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Importing Members

Importing members is an important step for organizations that are transitioning from another membership management software to MembershipWorks.

Import Assistance Available

  • If you are having trouble you can send your .CSV spreadsheet to for review:
    • Include just the top header row and 1 row of fake data
    • Do not send your full list of members
  • We’ll compare your sheet to your account and let you know what changes need to be made (this may take up to 1 week)
  • Make sure to follow the steps below to prepare for your import before sending us the spreadsheet

As always, customer service is included at no extra charge 🙂 

Step 1: Create Your Membership Levels

Set up your Membership Levels in Labels & Membership. Feel free to reach out to us if you need guidance on what levels to create or how to create them!

Step 2: Categorize Your Members

create labelsSome organizations need to categorize members in a standardized way. For examples, a chamber of commerce might want to create a directory of different types of businesses including Accommodations, Dining, Attractions, etc. Each of these business categories can be set up as Labels, and members can be assigned one or more Labels during import.

See below or explore the full instructions.

How to Create Labels
  1. Go to Labels & Membership > Labels
  2. Click on + Add Label
  3. Give your label a title. To avoid confusion, do not create labels, membership levels and/or folders with the same names.
  4. Click Save
How to Apply a Label to a Member

Once you’ve created your labels, an admin can add a label to a member. From the member’s profile, click on the + Add Label button below the member’s name. To remove a label, simply click on the existing label and confirm by clicking “Delete Label”.

admin assign member labels

How to Upload Multiple Labels Per Member

To set this up you should include column headers titled “Label” for each potential label you will be assigning to a members account. You should then type in the name of the Label the member is being assigned to in the respective column. We have included a screenshot sample below.

Label import

Step 3: Create Custom Fields

customization of member sign up formConsider if you need any fields beyond the system fields we already provide. All of the fields you plan to import should first be added in Customization within your Admin template, Member Manage template and/or Member Sign-Up template.

See below or explore the full instructions.


How to Add Fields
  1. Go to MembershipWorks > Customization > Member Sign-up*
  2. Click + Add Field
  3. Add the “Description” for example, “What is your favorite color?”
  4. Type any 2 letters in “2-letter identifier”
  5. Click OK
  6. Click Save Template to finalize the change
    How to Delete Fields
    1. Go to MembershipWorks > Customization > Member Sign-up*
    2. Click on the field you’d like to delete to open it
    3. Click Remove
    4. Click Save Template to finalize the change

    * Note that you can select the Member Mange or Admin Profile template if you are editing one of them instead.

    Step 4: Prepare Your .CSV File

    When importing your members into MembershipWorks, it’s important to edit your spreadsheet to match the column headers that MembershipWorks recognizes (see “Rename Your Column Headers” below). You’ll need to save your spreadsheet in .csv format for import.

    Minimum Required Fields (including Renewal date)

    To ensure that members can log in and are set up correctly for membership billing, we would recommend that at the minimum you import the following: 

    • Account name
    • Email
    • Membership level
    • Renewal date (does not apply to free and lifetime memberships)

    Note – the column “Membership Level” should be filled out with the name of the membership level you are assigning the member to. This should be entered on your spreadsheet exactly as it was entered in MembershipWorks.

    Date Formatting

    For best results we recommend that you use the date format of MMM DD YYYY (e.g. Jan 01 2021) for date columns such as the Renewal Date column. Note – you may find that your spreadsheet program does not use this date format by default in which case you should format the cells to use the date format MMM DD YYYY. For Microsoft Excel users you can accomplish this by formatting the cells and selecting the “Custom” format option. Enter the text “MMM DD YYYY” to set the custom formatting.

    Rename Your Column Headers

    Your spreadsheet should start with the first row being the headings of the columns. You may not need some of these fields and it’s a good idea to omit unnecessary fields from your import.

    • Account name 1
    • Contact name
    • Organization name
    • Position
    • Phone
    • Mobile
    • Fax
    • Skype
    • Email 2
    • Website
    • Address 1
    • City
    • State
    • Country
    • Zip
    • Tagline
    • Profile description
    • Label 5
    • Membership level 5
    • Membership add-on 5
    • Join date
    • Renewal date
    • Directory 3
    • Public directory email
    • Privacy: do not show street address 3
    • Privacy: do not show phone number 3
    • Privacy: do not show mobile number 3
    • Privacy: do not show contact name 3
    • Privacy: do not allow messaging 3
    • Facebook 4
    • Twitter 4
    • Linkedin 4
    • Google+ 4
    • Youtube 4
    • BBB 4
    • Yelp 4
    • Pinterest 4
    • Instagram 4
    • Unsubscribe 3

    You can also import custom fields you created by providing a heading for the column that exactly matches the description of the custom field.

