This is a "basic" data migration. Some systems allow a backup version of the entire database to be exported, but some have more limited export options which makes migration, well... more limited.
The following sources can be migrated and we have worked with these already so we know what to expect: Logos II, Fellowship One, Shelby v5, ACS, CCB, Church Office Online, Church Windows, Power Church, Servant Keeper Planning Center Online, Shepherd's Staff, CDM Plus and CMS. If you are coming from another source, what type of backup or export can be attained will determine what data will be able to be migrated. *Companies change versions of their software which may modify migration capabilities. Keep reading below to find out what is typical.
Time expectations? Once we receive your uploaded data file(s), we typically run the initial migration within 1 to 2 weeks. You can then review it and if there are not any issues and you are ready to start using the new system, you can be off and running. If you prefer more time to learn the new system, we can schedule another migration run with your updated data anytime in the future. We prefer to run the final migration within 12 weeks of your purchase.
What if we have 2 systems or more? We don't import more than one source. You'll need to pick one that you value the most, which is often the one with contributions. Data accuracy is another consideration. Some churches export data from the main source into a spreadsheet, then update records manually with data from another source before sending the spreadsheet to us. You do have the option of using the built-in import option to add additional people records and or additional fields after the final data migration.
Data migrations TYPICALLY include the data listed below. However, you will need to speak with the sales team to find out what can and cannot be migrated. In rare cases, there may be additional fees. Further below is an overview of the data migration process and a detailed explanation of the process.
First and Last Name
Goes By or Nickname
Primary Email & Secondary Email
Phone Numbers (Home, Mobile , Work)
Dates like Birth. Baptism, Membership, Created, and Anniversary unless they are custom fields.
*Migrated into groups which is the recommended way to organize these in our system.
**As long as the source database structure enables migration.
Current Status (Member, etc.)
Amount of Contribution
Date of Contribution
Family Member tracked separately flag (not all systems)
Not Typically Migrated
Events and Rooms
Group Details or Properties
Documents or Background Checks
Follow-ups or Prayer Requests
Successful migration requires deliberate collaborative efforts by both you and us. Migration occurs in phases to allow time for you to validate your data. Your Data Champions Team should be included in the process of validation and training, rather than just informed when the data migration is complete.
Detailed 3 Step Process
1 - Initial Data Migration
The first run of data migration is called Initial Data Migration (IDM). On your scheduled IDM Date, an initial migration is performed. The IDM does not change or delete information in your current system.
Once you’ve been notified that your IDM has been completed, you and your team will begin verifying data accuracy. First, you will verify that your data has been migrated accurately by comparing what migrated into the new system versus what is recorded in your current system. Please complete this data validation before making any changes in the new system. You will need to review any automatic system configurations created in the IDM process. The validation effort will ensure accuracy and complement your other training efforts.
Even though you see your data in the new system, you may continue using your current system until your Final Data Migration is complete. Even if your data migration mapping choices have been finalized, we recommend taking the time to learn the system, making implementation decisions, testing, and preparing your team before you complete a Final Data Migration and go live. However, if you are ready to get started right away, the IDM can be your FDM.
2 - Sandbox Phase
After initial data migration and subsequent adjustment migration runs if needed, a copy of your data remains temporarily in the new system. On a later date, when the final data migration is run, all the data in the new system will be purged and replaced with the most current data from your current system. The time between these two dates provides a "sandbox" training environment in the new system during your implementation process. The Sandbox Phase is an ideal time to practice using the new system and defining your processes.
We recommend 4 to 16 weeks of learning and planning before going live. The average church goes live in the 8 to 10 week range.
You can practice in the new system with your own data and practice entering new data without risk. During the Sandbox Phase, please remember to only enter data into the new system for practice, as all data and configurations/settings will be purged on a later date.
