Importing Tips and Troubleshooting Guide

Importing Tips and Troubleshooting Guide

The following are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you begin to import your data into GiftWorks.   In addition to reviewing these tips, be sure to read the Impor Guide (attached below) for additional information on the Import process.


1. BACK UP YOUR DATABASE BEFORE IMPORTING - To back up your database, go to Settings >Importing, Exporting and Data Management>Manage your GiftWorks Database


  • Remove all formatting: To eliminate issues, we recommend that you clear all formatting on your Excel file. After you clear the formatting, you can reapply date formats and text formats (for zip/postal codes) etc.  See Below:
    • Dates should be full dates: GiftWorks recognizes only dates with month, day and year (for example, 02/28/1969). If you have dates that are only month and year or only year, you will need to modify them.
    • Format zip/postal codes: If any of your donor zip codes contain a leading zero (example 01111) you will need to format the excel file to retain the leading zero’s. 
    • There must not be any merged cells in the Excel file you are importing. This type of formatting will not allow the data to import properly and whole columns or rows of data will fail to be imported.
  • Remove spaces: If your column headers have leading or trailing spaces remove them. For example, use [FirstName] instead of [ FirstName ]. There are free tools that you can find online that can help you remove leading spaces, etc.
  • Remove special characters: Remove any characters (slashes, ampersands (&), colons, semi-colons, dashes (-) and other symbols and punctuation from the data in the column headers and worksheet names. Stick to letters and numbers for your column headers.
  • Use distinct column headers: Make sure the header for each column is unique. Be sure that you have a header for each column that contains data.
  • Limit the column headers length: Keeping your column headers to 25 characters or fewer is a good idea.
  • Limit the Field length: GiftWorks limits the length of the information it imports into each field to the length of that field in GiftWorks (see Appendix A: Importable Fields or Appendix B: Import Quick Reference in the Import Guide). No matter how big the field in GiftWorks, the maximum length of information GiftWorks will import is 500 characters for a single field. So, if you’re importing a Note, although the GiftWorks field is a Memo field that accepts any length of data, the importer only imports up to 500 characters.
  • Donor Groups: You can create new Donor Groups or importing into existing Donor Groups.  
  • Include Address Name Field: (or Phone, Email Name) when importing to UPDATE addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.



If you are having issues with data NOT importing, try the following:

  • Review all of the tips above
  • Create a new excel file and copy/paste data into that file
  • Create a new excel file and manually type in the column headers and the first row of data
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