Game Planning Your Database Records Importation into Wild Apricot

Think you’re ready to import your membership and contact records into Wild Apricot?

Essentially there are four kinds of “member” fields for your membership/contact data – based on how you’re going to use them in Wild Apricot:

Common Fields (for both members and contacts)
Members-Only Fields
Internal Fields only (These are both in Common Fields and Membership Fields but are not visible to anyone other than admins)
Transaction Fields (event registrations, donations, etc.)

The point of this post is to focus on a game plan for THE DATA YOU ALREADY HAVE that you plan to import into Wild Apricot. 

Set Up Your Membership Types

Before you import any member data records into Wild Apricot, set up your membership types.

Turn Off All Automated Emails for All Membership Types

TURN OFF any emails that will be sent automatically for new membership registrations or renewals.  Turn them ALL off, you’ll turn them back on when you’re done.  Turn off the renewal reminders.  Turn off ALL membership related emails.

Otherwise, you have a decent chance of sending out a slew of emails to members that you didn’t intend to, and weren’t ready to do.  TURN IT OFF.

Take A Look At The Data You Plan to Import

Next, take a look at all the fields you have for the database records you plan to import.  It doesn’t matter if they are only membership records, you are going to want to determine which fields you want to be common for use for anything that pulls data from your new Wild Apricot database, and place those fields as Common Fields under Contact Settings.  These are fields that both contacts and members can have.  Remember, members that do not renew next year will eventually be treated as Contacts (unless they have permanently left your area of interest) so you want to retain at least the core data over there.  It’s the datafields that will populate with member or contact email validation on event registrations, donations, renewals, etc. I usually treat the following fields as Common Fields:

All Contact Info (address, phone, fax, text, etc.)

at the very minimum.  There’s no limit to this, but think it through.  What fields do you want all contacts – both members and nonmembers – to have available?  How do you want to search through these fields to send out emails?  What fields do you want to be attached to a contact’s record if they register for an event that you provide?  Or are some of those fields ONLY for members?

Identify each field you’re going to need for your import, and set them up accordingly as either Common Fields or Membership Fields.

Make sure you know how your fields in your import file match up to the data fields you have set up on Wild Apricot.

If you only have ONE Membership type you won’t need a field to identify membership type in your data.  If you have more than one Member Type, then you’ll either have to have the Membership Type in a consistent field for all records OR upload one member type record batch at a time and at the end of importing specify which Membership Type they are.

Confirm you have all the email notifications off.  Then you can import.

You can always add more fields later, and you can export your WildApricot data, massage that export and then reimport the data if you need to clean up or fix items as well.