Perform an Import Dry Run

Safety First

You’ve cleaned your data in the CSV template and you’ve checked it in the NPSP data import object, so it’s almost ready to go to its final home in contact, account, and opportunity records.

Just a couple more steps remain to check the configuration and do a dry run.

You can never be too careful with the health of your data—and you don’t want to learn that lesson the hard way. Let’s walk through the remaining steps now to make sure our final import will go smoothly.

Check the Configuration

From the NPSP Data Imports page, on the To Be Imported view, click the Start Data Import button in the upper right to go to the NPSP Data Import page.

The Start Data Import button on the NPSP Data Imports page

Let’s take a look at the right side of this page where it lists our import options.

NPSP Data Import page with the configuration options highlighted.

  • Batch Process Size, the number of records processed at a time until all records are processed, defaults to 50 and is usually fine. If you get strange errors on your import, you may want to reduce the batch process size to 10 or lower. This can fix a lot of problems.
  • In Contact & Account Matching the Contact Matching Rules default to “Firstname,Lastname,Email.” That works in most situations and we recommend using that setting, but there are options for other combinations of Firstname, Lastname, Email, and Phone, as well as unique custom IDs for contacts and accounts.
  • In Donation Matching you have options to match on several opportunity fields and then update open opportunities, create all new opportunities, or both, depending on the match.

For our configuration we’ll leave the defaults. Make sure:

  • Batch Process Size is “50.”
  • Contact Matching Rule is “Firstname,Lastname,Email.”
  • Donation Matching Behavior is “Do Not Match - No matching is attempted; new records are created.”

Perform a Dry Run

Fortunately, NPSP Data Importer allows you to check your data with an import dry run, which also checks for potential duplicate records.

Let’s go! On the NPSP Data Import page, click the Begin Dry Run button.

The NPSP Data Import page with the Begin Dry Run button highlighted.

When the dry run begins, you’ll see a status page that lets you know the current status of the dry run, the elapsed time, and alerts you to errors. This should just take a few seconds for our import.

The “NPSP Data Importer - Dry Run” status page.

Whoa. Hold up. It looks like you have an error! (Don’t worry, it’s there intentionally—we’ll take the blame for this one. You’ll see the error now as long as you didn’t work ahead and fix it when we reviewed the CSV in step 2.) Now that we know that we have something to fix, you can click Close on the status page.



NPSP Data Importer catches some types of errors—like invalid picklist values or missing values in required fields—but it doesn’t catch all formatting errors. For example, if a zip code begins with a “0” and your spreadsheet editor formatted that value as a number without the first digit displayed, NPSP Data Importer will treat it as a 4-digit number and import it.

Fix The Error

Back on NPSP Data Imports, click into the list views and select Dry Run - Errors. This list view is set up to help you sort out problems with records before the final import. Let’s fix the error now.

  1. In our example, there should be only one record with an error. It’s for Amer Shakil and the error is “Invalid Donation Donor.” Click into the record.

    The “Invalid Donation Donor” record in list view.

  2. Scroll down to the Donation Information section.
  3. The error message told us that the error was on the Donation Donor field, and we see here that Amer Shakil is listed, but the only acceptable values for the importer are Contact1 or Account1. Click the edit pencil icon (The edit pencil icon) next to the field.
  4. Select Contact1.

    The Donation information of the Data Import record with the Donation Donor picklist open and Contact1 highlighted.

  5. Scroll down and click Save.

The error is fixed and you’re ready for the final import. But first, let’s check out the matching logic on this record.

Scroll up to the Contact1 Information section and look at the Contact1 Import Status field. It says “Dry Run - Matched None,” which means the import found that Contact1 on this record—Amer Shakil—wasn’t found in the system and a new record will be created.

The Contact1 section of the record, with the Contact1 Import Status field set to “Dry Run - Matched None” status.

The account of his primary affiliation, however, does already exist. Scroll down to the Account 1 information section and you’ll see that the Account1 Import Status is “Dry Run - Matched.” That means that it won’t be created, saving the problem of a duplicate record. (You can check the existing record by hovering over the account name in the Account1 Imported field.)

The Account1 section of the record, with Account1 Import Status highlighted to show “Dry Run - Matched” status.

If you’re following along and completed all of these steps in a Playground, pick that playground from the dropdown menu below and click Verify. Next we’ll move on to our final import.