Migrating to any new computer system is a major undertaking. It is essential that good planning, good communications and good project management are employed to ensure a successful migration and a beneficial post-go-live experience. Although the actual migration can take place quickly, the embedding of the new system into the culture and practice of the organisation can take months after the go-live date. Good communications and careful planning will minimise any cultural issues that impede a successful migration. There is a strong tendency for organisations to keep doing things “the way we have always done it” and thus to fail to reap the full benefits of a new system.
When planning the migration, think in terms of;
- Users & Roles
- Training by role
- System Acceptance
This document outlines guidelines for ensuring that you don’t overlook key data and that you can have confidence in the migration.
The data you are migrating will be unique to you. But the structure will be similar across most fundraising platforms.
Think about the obvious to the less obvious;
- Names and Addresses
- Phone numbers and email addresses
- Record status (Is the person active)
- Join date and contact source
- Key indicators like gender and birthdate
- Financial Histories including appeals and events
- Receipt history (can we recreate a receipt)
- Then secondary addresses
- Companies, Schools or organisations
- Roles and contact types
- Documents sent
- Appeals or campaigns sent to the contact
- Preferences and Profiles
It is vital that examples of all the main types of contacts in your database are checked. You only have to check between 5 and 10 to be sure that the data is “looking” good. Confidence builds as you see the data is consistently correct. You will do a detailed check later in the process when you do a one-for-one or a system to system check.
It is very important to check the key transactions that your organisation relies on. If for example “In-memoriam” transactions make up the majority of your donations, it is vital to check this data during the migration. If you often use secondary addresses, make sure these are included in your checks.
Think always of the obvious. It is easy to get things wrong in a migration and some legacy systems are very badly designed. So don’t assume that the data is correct.
Check a contact name and make sure the address is correct for that name or names.
Check the email address and phone numbers for that name, are they correct? Are they all present?
Check the status of the record. Does it correspond to what you expect? Is the person or contact
correctly active or inactive? If the person is deceased, is that correctly stated?
Then secondary data like birth dates, genders and other descriptive codes about the contact. If the contact is a company or organisation is that expressed?
The next thing to start checking should be attributes, codes or profiles of the contact. Contact
preferences are an obvious group of attributes. Does the migrated data show the contacts preferences like No Mail, Mail Only and so on?
Then there may be other codes like interests, availability, volunteer skills and so many more that your legacy data contains. Think again about mailing groups or other segment codes. Can you identify these in the newly migrated data?
Now let’s think about financial data which has potential legal and other implications.
Can you identify the full donation history of any donor? Choose some complex donors and check them line for line. Can you identify the appeal or event, the general ledger code, the payment amount, date, receipt number and receipt date?
Can you identify regular giving payments as well as one-off payments?
Can you identify In-memoriam, pledge, membership and invoiced payments?
Can you identify soft-credit or payments on behalf of someone?
If you are starting to tick some of these boxes, then your confidence will be built. But it is important to check everything.
Now start to check notes, documents sent, appeals sent and other important secondary contact details. Are these present?
Again, you only need to check 5-10 contacts of any type such as individuals, schools, organisations, parishes, families or whatever key contact types you have.
But it is important to check each of your main contact types.