Contact files come in all different shapes and sizes and at Ecanvasser we have learnt to love all of them. However, common support questions we are asked can be traced back to an issue with a Contact File upload. As such, spending a little bit of time ensuring that your file is formatted appropriately, is well worth the investment - potentially your entire Database will rely on this file, and it’s format!
We want to make the uploading of your contact file into Ecanvasser as seamless as possible so we've added a few Excel tips to get you started. If you do run into any issues, please contact Support.
Contact File Import Preparation:
Make sure to have homogeneous columns. This means that where possible make sure there is only one data point per each column.
Example: Unit Number, Street Number, Street Name, City, State etc.
If you have data merged into one column you can use the Text to Column function in Excel to separate data from one cell into two, you just need to decide what you're using to break the columns (e.g. a space or comma). When doing this, data will shift and overwrite data in columns to the right, so you may wish to cut and paste the column you plan on using this on to the right hand side of your data set.
You can also use the Concatenate formula in excel to merge data together from separate cells into one.
The Concatenate function is one of Excel's text functions. It is used to join two or more words or text strings together. For example, sometimes data distributed over multiple columns in an excel spreadsheet is more efficient to use when combined into one column.
Adding a Contact ID acts as a contact specific identifier, which could help with data management throughout your campaign.
NB * Before importing your Contact File, take a look through the data and try to gauge what data points you really need to include during import. Depending on the size and context of your campaign you may decide to keep all of the data points but in some instances, you may find it is not necessary to import them all.
If your contact file doesn’t contain all the information you would like. You can use Custom Fields to add certain data points, which you may wish to track or help with segmenting your data.
Custom Field Suggestions: Contact Preference, Party Member, Residency Type, Yard Sign.
* We have a special field for Election/Voting History
You can track the data through custom fields whilst canvassing or you can pre-populate your voter file with this data before import.
For example, you might want to track a particular data point but don't have any information at the moment. As such, you might want to create a column in your excel for import that you populate for all contacts with something such as Unknown or False - your canvassers can then update this information while in the field.
Filtering for NULL Values
In Ecanvasser you can filter a data point for a value. For example, if when you import your a column for an Election, those who voted are marked with an X, but those who did not have a blank cell, you will only be able to filter for those who have voted, not those who have not.
As such, you may wish to update your database in excel to allow you to do so. To do so (assuming your elections column is column A), simply insert a new column, and insert this formula in to the first row of it: =IF(A="X","Yes","No")
Filtering for X of Y
In Ecanvasser, you can filter for a voter who has voted in Election A, B, & C. Or you can filter for A, B, or C. If you wish to filter for someone who has voted in 2 of those 3 elections, you'll have to do a little work in excel to achieve this. Again, assuming your elections data is in columns A through C, you formula would appear something like this: =IF(COUNTIF(A1:C1,"X"),"TRUE","FALSE")