Using the Import Data Tool


Upload donor information from a database using the Import Tool. Import a spreadsheet of contacts and/or transactions or your donor database into Kindful. 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. We ask you please read the instructions and the linked FAQ article found below carefully to ensure you move through the process smoothly. 

Linked Articles:

- Import Data FAQ

- Preparing Your Data for Import

Getting Started

  1. Download our CSV templates and fit your source data into our templates. These are found in the Kindful app in the import process. When you begin an import, you will choose what type of import you are performing. Once selected, you will be presented with an option to download that particular template.
  2. Screen_Shot_2020-10-26_at_7.37.11_AM.png
  3. Import your data into your Sandbox (testing) account. Sandbox is a separate, temporary environment that allows you to verify your data was matched into Kindful correctly before finalizing the move. 
  4. 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. 

Linked Articles:
- Please read through Preparing Your Data for Import before attempting to follow this article.  Linked Articles:Linked Articles:

- Import Tool FAQ

Step 1 – Enter Sandbox to Begin the Import

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


2. You will enter into a new page that lacks the typical menu bar on the left-hand side. You have moved into what is called Sandbox, and you will notice a link in the upper right-hand corner that will take you Back to Dashboard to exit the import flow and go back to your production account.

Screen_Shot_2019-05-29_at_11.42.45_AM.png3. In the bottom left-hand corner click New Import

Understanding Sandbox

Sandbox is a testing environment where the Import Data 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.


Import scenarios

  • Contacts CSV – for updating current contacts or adding new contacts. This file type will create NEW contact records in your Kindful account and will also UPDATE and APPEND data to your existing contacts if the First Name, Last Name, and Email are exact matches. 
  • Transactions CSV – new transactions for existing contacts. To be able to update and 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.
  • Contacts and Transactions CSV – NEW CONTACTS ONLY with accompanying transactions. Of note, this import option (Contacts and Transactions) uses two templates provided in the Import Data flow - one for contacts and one for transactions. These two separate templates must both be uploaded in the same import and imported on the same import job (upload two files). For the contact ID, you choose this; it is an arbitrary ID you create. It can be as simple as repeating the contact's name. This will associate the donors from the transactions file with the donors on the contacts file.
    • *Of note: This template type will create new contacts so please do not use it to add transactions to existing contacts.
    • If you uploaded the new contacts template separately without uploading a transactions file on the same import job, you can use the "Transactions Only (for existing contacts)" option and template. This will link the transactions to the contacts already in Kindful based on first name, last name and email. 

      The First Name, Last Name, and Email for the contacts in the import template will need to exactly match what is already in the existing contact profiles in Kindful that were created from the first import. If any of these pieces are missing or don't exactly match, then duplicate contacts may be created. 

Of Note: Append style imports will pull current contact information from Production and show you what the Contact will look like in Production, so it is expected that Sandbox will include any information for the matching contact (beyond what was included in the import file).

          Transactions will import to the default currency set on your account. 

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 Continue to Upload in the bottom right-hand corner.



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

You can also add what is referenced to as Custom Transaction fields, which will become Campaign Custom Fields upon import.



Step 3 – Uploading your data

Now that you’ve readied the templates, you’re set to upload. Drag and drop (or click to upload) your files into the blue box.

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

  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.  


Confirm your file(s) type, and then click Match by each file to proceed to the matching phase.


Step 4 – Matching

When you start the matching 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 Save Matches in the lower right-hand corner when you’ve finalized your choices.

After you’ve finished matching, you’ll be taken back to the upload screen. You’ll have the chance to match any additional files from your import at this point.

When you’ve completed all matching, select Continue in the bottom right-hand corner.

You will now see notification that the process of import has begun. We will alert you via email when this initial import to Sandbox has completed. Be sure to keep this page open, and if you need to go into your production account, simply click the Back to Dashboard button in the top right-hand corner and open that link in another tab or window.


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. On the page that loads, you can click Review in the Actions column.


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

  • Take a look at the overview of the imported data
  • Check a handful of Contacts to see if you can find the data you just imported
  • Take a look at your Activities and see if that's reflecting your new data correctly
  • Try filtering 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
  • Make sure the totals of new contact data matches the number of new contacts you were attempting to import. If some are missing you may want to check your template for errors. Conversely if you see a larger number here when you were attempting to add data to existing contacts you may want to verify you have added the email address of contacts or are using the correct template type so as not to create duplicates. 



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 Finalize Import button in the lower right-hand corner of your account.

Read through the disclaimer. Confirm the data, select the checkbox in the lower left-hand corner of the box, and click Proceed if everything looks good, or select Cancel and then Delete and Start Over to redo the process.




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

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