Importing Donations from Other Programs or Regular Donations
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The option Database à Import à Donations can be used for two different purposes:
In both cases the usage is the same.
N.B. This option is not available with the free Lite version of DONATION.
Also, you cannot import files that contain both donor and donation information together. To import donor information separately, see Importing Donors from Other Programs.
If you want to import data from the Membership Plus program, please see Converting Data from Membership Plus instead. If you want to import data from The Church Assistant program, please see Converting Data from The Church Assistant instead. And if you want to import data from Viansoft's Church Contribution System, please see Importing Data from Viansoft Church Contribution System.
If you want to import your Organization Info, Donors, Donations, all types of Categories and possibly Receipts together when you first start using the program, you may prefer to look at the option Importing all Data from Other Programs. However, this is much more complicated that just importing the donors followed by importing the donations, so very few users attempt it.
If you are using the United Church of Canada's PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance) service, you can instead use the Database à Import à PAR Donations menu option.
The Database à Import à Donations routine imports the Donation data from an Excel file or a tab-separated text file. If you select an Excel file to import, DONATION will have Excel invisibly save it to a tab-separated text file, and import the text file.
A tab-separated text file is a plain-text file where each donation is on its own line, and each field on the line (even optional fields that have no data for the current donation) is separated by one tab character. Fields may optionally be enclosed in quotation marks, but that is not necessary. The file may optionally have one or two rows of column headers at the top. If you currently have the data in a spreadsheet program such as Excel, you can easily export it to tab-separated text with the File à Save As menu option, using the Save as type "Text (Tab Delimited)" (or words to that effect in spreadsheet programs other than Excel), or you can just let DONATION do that for you by importing the Excel file itself.
What follows is a description of the tab-separated columns of data to be imported from the file of donations, in the order they are required to be in that file.
You can create this file in a couple of different ways. Usually, you would create the file in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel, and have DONATION import from that file. Alternatively, you can use a text editor (such as Notepad) or a word processor (such as Microsoft Word) to create a tab-separated text file. If you use the word processor, make sure you use File à Save As to save the file, and select to save it as type "Text only" or words to that effect.
Each line of the file must always include fields for the first 5 fields listed above, in that order. If the Cheque Number field is not filled in and you are using a text file, there must still be a tab on each line, separating where it would go from the preceding field's value. Then in addition, depending on your selections for including the Eligible Amount and Description fields in the window, each line of the file may need to instead have 6 or 7 fields in it.
It is important to understand that this procedure does not replace any existing data, but rather adds additional donations into your database. All existing donations will stay there. This procedure also is very careful to identify duplicates. If any donation in the file to be imported has the same Member/Envelope #, Date Received, Amount and Category as an existing donation, you receive a detailed message about it and the whole import is cancelled. The reason it is cancelled in this situation is that you are most likely importing the same file for a 2nd time, which is obviously not desirable! (However, it is OK if the file itself contains such duplicates. This could happen if you had sections of the same donation that needed different Descriptions, so it was split into two or more donations.)
You will notice that you have to supply the donor's Member/Envelope # to identify them. That means that even if your organization does not normally assign Member or Envelope numbers to donors, you must do so for the donors that you want to use this import donation feature for. That means that you must not uncheck the field for showing the Member/Env # in the Donor Details tab of Maintenance à Main Window Options, since that makes the Member/Envelope # field in the Donor Details area disappear. For more details on how to enter Member/Envelope numbers, see Entering a New Donor.
Also, if you plan to import Eligible Amounts and/or Descriptions, you must ensure that those fields are displayed on the main window, via the Donation Details tab of Maintenance à Main Window Options.
When you select Database à Import à Donations, the following dialog box comes up:
In section 1 of the dialog box, the fields that must always be in the import file are shown, and there are checkboxes for determining whether to import the two optional fields (Eligible Amount and Description).
In section 2 of the dialog box, there is a checkbox to specify whether you wish to review the data to be imported before it is added to the database. I strongly recommend that you leave this checked, so that you can check the donations being imported before you commit to importing them.
In section 3, you specify the name of the Import File that is to be imported. You can either just type it in (include the full path – drive and directory), or use the Browse button to bring up a standard File Open dialog box to find the file. It can be a text file (*.txt) or either type of Excel file (*.xls or the newer version, *.xlsx).
In section 4, you can specify how many lines of column headers are at the top of the import file. Most commonly this should be set to 0 (if there are no column headers in the file) or 1 (if there is one line of column headers in the file). It defaults to 1 the first time this dialog box opens, so it will probably be easiest for you if you put one line of headers in the import file.
Section 5 is used if you have recurring monthly donations, and don't want to have to edit the dates in the import file each month. In this section, you can specify that you want all of the dates in the file to be imported to be adjusted, either to a date in the current month, or in the previous month. (This will depend on your processes - do you run the import at the end of the relevant month, or sometime in the following month.) If you leave both checkboxes unchecked, the dates will be imported exactly as they are in the file, and must be within the current year. If you check one of the checkboxes, the dates will be adjusted appropriately. If a date in the import file is at a month-end and the month you are importing into has fewer days in the month, it will be adjusted appropriately. (For instance, if the date in the import file is 01/31/2012, and you are importing for February 2012, it will be imported as 02/28/2012.)
Once you have used this window (and clicked Import) once, the next time you open it all of the settings that you used last time, including the Import File name, will be redisplayed, since it is most likely that each import will use the same settings.
Once you have entered your desired choices for sections 1 to 5, click the Import button. The first thing that will happen is that it will read the import file, and look for problems in it. If there are any problems that are fixable, it will tell you that fact, and display the list of problems in the Notepad program. Print off that list for later fixing, then exit Notepad. An example of such a problem is a field that is too long for the field lengths in DONATION. If the problem is not fixable in an obvious way (e.g. an Amount that does not appear to be numeric), it will just give you a message about it and return.
If problems were found, in most cases a fixed file will be created, with overly long fields shortened. Its name will be re-entered into the Import File entry box for you. To try importing the fixed file, just click the Import button again.
If you followed the recommendation to check the checkbox in section 2 to review the data, it will now be displayed for you. Take a good look at it. Make sure the right data is shown with the right fields, and that any rows of headers from your data are not displayed, and that dates have been adjusted appropriately if you used one of the checkboxes in section 5. (N.B. the program will have put in its own headers, so what you are checking is that you don't seem to have two or more rows of headers.) Also check that all of the donations you expected to be displayed are in fact displayed. Finally, you can check the count and dollar total of the donations in the summary at the end of the list. If everything looks fine, click OK and the import will begin. If there are problems with what you see in the data preview window, click Cancel and the Import will not be done.
Note that in this preview window, there are columns for the Eligible Amount and Description, whether or not you are importing those fields. If you aren't importing one of those fields, the values in that column will just be empty.
After you click OK in the preview window (or after you click Import if you didn't select to preview the data), it will perform the import. When it is done, it will tell you so, then close the Import window.
If errors were shown in Notepad and you printed them off, you should now go back in the original import file to each donation that had an error displayed in that printout, and decide how you wish to fix it.