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Importing Members

Importing members is an important step for organizations that are transitioning from another membership management software to MembershipWorks. Before you import, you’ll need to:

  1. Set up your Membership Levels in Labels & Membership.
  2. Consider if you need any fields beyond the system fields we already provide. These fields should be added to Customization in your Admin template, Member Manage template and/or Member Sign-Up template.
  3. Set up Labels in Labels & Membership. For information that should be standardized such as your members’ areas of specialization or category of business, Labels are a good approach.

Reach out to us if you need guidance in this area. Once you have set up these things, you can prepare your spreadsheet to bring over your member data by following the instructions below. 

Import Assistance Available

You can send us your .CSV spreadsheet for review if you are having trouble importing or want a review prior to importing the first time. We recommend you send us the top row with the column headings and one row of fake data below it. You should not email us your complete list of members. We’ll compare your spreadsheet to your account setup and let you know what changes need to be made before you import. Please note that as this is very detail-oriented process, it may take us up to a week to get back to you.


You can import your members with a .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). 

    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

    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.

    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.

    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 properly. 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. If you have many errors we advise that you exit the import and make the necessary changes to your spreadsheet 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.
    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 1
    • 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 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 

    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

    Commonly Asked Questions

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

    For the purposes of importing you can either use one column header titled “Account Name” 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.

    I have additional details to import for my members that are not included in the list of column headers. Can I import 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 match the description you issued the custom field. For more information on creating custom fields see Help > Customization > Data Fields & Custom Fields.

    I am using the Labels feature to categorize my members into sub-groups (e.g. committees, board members, etc). Some of my members fall into more than one category. Can I import multiple Labels to a members account?

    Yes, you can import multiple labels to a members account. 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

    My member's address is stored in a single column. Can I import just a single column for their address?

    At this time you cannot import a single column for address. Rather, you should include columns for the address as follows:

    • Address 1
    • City
    • State
    • Zip
    • Country
    My members are typically businesses in which their account name should be their business name. However, we still would like to collect the contact person for the account. How do we set up our import for this?

    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 the members business name and use the systems “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 – each row below including the Business Name for the member.
    • Contact Name – the name of the individual who will be managing the account.
    We offer group/family memberships and will need to import additional contacts to the members account. How do I set this up?

    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.

    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

    For importing more than one contact per member account, you will need to separate your spreadsheets into two imports. One import will contain just the main member’s information and the second import 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 existing member records

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

    Spreadsheet with account name

    Can I set my members not to be listed in the directory when I import 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