When to use it
Existing donation records can't be directly modified through the Salsa headquarters interface the way you'd modify, say, the supporter record.
We have a whole guide to importing donations data here. The concepts in that guide should throw some light on interacting with donations data via the importer, but the guide itself focuses mostly on adding donations en masse via an import (for instance, importing the week's batch of snail-mail check donations).
Updating a Salsa data row from an outside file
Conceptually, what we're going to do is find a row of Salsa data -- on the donation table in this case, though it could be any other table -- and use data on an outside file to modify it.
The importer is the tool that lets us tell Salsa to make this kind of file-based update.
Using the Importer to Change Data
All Salsa data, no matter what table it resides on, is identified by a tablename_key number that's completely unique. Each supporter has a unique supporter_key. Each donation has a unique donation_key. (You'll notice that the donation record in the screenshot above also has a supporter_key. That number tells Salsa which donor made this particular gift.)
To update data via the importer, whether that's one field in one record or many fields in thousands of records, we're going to reconstruct the path in that screenshot for your data.
Step 1: Identify the table_key number of the record(s) you intend to change
For a single donation like our example, that's just a matter of looking at the target record in your Salsa headquarters. Key numbers will be shown in the leftmost column when you list Salsa data; they'll also be visible in the url when you view the details for a specific record.
This key number is going to become the "key" that unlocks the file when we import. So to start with, just copy it into the first cell of a spreadsheet.
In this example, the key 1803637 in cell A2 indicates that all the other data we subsequently add to row 2 will modify record 1803637 when we import. (Note that the column headers in row 1 in this example are optional; you need not include column names in your own file, and if you do include them, you need not name them in accord with Salsa's own field names.)
If there are two or three records to update, just find the unique key numbers for the second and third records, and add them to your spreadsheet as additional rows in the same column.
If you intend to make a batch update of many records, you might want to take a shortcut here by exporting key numbers en masse from Salsa via a report, and using those to begin your import file.
2. Add to your import file the data you intend to write into Salsa
Once key numbers are in place, we'll just need a second column in the spreadsheet reflecting the data you wish to update.
In our example screenshot, we want to reclassify donation 1803637 with the tracking code new-code. So, in cell B2 (the next column for the row beginning with 1803637), we just enter the text new-code.
Extend as desired.
- If there are many different donation_keys to update (besides just 1803637), copy the tracking code and paste it all the way down the spreadsheet column.
- If there are many different fields to update (besides just tracking code), create additional columns for each field, and drop in the appropriate data updates in those columns.
3. Execute the import
With the full import file of keys, tracking codes, and whatever else set up, it's time to translate that data into Salsa via the importer.
3a. Make your data into an importable delimited file
If you've done steps (1) and (2) with a spreadsheet application such as Excel, you'll have to make your data import-friendly by saving it as a delimited text file (such as a comma-delimited .csv file, or a tab-delimited .txt file). It's probably as simple as doing a save-as in your spreadsheet applicatin; see this documentation, or this video guide.
3b. In your Salsa headquarters, navigate to the importer
You'll find it in your Supporter Management tab, under Imports >> Import Supporters.
3c. Complete the first step of the import process
There are three things you'll need to do on this screen:
- Browse for and select the saved import-ready file you created in (3a);
- Designate the field delimiter used by that import-ready file (this is the most frequently overlooked step); and,
- Write in the Salsa table name you intend to target with the import. For donations, the table name to write in is donation (singular). For other imports, consult this list of Salsa's most frequently used tables.
Once you've done all this, hit the "Save and Continue" button. We're almost there!
3d. Complete the second step of the import process
In step 2 of the import process, you should see two columns: a list of the fields in your import file; and, for each such field, a pull-down menu of available Salsa fields from the write-in table you designated in step one. If your data doesn't look like this, there's a problem; begin again with (3c).
In our example, we're matching the donation_key column to the Salsa field donation_key, and we're matching our second column to the Salsa field Tracking Code.
Once the fields are aligned, we're ready to go!
Just hit "Submit for Upload".
4. Confirm the update
The only thing left to do is confirm that your data updates look right. Navigate in the headquarters to an updated record and give it the old eyeball test.
Postscript: So why can't I just hit an "edit" button?
Many data rows in Salsa aren't available for editing directly in the interface simply because users so rarely want to edit them.
That's largely true of donations (how often do you retroactively alter an existing donation record?). And it's also the case that most donation records in Salsa mirror records kept in at least one external database. For instance, all online donations are recorded by the merchant gateway processor. Most organizations adding offline donations to Salsa are also recording them in at least one third-party location as well, such as a donor database or an audit log. Discrepancies among these financial records caused by casual or unconsidered data alterations can present serious accounting problems.
Disallowing easy headquarters editing while allowing updates by import is intended to filter out potentially error-prone casual updates while still allowing experienced Salsa users to make a considered change when necessary.