When building import profiles within ImportOmatic, getting all the fields mapped is usually considered the most labor-intensive part of the configuration process. Once the field mapping is complete with functions and dictionaries applied, it is really tempting to just head straight into your import test without going through that lengthy list of profile settings in the left hand navigation menu. SLOW DOWN! While the many options listed in profile settings are quite extensive, the important thing to remember is that there are really just a few key areas that are the most crucial to configure for practically any import you do. Taking the time to configure the processing rules in the profile is very important and once done, they will not have to be configured again for that particular profile. Below is my short list of the most essential ImportOmatic profile settings that you should definitely take a moment to consider for any and all profiles you build.
Constituents – This area in settings mainly pertains just to existing constituents in the Raiser’s Edge, but there are some options that would affect new constituents as well. If you want to have a more interactive import, and be able to preview and approve any changes to an existing constituent’s biographical information – Be sure to check the box for Side by Side Bio Field Comparison. Without adjusting this, every new ImportOmatic profile will automatically be set by default to accept any imported biographical changes without your approval (all except for name changes). This means you could be marking existing constituents as deceased, changing their ethnicity, or even overwriting their date of birth automatically based on the import file (The import file is trusted as the most correct source of this constituent’s bio data, not RE). With new imports especially, I don’t always start out blindly trusting the data source to be more current than RE, so switching on the bio field comparison checkbox (at least at first) can show me what kind of bio changes are possibly being made and I can determine then if those changes seem fine to just let run without me previewing them record by record.
Duplicate Search – Important if you want to promote non-constituent spouses to full constituents (the default is to keep them as non-constituents) for the sake of gift processing or other things only a full-constituent could have). You can also turn on the “show results even if no matches found” setting if you want ImportOmatic to show you every brand new constituent before they get added to RE so you can approve of them. New profiles will default to this setting switched off, which means that obviously new constituents are just getting added without forcing you to preview each one and click the “add as new record” button during processing. Criteria – Only the duplicate search criteria sets marked as “default” in IOM general settings are switched on by default automatically in new profiles, so if you need to use multiple sets of criteria to ensure a more extensive duplicate search, be sure to stop by this area and make sure enough of these boxes are checked.
Gifts (if applicable) – The crucial setting here is the option to send gifts to a gift batch. If you don’t switch that option on, new profiles will default to this setting switched off and any imported gifts will bypass gift batch and land directly on the constituent’s gift tab in RE. Using batch is recommended if you are testing with old gift data, or if it is required for your financial reconciliation process or if you just want the ability to look over and make necessary adjustments to gifts before committing them.
Addresses – The defaults on the main area for addresses are usually fine, but can be a little too sensitive for some users’ tastes. If you aren’t wanting to see an address comparison screen for every tiny address difference, slide the marker down to a lower number. The default is set to 99 (“perfectionist”) which means even just an extra space in the incoming address will trigger the Advanced Address Processing form.
New Preferred Address – nothing switched on here by default, so forget about preserving any historic address data in RE if you skip this section!
Phones/Emails – Defaults to ignore new phone/email info from your import, so newer values may be getting ignored if the imported phone type is found to already exist on the constituent record in RE.
Output – This is the final area of configuration and well worth a quick stop before launching into your import. If you are using the email notifications (must be configured in general settings first), this is where you can specify the email recipient(s).
Queries – I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to take a few seconds to ensure that you are creating at least the top two constituent queries. This way, if a mistake is made during the import, the records will be grouped for you so it would be much easier to isolate and clean-up records in case it was necessary. To me, importing data without any queries created from here is like swimming alone when no lifeguard is on duty, so proceed at your own risk!
Files – Important to visit the exception file path here on the profile level only if you don’t want the exceptions going to the default location. If there is a profile that only you will use, perhaps you want those exceptions to land on your desktop, instead of in a shared drive on your network. Not crucial but still worth noting!
Taking a few minutes to go through these crucial settings on each of your profiles before importing can save you a lot of headaches later and will only make you more familiar with how they work. As always, I recommend testing new or modified profiles first with a small sample file (10 rows of less will usually suffice to test behavior) in validation mode, so you can forecast any unseen errors and test the interactivity level. If you are happy with the results of the test, you should now be all set to go for it and process the entire import with confidence!
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.