What is a CSV File and why do we upload the same to the Dana portal?


A CSV file, or Comma-Separated Values file, is a plain text format used to store tabular data, like a spreadsheet or database. Each line in the file typically represents a row of data, with values separated by commas.

On metta day(s), we issue receipts to donors for their donations using an online portal called the Dana portal, developed by VRI. This portal significantly reduces manual labor and automates much of the process. When we input a donor’s name, the portal matches it with entries in the database (supplied by DIPI) and auto-fills other details. This automation also allows the center to send receipts to donors via their registered email and WhatsApp automatically.

However, unlike other centers, we prefer to use Dhammareg for our registration system instead of DIPI. Consequently, the Dana portal doesn’t automatically receive data from our registration system. We must manually upload a CSV file to the portal. This CSV file contains details of meditators, including their name, gender, address, PIN code, contact, email address, country, state, and city, as well as their KYC (PAN/Aadhar) details, in the specified order.

You can access the Dana portal via the link provided: https://thali.dana.vridhamma.org/ (for Thali).

Feel free to download the sample CSV file for reference. (This is a sample file and has no real personal data)

Here are the steps to accomplish this:

  1. Log in to the registration portal, which in our case is located at https://india.dhammareg.dhamma.org:8443/site/login.
  2. Choose the current course or the course for which you intend to upload a CSV file.
  3. Apply the following filters: Select “Everything(wide)” for ‘Show columns for’, “Acceptance Sent” for ‘Application Status’, and “Enrolled & Confirmed” for ‘Enrollment Status’. This selection will provide us with data only for applicants who are confirmed and expected to attend.
  4. Export the enrollment list with the above filters. This list will contain detailed information about applicants, and we need to format it according to the standard specified in the sample CSV file downloaded earlier.
  5. Delete all columns except those required as per the sample CSV file. Additionally, fine-tune the file by removing unsupported characters (details provided below) and non-English characters. Once completed, copy the entire data and paste it into the sample CSV file.
  6. Adjust the file as needed and save the final version in CSV format. It is now ready for upload. Log in to the Dana portal and proceed with the upload.

For the final CSV files, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

Column 1 – Course Type:
Options include 10 Day Course, 20 Day Course, 30 Day Course, and 45 Day Course. STP & 10 Day Special courses are often run Parallaly in the campus to the 10 Day Course. Hence, data for these courses can be merged with the 10 Day Course file for a single upload. Similarly, 20/30/45 can be consolidated into a 20 Day Course file, as the course type doesn’t significantly affect the process.

Column 2 – Start:
Please input the course start date in YYYY-MM-DD format only.

Column 3 – End:
Enter the course end date in YYYY-MM-DD format only.

Column 4 – Name:
Provide the full name of the participant. If the name is in a language other than English, it should be translated into English. Replace any letters with diacritics, such as š, ž, õ, ä, ö, ü, è, etc., with their corresponding English letters (s, z, o, a, u, e). Make necessary modifications if the name is repeated or contains special characters as mentioned above.

Column 5 – Gender:
Specify the gender as male or female in lowercase letters only.

Column 6 – Address:
Remove or substitute special characters such as !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, *, (, ), :, ;, “, ‘, ?, `, ~, <, >, +, =, , | with a space. Acceptable special characters include forward slash (/), comma (,), dash (-), and full stop (.). If the address is in Hindi, translate it to English. Replace letters with diacritics like š, ž, õ, ä, ö, ü, è, etc., with their corresponding normal English letters (s, z, o, a, u, e).

Column 7 – Pincode:
If the pin code is flagged green, right-click, and select “Format Cells.” Convert it to a number. If it converts to a formula, repeat the process and set the decimal place to 0. The pin code should consist only of numeric characters without any spaces.

Column 8 – Contact:
If the contact number is flagged green, right-click, and select “Format Cells.” Convert it to a number. If it converts to a formula, repeat the process and set the decimal place to 0. The contact number should contain only numeric characters, and the country code with a ‘+’ sign is acceptable (e.g., +91 for India).

Column 9 – Email:
If there are two email addresses, retain only one.

Column 10 – Country:
If the country name is in Hindi, translate it to English.

Column 11 – State:
Translate state names from Hindi to English if necessary. Replace commas (,) with spaces.

Column 12 – City:
Translate city names from Hindi to English if necessary. Replace commas (,) with spaces. If the city name is too long, retain only the city or district name and add the rest to the address.

Column 13 – ID No:
Retain only Aadhar or PAN Card numbers and delete any other identification numbers. For Aadhar numbers flagged green, right-click, and select “Format Cells.” Convert it to a number with a decimal place set to 0. Verify that the Aadhar number is 12 digits long. If it’s less or more than 12 digits, delete it. For PAN Card numbers, ensure they consist of 5 alphabets followed by 4 numbers and end with 1 alphabet (e.g., ABCTY1234D, abcty1234d).

Column 14 – ID Type:
This column contains a formula. Copy it from the base file and paste it into the first row of your file, then drag it down to all rows. Alternatively, if you copy the data to the sample file, this step is unnecessary. The ID type will be automatically detected for Aadhar, PAN, or no ID.

Ensure that the file is in English language only and replace special characters as mentioned. Save the file as .csv and avoid reopening it, as Aadhar numbers may be converted back to formulas. Keep a copy in Excel for error correction during uploading.

To upload, visit the Dana website, log in with the Admin ID or with necessary privileges, click on “Upload CSV” in the top bar, choose the file, and upload it. If errors persist, review the Excel file and steps mentioned above. If issues persist, contact Kamal Agarwal or Surbhi Jain. A sample Excel file is attached above for smoother operation.

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Updated on 3 April 2024