Exceptions are your friend! Introducing dictionary exceptions in ImportOmatic®

Sep 18, 2015

Raise your hand if any of these data entry nightmares apply to you:

  • Accounting requires gifts via credit card to be in a separate gift batch
  • Individual donors’ last names and corporate donors’ company names are in the same column of your data file
  • Declined credit card transactions are included in the gift export from your online giving site

Until now, all of the above scenarios have required you to divide your original data file into separate files prior to importing your data with ImportOmatic. Ready for the good news? It’s time to say sayonara to divisions and separate files! ImportOmatic’s exception functionality is your new best friend.




With ImportOmatic 3.1’s new Create Exception option in the Dictionaries, you can now tell ImportOmatic which rows to skip over automatically! Let’s look how this new functionality works with the data entry examples that were stated above. Now you can:

  • Skip over rows using credit cards or even specific credit card types, to import those to a second batch
  • Skip any rows that are blank in first name column, to isolate my organization records
  • Skip declined transactions to prevent those rows from creating gift records

Using the first example, let’s look at how you can isolate credit cards into a separate batch. In the sample data file, first identify a column that indicates which rows contain credit card gifts. It could be credit card number, credit card expiration, or even something as easy as payment type. Basically, any column that contains a value unique to either credit cards or checks would work.

Then, create a dictionary. This dictionary doesn’t have to be exclusive to triggering exceptions; it just needs to include an entry that does so. For example, “Check” may be needed to change to “Personal Check.” Then, “Credit Card” needs to trigger an exception.

Rather than entering a replacement value as normal, the exception message is typed in as desired. In this case, the error should read, “Credit Card Batch.” Value to Match On is set as “Credit Card,” and checked to “Create Exception.”

Now, imports can be run as soon as the data file is ready, knowing that ImportOmatic will automatically pull the Credit Card gifts out to the side. Notice that the exceptions use the code that was created in the dictionary.

Finally, the exception data file can be used to run a second import for the Credit Cards through a copy of the same profile. The key is to use a copy that does not contain the exception-causing dictionary in your second profile. Otherwise, you’d end up with a file full of exceptions again!

In the end, there are two gift batches produced. One is for Credit Cards and the other is for Cash/Check gifts.


Another way you could use the dictionary exceptions would allow you to use the same data file for multiple imports. For example, you may want a separate batch for each credit card type. By creating a series of profile copies, with each using a different dictionary, you can ensure each batch contains only a single credit card type.

AMEX batch – Profile using a dictionary to skip rows for MasterCard & Visa
Visa batch – Profile using a dictionary to skip rows for MasterCard & AMEX
MasterCard batch – Profile using a dictionary to skip rows for Visa & AMEX

Once the process is setup the first time, running it every day is quick and easy! Ready for the bonus? If you have ImportOmatic Scheduler, this is a perfect example of an import you could schedule to run automatically! Now how easy was that?! It’s time to get acquainted with your new best friend, ImportOmatic exceptions.

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