Using the Import Data Tool

Whether you’ve just created a Kindful account, or if you have 10,000 contacts and 
need to import more from another system, our Import Data tool allows you to effectively import contacts and transactions (donations) into Kindful.

The Import Data tool is suggested for advanced users. There isn’t a lot of error messaging in the process, so it’s not always apparent what is happening at each stage. We ask you please read the instructions carefully to ensure you move through the process smoothly.


Before you begin

This article is a follow-up to Preparing Your Data for Import, which explains our guidelines for using our import templates to bring your data into Kindful as easily as possible.

Please read through Preparing Your Data for Import before attempting to follow this article. It's very possible to make costly mistakes if the process is not followed closely.

Once you’ve read all the considerations, continue with this guide to begin importing.



This is the roadmap for where we're headed in the import process.

  1. Download our CSV templates and fit your source data into our templates (see the bottom of this article to learn about and download the templates)
  2. Import your data into your Sandbox (testing) account. Sandbox is a separate, temporary environment that allows you to verify your data was mapped into Kindful correctly before finalizing the move. 
  3. Verify your data and finalize your import to show in your live account.
  Note: once you schedule an import into your live account, there is no way to undo this step. 


Step 1 – Entering Sandbox

1. Click Contacts & Activities from the left sidebar, and then click Import Data.

2. Read the instructions thoroughly before proceeding. It’s extremely important to understand what can happen when you enter Sandbox.


3. Scroll to the bottom and click
Proceed to Sandbox.

4. Click New Import in the lower right corner.


Understanding Sandbox

Sandbox is a testing environment where the Data Import tool initially puts your data.

Think of it as a practice run. Your data is placed here first so you can see what everything will look like before you finalize the data and push it into your live account.



If you import data, and find out you did some things incorrectly, or some fields didn't translate the way you expected, no worries – while you're in Sandbox, you can wipe the pending import and try again.

We'll remind you later on to make sure you check your data before finalizing. For now, just be aware that for the next handful of steps, you'll be in Sandbox, and any changes you make will not be permanent until you finalize.

  Note: Sandbox is where you can check and verify the data you've imported. Once you finalize and leave Sandbox, there is no going back. You cannot undo an import after finalizing.  


Questions about Sandbox? Learn more here.

Step 2 – Preparing for import

Once you’re in Sandbox and you’ve started a New Import, the Data Import tool will guide you through the process.

The first step will designate what type of data you’re importing.

From the dropdown menu, there are options to select Import Contacts, Import New Transactions for Existing Contacts, or Import All New Contacts & Transactions.




Depending on which of these routes you take will allow you to download the appropriate templates. You can download them by clicking Download Template, or you can download them at the bottom of the Preparing Your Data for Import article.

Import scenarios

  • Import Contacts will give fields for contact, organization, and relationship data
  • Import New Transactions for Existing Contacts will give fields to add new transaction data to contacts you already have in Kindful. To be able to append properly, you must have a First Name, Last Name, and Email on the Contact profile in Kindful that matches those same three fields exactly in the file you are importing
  • Import All New Contacts & Transactions will not amend any existing contacts, but only add new contacts and transactions

Once the templates are downloaded, copy your data into them before proceeding to the next step.

  Note: Your data must be copied into one of our templates before continuing.  

After your data has been copied into our template(s), click I have my templates ready. Let’s go! in the bottom right.

  Tip: If you need a field that isn't in our supplied template, feel free to add custom columns, and import those as custom fields.  


Step 3 – Uploading your data

Now that you’ve readied your templates, you’re set to upload. Drag and drop your files into the box labeled Drop files to upload, or click the box to choose your files.

When the files are finished uploading, click Continue in the bottom right. 



Confirm your files.

  Note: If you're importing both contacts and transactions, and you've uploaded more than one file, assign the proper file type to the template using the Data Type dropdown.  

Click Map by each file to proceed to the mapping phase.


Step 4 – Mapping

When you start the mapping process, Kindful will automatically detect as many fields as possible from your data. The fields that couldn't be guessed will be highlighted in red.

  Tip: This will almost always be 100% successful if you use the templates we provide.  



Check the columns Kindful was able to guess very carefully. Click the
Kindful Field dropdown and select the proper field if it’s incorrect.  

Click MAP COLUMNS when you’ve finalized your choices

After you’ve finished mapping, you’ll be taken back to the upload screen. You’ll have the chance to map additional files at this point.

When you’ve completed all mapping, select Verify in the bottom right.

A sample of your data will be displayed for you to make sure it looks correct. If you approve, click I approve my mappings in the bottom right.

If something doesn't look right and you need to make changes, click Edit Mapping. 


After reading the disclaimer, click
Looks Great. Schedule my Import.


Step 5 – Verifying your data

When your data is finished being imported by our system, you’ll receive an email from with the subject line: Your Import is Ready for Review! Open this email and click Review Import.

Here's your chance. Make sure you review as much as you need to assure yourself that you've done everything correctly.

  • Check a handful of contacts to see if you can find the data you just imported
  • Take a look at your Activity and see if that's reflecting your new data correctly
  • Try filtering a search by campaign or transaction dates to see if all your transactions were imported
  • Check anywhere that may have been affected by the data you just imported


Step 6 – Finishing your import

Moving forward here means that you've spent ample time making sure all your data was imported correctly. There shouldn't be any doubt that everything looks perfect before moving forward.

After you've thoroughly combed your data, click on the go here link in the red banner across the top of your screen.


You’ll see a list of all pending imports. Click Review at the top of the list to move onto finalizing. 



Confirm the updates and click FINALIZE if everything looks good, or WIPE SANDBOX to start over.



Read through the disclaimer.

Once confirmed, click Proceed to move this data over to your live account!



After you hit Proceed, it could take a few minutes up to an hour for your data to show. If you're still not able to see your newest import after an hour, please contact support.


After your import is complete

If you have existing contacts in Kindful, and then use the Data Import tool to import new contacts, be sure to check for potential contact duplicates by going to Contacts & Activities > Contact Duplicates.


Next steps

Still have questions?

Feel free to send our support team an email, or you can call the phone number found in the lower left hand corner of your Kindful Admin account to speak to a team member. 

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