    1 If your spreadsheet lists your member’s names as separate First Name, Last Name columns, you can use those columns instead of “Account Name”. During import the first name and last name will be joined together.

    2 Note that if an email is not provided, the member will not be able to sign in to his/her account online because the sign in is through their email address.

    3 Custom check-box fields and yes/no fields such as Directory, Privacy fields, and Unsubscribe fields should have “Y” for yes/set and blank for no/not-set.

    4 Provide the URL to the social media account. For example “”.

    5 If you include Membership Level, Membership Add-On or Label columns, you must have already created the membership level, add-on or label under Labels & Membership. The value in the appropriate cell is the name of the label or membership level you want to assign to that row. You can assign multiple labels when importing by having more than one column with the heading “Label”.

    Sample Spreadsheets
    The following are two sample spreadsheets for reference. Note that there are two Label columns in the sample spreadsheet, and you may add more Label columns if required.

    Sample spreadsheet with name column 

    Sample spreadsheet with separate first and last name columns

    Sample spreadsheet with business name as account name (Also see “For business members, how do we collect and import the contact person for the account?” under FAQs below.)

    Handling Suffixes

    If you have suffixes such as Jr., Sr, III or professional certifications such as MD or PhD, you may import them in any of the following ways:

    • If you are using the member’s name as the “Account Name” field, include the suffix at the end of that field. For example, Jan Smith, LMSCW
    • If you are using the “Contact name” field, you can include it as part of the full name typed in the Contact name field. For example, Jon Smith, Jr.
    • You may create a column called “Name suffix” just for the suffix.
    Convert 1-Column Addresses into Multiple Columns

    If you have your address information contained all in one column, it will need to be converted into multiple fields as listed below. Watch the video to learn how to do this in Excel.

    • Address 1
    • City
    • State
    • Zip
    • Country
    Converting to a CSV File Format From Excel

    From Excel, select Save As, then select CSV (Comma Delimited) as the format.

     convert Excel to csv

    Excel may indicate that some features of your spreadsheet are not compatible with CSV, click “Yes” to continue saving it in the CSV format.

    save as csv

    Step 5: Importing and Field Matching

    You’re almost done!

    Conducting the Import and Troubleshooting

    When you are ready to import your .csv file follow these steps:

    1. Go to Members
    2. Click Import
    3. Click to select your file
    4. From here you will see a preview of the import. Scan through the preview to look for any errors marked in red. Errors typically occur as a result of a column header not being named to align with a system field or a custom field. If you only have a few errors, you can opt to click on the column header in the preview to select the field you intended to import for that column.
      Match columns to system fields
      If you have many errors, we advise that you exit the import and make the necessary changes to your spreadsheet and/or create the custom fields that you need and then attempt to reimport.
    5. Click Finalize Import
    6. Once the import is completed, spot check a few member records to ensure that the information you intended to import is correct.

    Commonly Asked Questions

    My spreadsheet has separate columns for First Name and Last Name. How do I manage this when MembershipWorks stores the member's entire name in 1 field?

    For the purposes of importing you can either use one column header titled “Account Name” that would contain the first name and last name merged together in one column, or you can use separate columns for “First Name” and “Last Name”. In either case, the member’s name will be merged into a single field for Account Name. Note that this solution is applicable for organizations that organize members by individual member name and not by company.

    I have additional details for my members that are not included in the list of column headers. Can I upload this information too?

    You can import other information into MembershipWorks. To do this you will need to create a custom field in your membership templates (under Customization). When importing you should assign the column header name to exactly match the description you created for the custom field. Learn how to set up your membership templates.

    I have past data for my members that I'd like to bring over. How does that work?

    You may import payments and notes to the Timeline under the account with the following column titles accordingly. Note that you can only upload 1 note and 1 payment of each type per row, if you need to upload more transactions you will need to use the update feature described below.

    • Membership Payment Date
    • Membership Payment Amount
    • Membership Payment Tax
    • Membership Payment Note
    • Event Payment Date
    • Event Payment Amount
    • Event Payment Tax
    • Event Payment Note
    • Event Payment Event
    • Donation Payment Date
    • Donation Payment Amount
    • Donation Payment Tax
    • Donation Payment Note
    • Other Payment Date
    • Other Payment Amount
    • Other Payment Tax
    • Other Payment Note
    • Note Date
    • Note Note
    • Note Tags

    Note: “Event Payment Event” refers to the event name. Event payments can be imported into Timelines, but they would not be associated with any event on your event calendar even if the event name is the same.

