How to import your data into Beacon

Updated 2 months ago

No matter where your data lives today, you can easily bring it into Beacon with our import feature.

link Importing from a spreadsheet

If your data exists in spreadsheets, you can import them directly into Beacon:

1) Convert your spreadsheet into a CSV file. You can do this in Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, and Mac Numbers.

2) Create an import template for the CSV, configuring how the data in your CSV file should flow into Beacon, and how duplicates should be handled. This is a fundamental step in making sure that your import is configured correctly. Read this article to learn how to set up import templates.

3) After saving your import template, go to Import data > Run import.

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4) Choose your template, upload your CSV. You'll see that Beacon automatically checks that the file you've uploaded matches up with the template you've chosen.

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5) Start your import. Beacon will run the import immediately. Your import will usually be finished in under 1-2 minutes, although this depends on the amount of data you're importing.

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link Importing from another CRM

If your data exists in another CRM, that's fine too! You'll first need to export the data from there as a CSV, and then create an import template for the data you'd like to import.

link Importing from giving platforms

We have out of the box support for a growning number of giving platforms. These platforms have their own guides for importing data into Beacon.

link Tips for importing

One of the useful things about Beacon's CSV importer is that you can import any kind of CSV you like!

link What exactly are you importing?

In Beacon, data is stored as "records". Records have different types, like "person", "event", "event attendee", or "payment".

When you're importing data, it's important to consider where this data should live. You should import each type of record separately.

link Considerations for different field types

You shouldn't need to do much offline editing before importing, but here's a few guidelines for the different field types: (also see the field types reference)

Person's name

  • We recommend splitting out full names into separate columns (first name, last name, etc) if they are available, but you can also import directly into the full name field if that's not possible
  • If a person already exists (based on your deduplication settings), we'll intelligently "merge" their middle name & title into the existing name, if the new first & last name haven't changed.

Short text

  • The maximum length of text is 255 characters. If you longer than this, create a long text field instead.


  • The maximum length of URLs is 255 characters.
  • You can import Facebook and Twitter "handles" without specifying the full URL. (e.g. @cjhoughton, zuck)

Email address

  • Make sure email addresses are valid. Invalid emails will not be imported.
  • All emails will be automatically converted to lowercase during the import.
  • If your email field allows multiple values, we'll add the new emails

Phone number

  • Make sure the phone number is valid. Invalid phone numbers will not be imported.
  • Beacon converts all phone numbers into the international format (e.g. +44 7792 526879) during import.
  • If your phone field allows multiple values, we'll add the new numbers

Dropdown list

  • The values in the cell should match the allowed values in your field (case insensitive)
  • If the above isn't possible (or convenient) then you can set up "option" mappings to set dropdown options for cell values (e.g. when email opt-in is "Yes", set contact preference option to "Email")
  • You can import to multi-dropdown lists - just put the values in the same spreadsheet cell, separated by a comma
  • If your dropdown list allows multiple options to be selected, we'll merge the new values uploaded with the ones that are already set


  • Checked = when the column is: true, yes, y (case insensitive)
  • Unchecked = when the column is: false, no, n (case insensitive)


  • Only valid numerical numbers will be imported. Text values like "five" will be skipped.


  • Unlike spreadsheets, percentages in Beacon are stored as numbers 1-100+, rather than 0-1+. I.e. "90" = "90%".
  • You can import with a percentage symbol in the cell.


  • If you're importing data in a currency other than your default account currency, the cell should contain either the currency symbol (£, $) or the currency "ISO code" (GBP, USD, EUR)
  • Currency values imported without a symbol or ISO code in the cell will be imported using your default currency.

Link to a user

  • The name in the spreadsheet column should match the full name or email address of an active user in your Beacon account (case insensitive)
  • If the user field allows multiple values, we'll merge the new user(s) with the existing one(s)

Link to another record

  • When you import records that link to other records (e.g. donations), try to use the most unique field possible. An email address is usually the best option.
  • If the linking field allows multiple values, we'll merge the new value(s) with the existing one(s)


  • Beacon intelligently merges addresses if they are already set on a given record. For UK addresses, the "should we merge?" question is based on a postcode match. For international addresses, this is based on the address line one AND postal code matching.

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