3 - Final Data Migration (FDM) and Go Live
After taking the time to learn the new system, making implementation decisions, testing, and preparing your team, a final data migration can be executed. The scope of migrated data and configuration is the same as Initial Data Migration. FDM purges all data from the new system and replaces it with a copy of the most recent data you upload. FDM does not remove or delete data from your current system. You can save it or export it as an archive copy in case you need it later.
This is the moment your church ceases to use your current system and begins to use the new system exclusively. During the review period of this final run, you should not edit either database between the final data migration and your final sign-off. Please consider the impact of this change carefully. You will want to have planned accordingly and be ready to communicate with your staff, volunteers, and congregation as desired.
Successful churches pre-schedule their FDM to occur at the end of their team’s implementation planning process, just before the team switches to the new system.
Here is the schedule surrounding FDM:
- All data entry must be completed in your current system prior to data migration.
- Both your current system and the new system must be left idle on the day(s) of migration.
- The new system will be ready for validation immediately following migration.
- We recommend that you validate your data in the new system compared to your current system data, just as you did after the Initial Data Migration. If you see any discrepancies, please contact support with a detailed explanation of what information was not imported correctly, allowing us to make corrections as quickly as possible.
- After validation, you sign-off, then we give you the go-ahead for your team to begin using the new system to complete any additional setup and data entry in preparation for Go Live.
Once your Final Data Migration is complete and your data validated, you will announce to your team that your church is now Live with the new system. It is at this point that the new system becomes your authoritative database. From this day forward your team will use the new system for all data management.
Here are a few things you’ll want to do right after your FDM is signed off on:
- Assign correct permission roles to all needed users
- Check and update settings if needed
- If you are using our Online Giving, follow the instructions to integrate it with the new system.
- Start data clean up if necessary (edit, merge, move, split, etc.)
- Set up groups by changing names, adding groups, and adding members and leaders to groups or deleting unneeded groups
- Check all group settings and create and assign group Categories and Properties
- Setup any needed Interaction types, workflows, etc.
How to Delete Inactive Records
Be very careful. One of the biggest risks is deleting records with current year giving and not being able to send them giving statements.
In the new system you can view a list of everyone in a group and then delete them all or just check certain names from the group and delete them in mass. However, there is not a field in the system for Last Contributed by Household, so it is very risky to delete people in mass without deleting people with contributions.
One option is... before your final data migration, create a Group, Mailing List, or set a field value that is being migrated in your current system if you have the ability to do so, then delete all the people in the Group, Mailing List, or with that field value in the new system after the final conversion.
Typical Steps to delete records:
- Create a Mailing List or new Group that you know is part of the migration such as “TEMP - Inactive Records to be Deleted.”
- Filter the individuals in your database using the criteria you determine important such as Last Contributed and/or Last Attended. You want to make sure you are not deleting anyone who has current year giving, so include the Last Contributed by Household field if one is available.
- Example filters:
- Status is something like No Longer Attending AND Last Contributed by Household is less than 1/1/2017 depending on how many records you want to delete.
- Custom Search if you have the ability to do this: Using filters similar to Status of Inactive or No Longer Attending or Giving.
- Be very careful, because people in the same household may have different statuses and you could end up deleting just the parents or just the children.
- Once the list is checked and finalized, then add the individuals to the Mailing list or Group you created for this purpose.
- To double-check your new Groups, Mailing List, or field, run a Contribution report in your current system to verify that none of them have current year contributions or a current status. Run a Giving report that filters for people in the Group or Mailing List to verify that none of them have current year contributions.
- Deleting in the new system:
- Click on Groups, then click the group to be deleted.
- Click the check all box at the top left to select everyone in the group.
- Click the gear and select Delete People From Entire System and click OK to all the prompts.
- Delete the temporary group itself (it should be empty now).
Before your final conversion, we recommend thorough testing in at least one of your interim runs to make sure you didn’t accidentally delete records with giving. After you review the interim conversion run for overall data accuracy and there is nothing needing to be fixed, test the deletions. First, delete the records using the above steps, then run reports for current year giving totals in both system to make sure they match.