Using the Flex Importer

In this article:


This article provides a high-level overview of the import process in LGL. Click into the help topics listed at the end of the article to read detailed instructions on any part of the process.

Watch a video overview of how the Flex Importer works (7:13 minutes):

Importing – the big picture

You can import new constituents and all the data you have about them into LGL, and you can import data that updates existing constituent records that you've previously entered manually or imported.

NOTE: It is not possible to delete or remove data using the Flex Importer. Data can be replaced or overwritten in some fields using the Flex Importer, however, as described here

We’ve designed the data migration process to be as self-service as possible and offer help articles on all aspects of data migration and using our Flex Importer tool to import your data, available in the final section of this article. A good place to start, if you're getting ready to migrate your data, is with these two articles on preparing for data migration and how to migrate from your current system to LGL:

Preparing for Migration
Migrating to LGL from your current system

These articles describe the kinds of data that can be imported into LGL and share examples of how your data should be organized:

Flex Importer FAQ: What kinds of data can be imported
Data Dictionary: A list of fields in your LGL account and a description of each
Sample Import File: A sample file so you can see how to form your columns and what data should go in them

Requirements for your import file

  • Your data must be either in Excel or CSV format; CSV is preferred, but Excel also works (for files under 1MB in size)
  • Give each of the column headers in your spreadsheet a unique name. This will help you map your data to the fields in Little Green Light.
  • The first row of information in the spreadsheet should contain the name of each field to be uploaded in its own column. See below for an example.

    NOTE: Any imported date fields should be formatted using a four-digit year to prevent errors. The preferred format in LGL is YYYY-MM-DD.

3 steps for migrating data

Migrating data into LGL involves these steps:

  1. Prepare your data for import
  2. Upload your file(s) and map your columns to the correct LGL fields
  3. Review and commit the data to your LGL account

Prepare your data for import

This is usually the most time-consuming step. If your data is in a database already, you'll need to export it so you can work with it in Excel or another spreadsheet program. Saving your file to .csv format (comma separated value) is best, though xls and xlsx files work too. It might help to see what a good import file should look like. You can download a sample Excel file from our article Compare your import file to a sample version.

Upload the import file and map to LGL

On the Home > Flex Importer page, click the “Import a file” button and select your import file from your computer. Click the “Upload file and go to step 2” button. See “Upload your import file” for details.

Set up your record matching and updating preferences for this import file. Then review the data mapping in your import file to the fields in LGL.A preview window will show in real time how records will look in LGL once imported. Toggle through some of the records to spot check. You can make updates to the mapping before moving to the next step if needed.

Review and commit the data to your LGL account

Once you’re satisfied with the mapping, click the blue “Save and go to Step 3” button in the bottom-right corner of the page. Your file will be prepared for import but not yet added to your LGL account. Once it is complete, you can accept or reject it, modify the mapping, or selectively reject just new or updated records. See the mapping articles in the list at the bottom of this article for detailed instructions.

NOTE: If you don't commit (or save) the import, it will appear as an alert on your Dashboard:

Previewing records and saving time with templates

To preview your records, review the Record Preview that is displayed to the right of your field mappings, as shown here:

To create a template from your import mappings that you can re-use for future imports, please follow these instructions.

Detailed instructions on using the Flex Importer

Click into any of these help articles for more detailed instructions on importing in general and for importing specific kinds of data.

When your import experiences errors

The Flex Importer displays error messaging that makes import errors (specifically, gift import errors) obvious when they are present. The presence of one or more errors in an import is always an indication either that sufficient data did not exist or was invalid in your import spreadsheet. 

You should review your import for errors and determine whether they’re acceptable to you, remembering that any data for which an error is present will not load into your account.

To fix errors in your import, you can reject the import if is not complete or undo the import if it is complete. Then fix your data and re-import your spreadsheet.