When To Use It
Deduplication keeps your database tidy by smushing doubled- and tripled-up supporter entries into a single record.
How To Get There
Deduplication gives you two ways to search up possible duplicates for merging.
- Scanning your entire database for suspected duplicates to combine on either an individual or a batch basis
- Searching for specific records you've already identified (outside of the feature) as duplicates
Both of these options are available in the Supporter Package.
Why Are There Duplicates At All?
In general, Salsa's intake points -- forms that supporters complete; imports that you run -- will attempt to identify incoming supporters by their email addresses and write new information about an existing supporter to that existing record.
Unfortunately, this sort of thing is never perfect, and any database is likely to pick up some duplicate entries over time. These might result from:
- An email address is misspelled
- A record is entered without any email address
- The record is imported with duplicate-matching switched off
- An existing supporter record has been edited to change its email to an address that happens to match a different record. (Editing a record already in Salsa does not cue Salsa to search for any possible existing matches.)
What if a supporter signs up with two or more completely different email addresses? Salsa is strongly oriented around sending Email Blasts; a supporter record is, in a sense, an email subscription. Sometimes a supporter actually does want to subscribe in multiple inboxes! We suggest leaving these two different email addresses un-merged: the software does not currently have a feature to link two different email addresses' subscription preferences to a single overarching identity.
You always have the option to outright delete supporter records that you do not want anymore, but the deduplication tool will allow you to merge duplicate records ... and by merging, to retain the custom field data, donation and action history, contact records, groups, tags, chapters, and other information associated with the duplicate record.
When you click on the link labeled Deduplicate Supporters under the Supporter Management tab, you are taken to a page that gives you two options for deduplicating your list.
- The upper box allows you to scan your entire database for suspected duplicates to combine on either an individual or a batch basis
- The lower box helps you search for specific records you already know you want to merge
Each search -- using either tool -- will present you the records that Salsa thinks you might want to combine, but the search alone does not modify these records in any way: it will then be up to you to confirm the merge with your selections on a subsequent screen.
Deduplication is a one-way door. It cannot be undone. Once two records are merged, the surviving record cannot be "dialed back" to its pre-merge condition, nor can any data that was overwritten during the merge be retrieved.
Option 1: Select fields to deduplicate on (i.e., scan your entire database)
To get started, select any combination of these fields (hold down CTRL on a PC, or Command on a Mac, to multi-select) to search for suspected duplicates. We suggest trying different search parameters in different deduplication "passes" to catch as many duplicates as possible.
- First Name
- Last Name
Then, choose the number of possible duplicate sets you want to work with, and choose a deduplication type -- either
- Individual deduplication (you'll click separate "merge" buttons for every different duplicate set); or,
- Batch deduplication (you'll click a single "merge" button to combine all sets at once)
Once you've set all the knobs and dials, click to see what Salsa searched up.
Option 2: Search for supporters to deduplicate (i.e., target some specific records you've already found that need merging)
Here Salsa assumes that you already have an idea of two records that you want to merge. Perhaps you've run across them accidentally on the supporter list, or you've heard from the supporter that they're receiving a double email subscription.
You'll be presented two different sets of supporter fields to search out the two records you intend to merge using
- Supporter KEY
- First Name
- Last Name
Next, click to see the records Salsa has identified, and proceed to the Duplicate Report step where you will complete the merging.
Regardless of how you searched in the first step of the deduplication process, you'll next be shown sets of suspected duplicates. Each set contains the following information about each of its constituent supporter records:
- ID - The Supporter KEY for the individual record. Click this number to navigate to the full supporter record, if you need to investigate the duplicate candidate further before proceeding.
- Information - Summary overview information for the supporter, including Name, Address, Email, Phone, Receive Email Status, and Chapter.
- Last Modified - Date this supporter record was last modified.
For each suspected duplicate in the set, you have the option to designate it in one of three categories for the merge:
- A primary record will be considered the most important record in the merge; other records will merge into the primary, but the primary record's data will not be deleted or overwritten. There can be only one primary record per set.
- One or more secondary records will be combined into the primary record. Secondary records' data from this record will not overwrite data in the primary record, but any additional data in the secondary record that is not contained in the primary will be appended to the primary record. All donations, tags, group and chapter affiliations, contact history (including email opens and clicks), action, and event history in the secondary record will also be reassigned to the primary record.
- A record set to ignore will not be combined in the merge process at all.
To merge a set of suspected duplicates, set the Options for the primary, secondary, and ignored records and click
The records will be merged, and the page will be refreshed without these duplicate records included in the report.
A note about addresses:
The merge process will not create additional physical/mailing addresses against the Primary record. It's often assumed that the Secondary record's address will be appended to the Primary record as an additional address, but that's not the case.
If the Secondary record has an 'Alternative Email' address, and the Primary record's 'Alternative Email' address field is blank, then that email address will be inserted into the Primary record's 'Alternative Email' field.
If the Secondary record does NOT have an 'Alternative Email' address, then the merge will check to see if the Secondary record has a main Email address which differs from the Primary record's Email address. If so, and the Primary record's 'Alternative Email' field is empty, then the merge will insert the Secondary record's main Email address into the Primary record's 'Alternative Email' field.
Merging Duplicate Records from Inside a Supporter Record
Outside of the Deduplicate Supporters navigation menu option, you also have the option to initiate deduplication while viewing any individual supporter record.
To do so, click Find duplicates in the supporter profile.
You'll be immediately directed to the Search for supporters to deduplicate from (with the supporter record's data already pre-populated). For the second record, enter as much of the following data as you have, and proceed with a normal merge process from there.
Reversing The Merge Process
Unfortunately, there is no way to undo a merge. Once the deduplication tool has merged two (or more) records, Salsa does not keep the secondary record(s). Since all of the data has been merged into a single record, there is no data to restore from.