Ecanvasser Contact Merge will allow you import and merge new files without a Contact ID.
To do so efficiently, it is best to familiarize with the different options to do so.
When you upload any File after your first, you can assign column headings as you had previously. In doing so, you will want to ensure that you include:
First & Last Name (and Date of Birth if possible)
All Address/House information (including Precinct)
When you select Import, you will be presented with two options:
This is appropriate whereby the import of your new file is not expected to conflict in anyway with your existing data - all contacts contained therein will simply be added as new contacts.
An example of when this would be if you had been using Ecanvasser for some time as a candidate for local council, but then wished to continue to use the same campaign for a run at regional assembly or national parliament. You might have already had Precinct 1 uploaded to your campaign, and now wish to add Precincts 2 through 6.
Inversely to the above, in this situation your boundaries haven't changed at all, so you'll expect a lot of conflicts.
This is appropriate when you're updating a single file that you expect to mostly overlap. Where it's particularly useful is if you receive an updated Contact File for your area every month/year.
In this case, in situations whereby:
A name and address from the new file match those of the new file, no action will be taken
A contact is present on the new register, and no contact of that name was present on the old register, they will be created and added
A contact is present in the new register, and a contact of the same name existed in the old register but at a different address, a conflict will arise
Upon completion of the import, you receive a notification if any conflicts arose.
Click on the notification to view the conflicts page.
Down the left hand side of the screen you will see all conflicts from your recent merge. When you click on any of these, you will be presented with potential resolutions on the right hand side.
Consider the following example: Mr John Smith lived in House A on the old register, does not live in House A on the new register, but a Mr John Smith lives in House B on the new register.
When we select Mr John Smith on the left hand side, we must choose whether to merge him into the previous record (all data will be kept, and the old Mr John Smith will move house), or simply to enter our Mr John Smith as a new contact, while also keeping the old entry.
This does involve some level discretion, as it is impossible for any system to automatically know if two Contacts are the same based solely on name and address. You can however take a few steps to ensure such conflicts are resolved in as accurate a manner as possible:
Cross reference household occupants - if we check and see that the old Mr Smith lived with a Terry Smith; and that this is the same but both are at a different address in the new file, we can say with a high level degree of certainty that we should merge these contacts
Check if we have contact information for the old version of Mr Smith; perhaps we can contact him to confirm his current address
Members of your local organisation can use local knowledge to help point you in the right direction
Once you resolved conflicts as outlined above, you'll have to make some tougher judgement calls as to how to proceed with the remaining few outliers:
Keep both the old and new John Smith and potentially have a duplicate entry
Merge the old into the new and potentially have interaction data attached incorrectly
Insert the new John Smith, and delete the old one
Deleting Old Contacts
Once you've completed your merge, you might have a few stragglers from your old file still in your database that you wish to remove (for example, if we took the third option in the above paragraph).
Clearing up your database is simple - all contacts in your Ecanvasser campaign are tied to a Contact File, specifically the newest file they were present on. As such, if you'd like to identify the potential duplicates, those who have moved out of the area, etc. and delete, simply:
Navigate to the Contact tab
Filter for your Old Contact File
Select All Contacts
Effectively what you're doing in this situation is deleting all of the contacts who have been removed from the electoral register since you last updated (usually due to a death, or a person having moved and re-registered outside of your area).
If you wish to be a bit more cautious, feel free to add additional filters to exclude certain contacts. For example, you might want to filter for Raised Issue - Yes also, to ensure no Issue gets deleted along with its contact; and this will also allow you another opportunity to check in with a contact to confirm if they have or have not moved!
Check out our handy De-Duplication Tool for confirming and merging when a contact is a duplicate in your database.
If you have any additional questions contact email@example.com