Different Ways of Adding People to Your Database
Adding people to your database is a crucial step in getting up and running with your database. We urge you to read through this article and intentionally decide on a way forward. At the end of the article, you can find the links to your possible next steps.
(For those with current data, we offer the importing of your data as a free service to our clients. So go ahead, read through the article and then let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org what your next step will be).
Different ways to add people to your database
1. Importing your current data with a CSV file into GoDoChurch:
Use this option when you have a current list of people, either in MS Excel or another format, that you want to continue using. If you have proper data, then importing it is the easiest way to make sure you have complete profiles for each of your members.
2. Adding people manually to the system:
When you don't have a list of people that you want to add or you want to rather start a new database with more information. The system has a few options for gradually or organically adding people to your database. You can find more information on your options in this help file.
Deciding on which step to take is important. We urge you to pause for a moment and think this through thoroughly. For GoDoChurch to work well, it needs good data! Duplicates are bad; wrong email addresses are bad; not having a cell number for someone means the SMS features won't work for that congregant, etc.
The importance of proper data in a database
Your database is only as good and as powerful as the data you add to it. If you have duplicates, your reporting will be wrong. If you have too little info on a person then you won't be able to do searches based on gender, birthdays or location. Here as some aspects to consider before adding people to your database.
Considerations when adding people to your database
Before you decide on how to add people to your database, ask yourself these questions about your current data:
1) Is our data up-to-date?
If you are worried your data is out of date then perhaps now is the right time to start from scratch. Why not do a “Capture everyone's info” day at church and upload that new data into GoDoChurch?
2) Do we have duplicates in our data?
If your database has been around for some time then it is very likely you have quite a few duplicates. Now is the time to weed these out. It will be worth the effort.
3) Do we have enough info about our members/congregants?
By enough info we mean: do you have an email address and cell number for each person in your church? Having this info is important for two reasons: a) GoDoChurch relies on cell numbers to send SMSes, and email addresses to send emails, follow up notifications, and many other things. Ideally, you want to have both the email and cell number of your congregants.
But there is another reason this info is important. GoDoChurch needs a way to tell your congregants apart. By default, the system uses the unique email address (and last name) of a profile to identify them (just like Google, Facebook, etc.). This default setting means you will not be able to add people to your database if they do not have an email address.
Having said that, we realize not every church context has congregants who all have email. Because of this, we have given our churches the option to disable email as a requirement for entering people into the system (you can access this setting in your database settings). When 'require email' is deactivated the system will then use a person's last name and cell number to check for duplicates.
Here is the main point you need to grasp: you need to decide now, before you upload your data into GoDoChurch, which option best suits your context. Do most of your congregants have access to email? Then we suggest leaving the default settings as is and make the effort to gather everyone's email address before uploading your data into GoDoChurch. If, however you feel this would exclude too many people from your database, then you can disable 'require email' in your settings. Here is how: Open the main menu in GoDoChurch. Click Settings >> General. Un-tick the box that says 'Require people to have an email address'.
One last point worth mentioning: Quite a few husbands and wives will share an email address. This poses a problem for GoDoChurch since (by default) it uses last names and email addresses to tell people apart. The only way to add a couple to GoDoChurch who share an email address is to a) turn off 'require email' in your settings, and b) the husband and wife need to have different contact numbers. If they share a contact number AND an email AND a last name, unfortunately, you will only be able to add one of them to the system.
4) Is importing data the route we want to take?
Based on the considerations above, do you want to add your data or would it be wiser to add people to your database in some other way?
5) Do we want to import all our data in bulk and organise it later, or do we want to import some pre-existing lists, one at a time?
If you are a large church you probably have pre-existing lists that you would like to import. For example, you may have a list of members that you would like to add to a list in GoDoChurch called 'Members'. GoDoChurch allows you to import these kinds of lists, one at a time, and add them to a pre-existing list in GoDoChurch. If you would like to go this route then please read Step 4 in the: 'Importing data into GoDoChurch-help file.
Unfortunately, we don't offer this feature for groups. This means you will first need to add people to your database and then organise them into their groups afterwards.
If you are a small-to-medium sized church then we recommend simply importing all your data in bulk and sorting people into the correct lists and groups afterwards.
Limitations of what we can import
It is important to understand the limitations of what we are able to import into GoDoChurch: Each profile in GoDoChurch has a set of fields that you are able to populate. These fields cannot be changed, nor can you add your own custom fields. If your current data has fields not included in GoDoChurch you will not be able to import that information.
We cannot import groups. You will need to add the profiles to your database, create the groups in the Groups module and then add your members to the correct groups.
We cannot import children and families. You will need to link the families and add the children to the adult profiles after you have imported your data.