Importing data into GoDoChurch

Please note, we are currently offering the importing of your pre-existing data as a FREE service to our clients. We want to get you up-and-running as quickly as possible, so if you are new to GoDoChurch and want to import your existing data please contact us at We would be more than happy to help. 

This tutorial will show you how to prepare your data for import either by GoDoChurch or by yourself.

STOP. If you have not read the Adding People to Your Database help file yet, do so now. It contains crucial questions regarding your data and the limitations on what you can import. Please do not skip this step.
If you have read it and thought through the process, you can continue with the checklist below.


Here is your pre-import checklist:

  1. We have up-to-date data.
  2. We have weeded out duplicates.
  3. We have decided to make/not make email a requirement based on our context, and, based on this decision, have enough info about our congregants.
  4. We have decided that importing data (rather than adding them one at a time) is the correct route to take.
  5. We have thought through whether we want to import all our data in bulk or whether we have pre-existing lists we would like to import, one at a time.


All done? Great, then you are ready to import your data.

Step 1: Preparing your data

NB: You cannot skip this step! For GoDoChurch to be able to upload your data three things need to be correct: 1) the order of the columns, 2) the format of the columns, and 3) the content of the columns.

1) Getting the order of the columns right

  • The order of the columns needs to be exactly right.
  • Click here to download an empty Excel file with the correct column order and formatting. You can simply copy and paste your data into this excel sheet. (Note: clicking the link will open a blank tab in your browser. Check your downloads folder to find the file).
  • Click here to view in Google Drive an empty Excel file with the correct column order and formatting. (Note: you will need to copy the columns layout from this file as it is a read-only file).
  • It is important to understand that even if a column is empty you need to include it in the file. You cannot delete any of these columns. If you don't have any data for a specific column just leave it blank.  

2) Getting the formatting right

  •  Each column in the file needs to be in a text format (as opposed to a number, date, or currency format). 
  • The file needs to be saved as a CSV file. To do this click 'save as' in your document editor and select 'CSV' under file type.

  • Pay special attention to the format of the birthday and anniversary fields. The format is DDMMYYYY. No spaces. No forward slashes. And if the date begins with the numbers 1 - 9, it needs to include the zero at the very front. So 09101978 is correct but 9101978 is incorrect. Cell phone numbers also need to include the zero at the start. So 0723334444 is correct. But 723334444 is incorrect.

  • The correct formatting for the marital status column is one of the following options: Married, Divorced, Single, Widow, Widower.

  • The correct formatting for Male or Female column is M or F.

3) Getting the content right

  • There are certain columns that must have data in them before GoDoChurch can import that profile. Which columns are required depends on whether you have chosen to either enable or disable the 'require email' setting. If 'require email' is on (this is the default setting), then the following columns are required: first name, last name, and email address. Any contacts in your database without this info will not be uploaded.
  • If 'require email' is off (i.e you have changed the default setting), then the following columns are required: first name, last name, mobile number.

If you want to import your file yourself continue to Step 2, otherwise email us your file at for import. Then jump to the 'Adding new imports to a list using the Search module'- heading below.

Step 2: Importing your file

  • Open the Import Database module by clicking Database >> Import Database on the main menu.
  • Click Import New File and select the CSV file you would like to upload. NB. Note: If the file has no errors or warnings it will be uploaded automatically, so make sure everything is in order.

  • Once you have selected the file it will be uploaded. This may take some time depending on the size of the file you are uploading. In order to see the file in the file list, you need to click Refresh File List.

Step 3: Check for errors or warnings


  • GoDoChurch automatically checks your file for errors or missing info. 

  • If your file has no errors or warnings it will be uploaded automatically showing the message "Your file has been imported successfully."

  • You can view your imports by clicking More >> View Imports.

  • If your data was imported successfully jump down to 'Step 4' below.

  • If your file had errors or warnings the file will not be imported. You will need to fix or indicate that you wish to ignore the warnings before you can import the data.

There are two types of errors or warnings that can occur:

1. Errors: These are show-stoppers. A file will not be able to move on to the import stage if there are these kinds of errors.

  • You can view these errors by clicking More >> View Errors.
  • You will then see the records that caused the errors and the reason.
  • You can either delete these records from the file by clicking Delete, or delete the entire file, fix the errors in the original file, and then re-import it.

2. Warnings: These kinds of errors are not show-stoppers. The file can still be imported with these errors present. 

  • These are generally errors relating to data in an incorrect format. Note: If you choose to go ahead and import your data without fixing the warnings then those fields that are in the wrong format will not be imported.
  • You can view these errors by clicking More >> View Warnings
  • The only way to fix these warnings is to delete the file, fix the errors in the original CSV file, and then upload it once again.


Step 4: Adding your data to a list


Once you have imported your data you have the option of adding the info on the imported file to a list in GoDoChurch. This is very useful if you have, for example, a pre-existing list of members, or a list of everyone in your worship ministry, who you would like to add to a "Members List" or a "Worship Ministry" list in GoDoChurch.

To add imported data to a list:

  • Click More >> Assign to List

  • Then select the list to which you would like to add the data.

Please note the following important things:

  • The list needs to exist in GoDoChurch before you can add info to it. 

  • You cannot add parts of a file you are importing to a list. It's either the whole file, or nothing. This means if you want to use the feature of syncing imports with lists as a way of preserving pre-existing lists, you will need to import these lists one at a time. 

  • Adding people to a list this way does not over-write the list. It simply adds people to the list. So if the list had 5 people in it, and you add 5 more, it will have 10 in it afterwards.

  • If you import a profile into GoDoChurch that already exists in your system, GoDoChurch will not update info about the person. All the system will do is add info that was not previously there. For example, if the profile had no birthdate but the imported data does, this info will be added to the profile. NB: this means you cannot use the import feature to update profiles in GoDoChurch.


Adding new imports to a list using the Search module

If you would prefer not to add people to a list using the list sync feature there is one other approach available to you - you can add people to a list using the Search module.

To add data to a custom list using search:

To add data to a custom list using Advanced Search:

  • Import whatever data you would like to into GoDoChurch.

  • Open the Advanced Search module from the main menu: Database >> Advanced Search.

  • Search for the set of people you want to add to a list. For example, if you want to add all the men to a 'Men's Ministry' list then search for all the men by clicking on Gender and then selecting 'Male' from the Gender drop-down list.

  • Click Search

  • Next, click the Select all button on the top left of the list of profiles. This will select everyone in your search.

  • Click Bulk Actions and then click Sync people to. A pop up will appear allowing you to choose which list you would like to sync.

  • Select the list and click Sync.

  • Note: there is a checkbox that allows you to reset the list. If you select this all previous records in that list will be removed and it will be repopulated with your current selection.


Other useful info

  • When a record is imported, if a matching profile is found, the info being imported will be added to that profile. If that matched profile already has information stored in it that information will NOT be overwritten. Only fields which are empty will be populated. This means you cannot simply import an updated set of data in an attempt to update your database.
  • You can import as many files as you like including the same file over again. Duplicate records will not be imported.
  • When a profile is added to GoDoChurch it will always have the membership status of 'Visitor'. You will manually need to change this for each profile on the Basic info tab of that person's profile. 

What is the next step after importing my data?

Once you have imported your data you will want to start organising it into lists. The three help files that explain how to do this are:


Correct file structure


NB: The image below explains the file structure. It is not a screenshot of what the file will look like when you open it.


Do you have feedback about the Importing database feature? We would love to hear from you! Email to share your thoughts.