I have moved several times as an adult. Each move has started out much the same: I am charged with a burst of energy to reorganize and evaluate all my worldly possessions. I purge and develop a unique color-coded system to organize boxes. I tell myself, “This move will be different! It won’t be stressful!” But life happens, and inevitably as the big day arrives I find myself throwing random items into boxes (those juice glasses don’t need to be wrapped in newspaper, we can just put them in this bin of baby clothes!) and then dumping said boxes into a spare room of my new abode to be dealt with later.

Maybe you have not physically moved recently, but have you embarked on a digital migration or move? Often when moving to a new database or school year, you start off with great organization intentions (just like me). But as reality sets in and timelines rapidly progress, you fall into a similar practice of dumping everything into the database to be organized and evaluated later.

The good news is that Blackbaud’s education management portfolio has several new data imports that can help you feel less overwhelmed when sorting through and organizing your school’s data. Use this robust tool to add large quantities of new, clean data to your system, or to quickly and efficiently update and tidy up data that you are already storing.
Want to learn more about the data import process as well as tips and tricks for working with large data files? Register today for the new Blackbaud University course, K–12 Core: Importing Data.

Good news for Blackbaud Learn® training subscribers! If your school has a Learn More subscription, this class is included. Not a subscriber? Find out how a Learn subscription can help develop efficiency and build skills for every user of your system.

New Data Imports Improve Data Refresh Process

We've been working hard to ensure our schools have more control over constituent data. Over the summer, we released several popular imports to eliminate the need for specialty data refreshes, including imports for usernames, addresses, and email addresses. Since they were so successful, we’ve decided to increase the number of data fields that can be updated by data import. 

On February 6, 2019, we released four new imports, allowing you to add or update information previously handled by the data refresh process.


The new imports are: 

General User — Import new constituents or update existing records by populating basic biographical information such as name, marital status, ethnicity, religion, gender, SSN, home address, home phone number, and more. When adding a new user, a HostID is required for each user. When updating existing users, you can match on either the HostID or UserID.

Roles — Assign constituent roles to users, including student, alumni, teacher, non-teaching staff, advisor, etc. Roles such as parent or grandparent that are set through relationships are handled with the following import.

Relationships — Tie people together with relationships that can be peer-to-peer (spouse, sibling, cousin) or hierarchical (parent, grandparent). Tying people together will also share addresses and home phone numbers (if they're identical) between spouses and parents/children. 

User Education — Add one or more user education records to a contact card. This import is done on its own rather than in the general user import because constituents may have several education records. 
While we have no immediate plans to stop providing data refreshes, we encourage all schools to use the new data imports to update constituent data because they offer the following advantages over the old data refresh process:
  • Update as many or as few fields as you want. Only need to update three fields instead of the entire data refresh routine? You can pick and choose the columns to include and only those fields will be updated.
  • Delete unneeded data. To purge data such as religion, ethnicity, gender, addresses, phone numbers, etc. from constituent records, you can do so by creating a data file that indicates the fields to be deleted with a “^”.
  • Process data immediately! Why wait 4-6 days for a data refresh file to get processed when the file you import yourself will complete in 10-15 minutes? This will be a huge time saver for schools during the busy summer months.
If you want to give the new imports a try, have a look at our Data Import page for more details. Also, check out our Import File Layouts page.

Thanks for reading everyone! Make sure to hit that like button below and let us know what you think of these improvements in the comments below. We'll see you right back here next week for a look at what's new in the March release.
Posted by Derek Nichols on Feb 26, 2019 11:21 AM America/New_York

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Love anything that gives us more control of our data!

Is there a way to get the newly generated user_id of a General User import that is creating new constituents to be included in the View Results report?
  • Posted Tue 26 Feb 2019 03:40 PM EST
Hey Jamie,

Went and pinged the team in regards to your question. Essentially, that file is created before data is inserted into the database, so unfortunately not.
  • Posted Tue 05 Mar 2019 09:06 AM EST
Love it!
  • Posted Fri 22 Mar 2019 11:30 AM EDT
Love having more import options!
  • Posted Mon 25 Mar 2019 11:48 AM EDT