January is Data Month: Adding Supporter Data to Your Site

It’s a new year and for many of you that means it’s time to create a new auction site. And your new site will need data. Today we’ll take a deep dive into how to add supporters to your site. Later this month, we’ll write about deciding what information to collect from your guests. We’ll also discuss using custom fields to collect guest, donor, and buyer data. (Which means I’m officially christening January “Data Month.” I think it could really catch on!)

If you’re an existing customer, you probably already know that you can migrate data from your previous site(s) to your current event site. This is the most practical means of bringing supporter data (and other data and settings) into your new site. It’s also the easiest. No mapping or formatting necessary. An account manager for your organization simply selects the data and settings you wish to copy over to your new site, and voila!

But if you’re a new customer and are starting from scratch, or you have a more up-to-date list of contacts, you can upload a spreadsheet of supporters to your site. If needed, you can even upload more than one. And if you’re a Premium subscriber, you’re really in luck: our support team will assist you with your import.

If you need to migrate data from a previous site and upload new data, do your migration first. Then upload any external data you have. You’ll be able to instruct the import tool to skip any recognized duplicates (or not skip them, if you prefer to de-dup manually after the fact). 

If you’re uploading multiple data sources, start with your best data. And the best data is clean data. Review your spreadsheet(s) and remove duplicate entries. Make sure email columns only include emails (not placeholder text like “waiting for email”) and phone number columns only include phone numbers, name columns only include people’s names — you get the idea. It’s much easier to view and clean up your data before importing.

Next, decide which fields in your spreadsheet you need to load into your event site. That is: which information do you actually need to plan and execute your auction? 

Imports do allow for the creation of User Defined Fields, so you could theoretically upload every piece of user data you have. But your wisest course of action is to upload only what you need for your event. Names and contact information for sure. And maybe it would be nice to know when alumni users graduated. But you probably don’t need to upload their estimated annual income, their meal selection from last year’s auction, their pets’ names, etc. Keep your data (and thus your import) as uncomplicated as possible by limiting it to the info you’ll actually use when planning this year’s event.

Once you’ve cleaned up your data and checked it over, it’s time to decide where to upload it. For supporter data, there are two options: your Donors page and your Users page. The software defines Donors very narrowly as individuals or organizations that donate items to your event. If you know which entries in your spreadsheet fit this definition, you can break them out to a separate sheet and upload them to your Donors page. They’ll automatically end up on your Users page, too, flagged as Donors. Everyone else should be uploaded directly to your Users page at Admin > Manage Users.

Some of you may be wondering, what about guests? Can I upload a spreadsheet of tickets I’ve sold? Plus subscribers do have the ability to upload spreadsheets of ticket sales, and our support team can assist with ticket uploads for Premium subscribers. Uploaded guests will appear on your Tickets page and also on your Users page, where they’ll be flagged as Ticket Holders.

One big caveat: we only recommend uploading ticket sales for customers who purchased their subscription after they began selling tickets. For the majority of customers, the most efficient and effective way to get tickets on your site is to sell them directly from your site. 

Now that you’ve added supporters to your site: What are you going to do with your wonderful data? Well, we think you should use it to invite people to Buy Tickets, Donate Items, Give Cash, Bid Online, etc. by using the invitation system built right into the software.

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