Importing Contacts in Salesforce

The main object that you may find yourself needing to import into Salesforce is Contacts.

Whether is a series of business cards, or a list of employees from an organization -- you may find it more efficient to IMPORT data via an import file - then to Enter the records one at a time into Salesforce.

Luckily Salesforce has native data management tools that are available to HandsOn Connect that make it easy to import (as well as to update) data records.

Salesforce Documentation

Since Importing Contacts, and for that matter organizations, is native functionality.   Salesforce has replaced its old method of importing data with its new "Data Import Wizard".   Here's Salesforce Help on working with the Data Import Wizard to import contacts (as well as other objects) into Salesforce.

Creating the Import File

When importing contacts for use with HandsOn Connect here are the required and recommended columns that should be present in your .csv file.

Contact Required Fields

First Name

Last Name

Primary Address- Options are "Home" or "Business"

Primary Phone- Options are "Home" or "Business"

             Note: Even if you don't provide a Phone number or address, these are required fields for the contact record so it will make it easier for you to manage the record later.

Volunteer Type- Options are Volunteer; Volunteer Leader; Team Captain; Disaster Response; RSVP; National Service.  All records must contain Volunteer, in addition to any of the other types selected.  Use a ; to separate the values chosen.

Organization Name-  This should be the Salesforce ID of the organization you are going to map a contact to.  You can choose to use the ID (located in the URL of the record or accessible by a report) for the Organization record you want to associated them to.  If you are using the 'bucket' model where contacts are associated with the organization "Individual" - then use the Individual Organization ID.   If you're using the household model (where a household account is created for each new contact... then leave the Organization Name field blank and the NPSP will automatically create the household account for each imported contact.


Contact Recommended (Optional) Fields

Email   (required if you want to be able to grant volunteer, volunteer leader, or partner staff login access to the contact)

Phone (Business, Home, Mobile, or Other)

Age-  If an Age is provided, the Date of Birth will be calculated. This field is only accessible to System Admins to import.

Birthdate- If you calculate this field based on the age then make sure to add an additional column called Calculated Birthdate and populate that column with the number 1  (which indicates "True")

Registration Status- Options are Registered, Not Registered, and Pending (Team Confirmation)



You can also opt to populate any of the additional fields present in the contact record such as Contact Type, Gender, Heard About Us?,  etc. For a complete list of all the contact fields you you can view the field list or look at the object directly in salesforce via setup / customize / contacts / fields

 If you would like to have a template for your import file there is a blank report that you can export that contains the columns referenced above.  Go to your Reports tab and search for Contact Import Template then export.

Creating the Import File

Importing Organizations/Contacts

Once you have the file ready to import, Go to Setup/ Data Import Wizard and follow the instructions there.  It will guide you through the process of importing new contacts  (or updating existing ones).

Confirmation of Imported Contact Records

Confirmation of Imported Contact Records

To verify that the imported data was mapped properly, you can go to the object and select the "New this Week" view from the dropdown and see that the organizations or contacts were imported correctly.

Best Practice:  When setting up a new import - do a 'test run' and import just 1 or 2 contacts.  Make sure everything is working correctly.  Then, when you're sure your import is working as expected — you can import as many contacts as you like!



When I've used the Organization Name "Individual" to import contacts my experience has been that a new organization named "Individual" is created for every contact. So I now use the Salesforce ID instead.

Larry Deckel

Yes. For any lookup fields, Salesforce now requires you to use the record ID that you wish to import. I've updated this article to reflect this. (In the past, they supported a match on a name, but that's no longer true).

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