and/or schools (Parsed into separate columns)

* Basic Gift Information (one-time cash gifts from an online donation source works well)

* Basic action information (missing fields like action category can be defaulted in settings)

* Attribute information for constituents, relationships, gifts or actions (dates can be defaulted)

If you’ve purchased additional consulting hours and/or optional modules, also consider providing the following data:

* Membership Information (optional module)

* Tribute Information (optional module)

* Participant Information (optional module)

* Volunteer Information (optional module)

* Extended Relationship Info (optional module – Ex. a spouse’s school/employer relationships)

* Pledge/Recurring Gift Information (not an optional module but needs additional consulting hours)

To wrap it all up, a straight-forward, real-world, raw sample file is the best for your first ImportOmatic training session(s) to warm you up to the general principles of using IOM. By following the principles above, you will be prepared for greater success in the future when you are ready to tackle more challenging imports. A good solid foundation set during your implementation is key to building your skill-set and eventually becoming a data import expert!

Happy importing!

The Raiser’s Edge™ is a trademark of Blackbaud, Inc.


Allison Bolduc
Allison Bolduc is a Consultant for Omatic Software in the Professional Services department. She currently assists clients in implementing, learning, and maximizing their use of Omatic products. Previous to holding her current position at Omatic Software, Allison worked for seven years in the nonprofit world as an Associate Director of Development at the Charleston Animal Society and as a Membership Coordinator at the Gibbes Museum of Art. In these roles, Allison gained real-life practical experience working with the Raiser’s Edge 7 (both as a non-hosted and hosted client), Blackbaud NetCommunity and Sphere Friends Asking Friends. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from the College of Charleston and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.