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Rocking Out With Import

Musicians like John Mayer, B.B. King, and Jimi Hendrix have made the guitar synonymous with soulful expression. Well, let me tell you… a lot of very exacting steps have gone into the chunk of wood they are holding that allows them to be so creative. Trust me, I know! My garage looks like a pile of guitars exploded inside! I have six or seven guitar necks, each in various stages of being carved. Several guitar bodies are hanging from the ceiling, and all sorts of fret wire, pickup wire, plastic knobs, tuning machines, pickguards, lacquer, and shaping tools are all neatly stored away or hanging on a wall, waiting for me to step into the shop to pick up where I left off working on my passion of designing and building electric guitars.

Every single aspect of a guitar must be measured, laid out, cut, and shaped perfectly to exacting specifications in order for it to sound good and stay in tune. Believe it or not, when I was recently asked to import some new constituent records into Raiser’s Edge using a .csv file spreadsheet, it instantly reminded me of building a guitar. 

Each column must have a specific name in order for Raiser’s Edge to recognize it as the correct field in a database table. Each row represents a record that will be imported. I had to make absolutely sure that every field was fine-tuned to import the way I needed it to arrive. Having one person enter content as Easy St., while another person enters it as Easy Str. just can’t happen on my watch. That would be like putting the strings on a guitar backward. Sure, it might still work, but it will certainly cause problems later on. 

Here is a tip that I am sure will you, in a profound way, with Import in Raiser’s Edge. All constituent relationship management database programs like Raiser’s Edge have thousands of buttons, fields, features, tools, and modules. It is very easy to become overwhelmed with all the options. However, there is a slightly amusing acronym that will help you cut through all the components and features of Import. You will see, all that databases can actually do are just four simple things. C.R.U.D: Create, Read, Update, and Delete. That is it! 

Even with all those features, the only thing a database program can do is: create a record, read (display) a record), update a record, or delete a record. Once you understand that fundamental simplicity, learning about Import in Raiser’s Edge becomes far less daunting and can even be a lot of fun. 

If you need to learn how to import new records, update records that are already in your database or clean up some data that has been causing you headaches, I suggest you check out Blackbaud University’s newest Raiser’s Edge course, Adding and Updating Records with Import. It takes the complex Import process and lays it all out in manageable logical steps that will crush any anxiety you feel about Import—and will have you playing Import like Jimi Hendrix played his guitar.

See you in class!
Posted by Michael Perkins on May 21, 2019 11:06 AM America/New_York

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Great tip Michael - C.R.U.D. - so often people think databases can do great & amazing things. But ultimately it is the people who can understand the data, get it out and analyze that do the great and amazing things! Understanding Import and using it to create or clean up your data is a great tool!
  • Posted Thu 30 May 2019 09:50 AM EDT
My issue with import is matching up the fields! I feel like I need a dictionary every time I set one up...
  • Posted Tue 09 Jul 2019 12:05 PM EDT
After spending a lot of time with both KB and the Import guide I feel like I'm pretty good at Imports but there is always a trick or two to be learned from these classes no matter how great you 'think' you are. If one of those tips or tricks can make it easier, count me in. 
Will this cover anything above an beyond RE Import 1 & 2?

  • Posted Thu 18 Jul 2019 12:46 PM EDT