In Virtuous, Contacts may be merged in the Data Health center. If you do not see the Data Health option in the left side menu, ask your system administrator, as you may have restricted permissions.

On the Data Health screen, you'll see several tabs near the top of the screen. The first — and default — option will be "Merge Contacts."

Once you are viewing the merge tab, there are essentially two ways to identify and merge duplicate records.

Let Virtuous Identify Them For You

On the Merge Contacts screen, look for the Actions button in the upper right. Click, and then select "Run" to start an automatic search for any possible duplicates in the system. Potential duplicates will be identified based on matches by name, address, phone, or email.

Depending on the number of records in your database, it may take some time to see results. The duplicate search will continue running in the background while you complete other work in Virtuous.

Once the search is complete, the Merge Contacts screen will list all possible duplicates in your system. Click on any record to see possible duplicates listed below, and then click on "Compare" to select a duplicate and access the merge screen.

If there are possible duplicates listed, but it has been some time since you last searched for duplicates, it is recommended that you click on the Actions button and then select "Refresh." This will clear your previous duplicate results and then re-run a search to identify potential duplicates. Clearing old results is especially important if you have made changes to your data, as this can eliminate false positives based on out-of-date Contact information.

If you already have possible duplicates listed and you you do NOT want to clear any of them, you can also select "Run" again to search for any additional possible duplicates and add them to the existing list for review.

Manually Merge Two Contacts

While Virtuous can identify potential duplicates, sometimes you may identify duplicate records in the system and wish to merge them right away. In these cases, make note of the Contact IDs for each of the two records you wish to merge. Then, navigate to the Merge Contacts screen, click on Actions, and select "Manually Merge Contacts" from the list of options.

This will bring up the Manual Merge form. Enter the two Contact IDs for the two records you wish to merge, and then click "Compare."

Time to Get Merging

Regardless of the method used to identify duplicates. once you have clicked the "Compare" button, you will be taken to the merge dialog box.

First, using the radio buttons at the top of the form, select the correct Contact ID to be preserved. When merging Contacts, one Contact ID will be preserved, and the other will be archived.

After selecting a Contact, then carefully review the items with checkboxes. Users have the option of preserving any Individuals and including them in the new, merged record. In the case of duplicate Individuals, it is generally best to choose whichever Individual has more associated Contact Methods. In addition to selecting Individuals, users will also have the option to preserve any addresses included with either Contact.

Data listed on the right side of each record, including any Notes, Tags, and Gifts, will automatically be merged into the new, combined record.

Ignoring Potential Matches

When using the Virtuous duplicate search, it is possible that two records that are not duplicates may be flagged as potential duplicates. In these cases, from the merge dialog box, click the red "Ignore" button.

Clicking "Ignore" ensures that Virtuous will not show a particular pairing as potential duplicates again. This means that, over time, the accuracy of the duplicate search should improve.

Reviewing Ignored Matches

If you are concerned that you may have ignored a possible match in error, or simply want to know which suggested matches have been ignored, you can click on the Actions menu and then select the option to "View Ignored Matches."

This will bring up a list of all matches that have been ignored. Matches are identified as Contact ID pairs, but you can also use the search field in the upper right to search for a particular name. Each ignored match will also include the date when it was marked as "Ignore," and the email address of the user who took the action.

To merge two Contacts that were previously flagged as ignored, make note of the Contact IDs and then follow the steps above for manually merging Contacts.

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