Importing Data from Viansoft Church Contribution System

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Importing Data from Viansoft Church Contribution System

The Viansoft Church Contribution System is a program that is no longer available - the authors of it seem to have completely disappeared. The DONATION program can import the donors, donations and donation categories from it, as long as your Viansoft program is still working.


Unlike some of the other conversions available in DONATION (for example from Membership Plus), the conversion cannot be done directly from the Viansoft program's database files. The reason is that those files are encrypted, and there is no way to determine what the encryption key is that could be used to decrypt them and read them directly. So the conversion can only be done if you still have a working Viansoft Church Contribution System.


To do the conversion if you do have a working Viansoft program, run that program, and first use the menu option Tools Export Giving Units. On the window that comes up, be sure to note what directory the exported file will be saved into, and also be sure to check the radio button for the export format "Fields separated by tabs". Click Export to do the export. When it is done, click Close.


If you also want to import donations and donation categories from Viansoft, repeat those steps with the Tools Export Contributions menu option in the Viansoft program.


Then you can exit the Viansoft program, run DONATION, and use the Database Import From Viansoft Church Contribution System menu option. After a message explaining what this will do, and offering to show you this Help topic, the following window comes up:




Fill in the full path and filename for the Giving Units File, either by typing it in directly or by using the Browse button to the right of it. If you also want to import the Contributions file, fill that in directly as well, or again, you can use the Browse button to the right of it.


If you wish to review the donors and donations before they are imported, check the checkbox in section 3 of the window. (This would probably be a good idea, to make sure the conversion seems to be correct.)


Then click Import. If there are errors that prevent the file(s) from being imported, you will receive messages to that effect, and the import will be stopped.


Otherwise, if you checked the checkbox in section 3, you will then be shown two windows in succession, showing first the donors to be imported from the GIVUNITS.TXT giving units file, and then the donations to be imported from the CONTRIB.TXT Contributions file. Click Import in each of those windows to continue with the import, or Cancel to cancel the import.


You will then see some final messages about the success of the import, and possibly be shown a text file showing any issues that came up in the conversion, including fields that were too long for DONATION's field sizes and had to be trimmed down.


Important: Unlike the conversions from some other programs' data, this import only adds to any existing data you have in the DONATION program. Because of that, if you run this import twice, you will be creating duplicates of your donors and donations!


One other thing is imported by this routine, that is not displayed in a window even if you check the checkbox in section 3. That is Donation Categories. You can review those imported categories, after you return to DONATION's main window, with the Maintenance Donation Categories menu option.


Possible Errors with Dates


When the program starts importing the CONTRIB.TXT file (if you choose to import it), you may get a message like "Error importing data on row 1, column postdate, data: 1/13/2016". (Of course, the first error could be on a later row number.)


This will occur if the Short Date Format set in the Region and Language tool in your Windows Control Panel does not match the format that the Viansoft program always exports the dates in, which is M/DD/YYYY. If this is the case (most likely because your short date format is D/MM/YYYY, or something similar) you need to go into that Control Panel tool, and change the short date format to be the one that works for this import, namely something in the order M/DD/YYYY. (MM/DD/YYYY is fine too!)


Note: In different versions of windows, that Control Panel tool is called slightly different things, but it should be something like "Region and Language".


Once you save that change, re-try the import, and it should work fine. When you are done with the import, you can if you wish go back into Control Panel and change the Short Date Format back to the way you had it before. (DONATION always displays short dates in that same format.)


This topic was last edited on Feb 17, 2023