    Importing Multiple Payments/Notes Per Account

    If you have multiple payments or Timeline notes that need to be imported for each account, it would be easiest to import the accounts first, the upload the payments or Timeline notes as an update. Separate payments of each type and Timeline notes into separate spreadsheets – ie. 1 spreadsheet for all the donations, 1 spreadsheet for all the membership payments, 1 spreadsheet for all the Timeline notes, etc. Use the column headings above for the information for the payment type or Timeline note. Then add the “Account ID” column, or “Update Only” plus “Email” or “Account Name” column, so we know which account to associate that entry/row with:

    • If using the Account ID column, the row value should indicate the account ID of the member account you want to add the entry to.
    • If using the Update Only column, each row value should be “Y”, and you will need to provide either the Email or Account Name column for us to match the appropriate member account. Note that if we find more than one matching email address or account name, the entry will not be imported as we would not know which account to properly add the entry to.

    Emailing Receipts

    If you are importing payments as a batch and need to email receipts to your members, you can include a column titled “Email Receipt”, with row values “Y” to indicate that we should send out a receipt email for the payment. Note that we recommend not importing more than 500 payments requiring emailed receipts at a time.

    For business members, how do we collect and upload the contact person for the account?

    For organizations who primarily have business members, we would recommend that you structure your membership templates to use the systems “Account name” field to collect a member’s business name and use the system’s “Contact name” field to collect the primary contact name for the account. When importing your members you should structure your column headers as follows:

    • Account name – displays the Business Name; for members without business names, their name should be entered in the account name field
    • Contact name – the name of the individual who will be managing the account.

    account name spreadsheet

    How do we bring in additional contacts for businesses or family memberships?

    Each member has the capability for additional contacts to be added to their account. When importing additional contacts, the way your spreadsheet will be set up will be determined on whether you have only one additional contact that is being added to the members account or more than one additional contact.

    How to Import One Additional Contact Per Account

    To add one additional contact to a member’s account, your import can include the following column headers:

    • Alternate First Name
    • Alternate Last Name
    • Alternate Name
    • Alternate Position
    • Alternate Phone
    • Alternate Fax
    • Alternate Email
    • Alternate Address 1
    • Alternate City
    • Alternate State
    • Alternate Country
    • Alternate Zip
    • Alternate Label
    • Alternate Directory
    • Alternate Note

    How to Import More than One Additional Contact Per Account

    To import more than one contact per member account, you will need to separate your spreadsheets into two imports. One import file will contain just the main member’s information and the second import file will be to update the existing member records with their additional contacts.

    When formatting your spreadsheet for the additional contact import, you can include the same column headers listed above but will also need to include the following column headers:

    • Account Name – Set to the name of the account the contact is being added to
    • Email – Set to the email address of the member the contact is being added to
    • Update Only – Add the value Y to each row in this column to indicate the import is to update an existing member’s records

    Below is a sample of what the import for the additional contacts would look like. Download a sample spreadsheet.

    Spreadsheet with account name

    Some of our members are individuals and others are companies. How do we set that up?

    For organizations who have a mix of business and individual members, we would recommend that you structure your membership templates to use the following fields:

    • Account name – company names will go here as will individual names for those who are to be listed as individuals
    • Contact name – use this field for businsses to list the name of the person who will be managing the account. It can be blank for those who are listed as individuals

    account name spreadsheet

    Our members join as individuals, but we'd collect their company name too. How do we set that up?

    For organizations who have individual memberships, we would recommend that you structure your membership templates to use the following fields:

    • Account name – this is where the member’s name (e.g. Sally Smith, LMSCW) will go
    • Organization name – use this field to collect the company name affiliated with the individual (e.g. Family Medical Group)

    organization name spreadsheet

    Can I set my members not to be listed in the directory when I upload them?

    Yes, you can by default not have members listed in your directory unless they opt in to be a part of it. To prevent directory listing by default:

    1. Add a column to your initial member import called “Do Not List in Directory”
    2. In the “Do not list in directory” column, put the letter Y in the column for all rows

    Members can manually opt to be a part of the directory by following these instructions:

    1. Log into your account (provide them a link to your account manage page)
    2. In the Profile tab, uncheck the circle next to “Do not list in directory” 
    3. Click Save