How to merge duplicate profiles

In this article, you'll learn how to merge duplicate profiles of the same person into one, single profile. Before we proceed, a word about who can merge profiles:

  • Your school's Populi Account Administrators can all use the profile merger.
  • In Account > Account Settings > Security, the Merge Profile tool access setting lets the PAA expand access to the tool to users with the Academic Admin, Admissions Admin, or Financial Admin roles.

When should you merge profiles?

If you have more than one profile for the same person, merge them! Profiles are designed to store everything you know about a person in one unified record, so there's no need to have more than one record for a person.

Finding duplicates

The most common causes of duplicate profiles are:

  • We migrated your data into Populi from legacy software systems—many systems require that you keep multiple records for the same person (for example, keeping student and donor records separated). We do our best to clean these up during migration, but sometimes some duplicates evade our efforts.
  • When adding new people or processing a new inquiry, application, donation, or financial aid record, Populi searches for duplicates based on matches with names, contact info, SSN, and so on. Sometimes that duplicate search doesn't catch the person already in your system—perhaps because of a spelling difference (e.g. Mike vs. Michael) or a mismatch of contact information (e.g. a new email address). So when processing the new information, a new profile is mistakenly created for a person you already have a profile for.

In any case, you may bump into duplicate profiles any number of ways. But the simplest way to find them is by seeing what pops up when you search for a person.

Merging a duplicate profile

The profile-merger takes the unique information from a duplicate profile (called the "Loser"), adds it to the main profile (called the "Winner"), and then deletes the duplicate.

  • The information that gets moved over includes any unique records—anything found on any of the Profile views (Activity Feed, Info, Student, Financial, etc.), any Organization info (employment, membership, timeframe, etc.), as well as user roles and custom tags.
  • For the most part, the winner's name will be preserved. But if the loser's name includes extra information (prefix, middle name, etc.) that is empty in the winner's name, it will be included in the merge. For example, if you merge Mike Lawrence Kehoe with Dr. Michael Kehoe, the name you'll end up with is Dr. Michael Lawrence Kehoe.
  • With contact information, all items unique to the loser will be added to the winner. Only exact matches will be excluded from the transfer, so if there's, say, a misspelled or outdated address, it will be preserved in the merge (and thus, the review step we recommend in the instructions below).

Here's how to merge a profile with another (remember, you must be a Populi Account Administrator to use this feature).

  1. Go to the duplicate profile—this is the loser profile, the one that will ultimately be deleted, so make sure you navigate to the profile you want to get rid of!
  2. Click and select Merge Profile.
  3. In the dialog, search for the winner profile.
  4. Click Next.
  5. The merging will commence. Populi may take a few seconds to chew on all the data. When it is done, you'll see a summary of what will happen in the merge:
  6. Check the box to confirm the merge and click Merge Profiles.
  7. After another brief round of information-crunching, Populi will present you with the results of the merge—including a tally of the kinds of records that were imported from the loser to the winner profile.
  8. At this point, it'd be helpful to give the winner profile a brief review.

After merging the profiles, you'll see a record of the merge in Account > Reporting > Changes and on the winner profile's Activity Feed > Changes view.

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