How to make your VAN list into a Group

This guide will walk you through importing your list of contacts in VAN to having an Active group to be used for calling and texting in GetThru. For tips on building your list in VAN, check out our guide.


Getting started  

Navigate to the Group 'External Contact Lists' section in the Groups drop-down of the left side panel.

Screenshot of a column of white text on a dark blue background. A green solid-lined rectangle surrounds the words "External Contact List."

Navigate to the right side of the screen and click on "New Contact List."

Screenshot of a blue button with the words "new contact" highlighted with a green rectangle.

Select the tool that you would like to import the list for.

Screenshot of the menu below a dark blue button with options for ThruTalk and ThruText.

Select the side of VAN you are looking to sync back to.

Screenshot of two radio button selections with dark grey text on a beige background. The top option is 'Voter File' and the bottom option is 'Campaign Saved Lists'.

Locate the list you would like to use and click "Create List" to add your VAN list to your External Contacts List page.

Screenshot of a list with one item selected, highlighted with a dark blue background. The 'Create List' button below is outlined by a green rectangle.

You will be taken back to your External Contact List page. Locate the list you would like to use and click the three vertical dots to the right of that list. Click "New Group" to build your GetThru group. This will bring you to the Group creation wizard, where you will name your group and map your data for upload. 

Screenshot of an expanded menu with dark grey text on a white background. Green rectangles highlight the three vertical dots that expand the menu and the top option, 'New Group'.

  • 'New Group' will import and validate the numbers into a GetThru group. 
  • "Sync" will pull an updated list copy if needed. 
    • When updating your list, you will have to create a new group after hitting "Sync" so that your updated contacts can be added or removed accordingly. 
    • NOTE - The "Update Group" button that appears when you hit "Edit" on your selected group will not have its contacts updated by the "Sync" button. The "Edit" button only allows you to rename the selected group, as it is the only editable field you can update on an active group.
  • "Delete" will purge the list from our systems. 

Using the Group Upload Wizard for VAN-imported lists

To start uploading your VAN list, name your group and click the "Next" button at the bottom of the page.  

Use a naming convention for your groups will save your team time and energy when utilizing groups or reviewing data.

Your VAN list already exists on the External Contact List page, so you can click the "External Contact List" drop-down menu to locate it.

Screenshot of an expanded "External Contact List" dark grey drop-down menu. The top item is focused, shown in a magenta line, but not selected, which shows a white checkmark on the default menu selection.

When VAN lists are sent to GetThru, they have many columns of data you can map later in the group upload. However, that means that these files can be very large. The maximum file size that can be processed is 15MB. If your file is too large, you can use VAN's Split tool to create two lists that can be sent through the API.

Screenshot of the VAN interface showing a green rectangle around the "Split" button in the "My List" toolbar.

Mapping your data

VAN sync requires a few extra mapping steps during Group creation:

Required Fields

On the "Required Fields" page, you will map the three required fields - First name, Last name, and Phone number. 

For ThruText, to maximize your valid numbers, it is important to know where your specific VAN "houses" most of its cell numbers, as this can vary from state to state. The "Phone number" field defaults to "HomePhone," but you can also choose "CellPhone," "WorkPhone," or "Phone" (preferred phone). While we recommend using the field labeled "CellPhone," you'll have to check with your VAN administrator to see what works best for your state and committee.

For ThruText lists brought in from VoteBuilder, you must use the "CellPhone" column.

For ThruTalk numbers, the group will be built off the type of phone number you select (HomePhone, WorkPhone, Phone, or CellPhone.) However, both valid and invalid phone numbers will be callable as both cell phone and landline dials are available for calling. We have more details on that on our Group Details Page.

VAN Custom Fields  

To import survey questions, you will need to map your VAN ID fields. Mapping also enables GetThru to sync data back to your VAN committee. The mapping step will determine which side of VAN - MyVoters or MyCampaign - you will be able to sync survey data back to.

NOTE - Failure to map this data appropriately in GetThru will impact your survey questions sync to VAN. 

When importing a list from VAN through the API, you can only map "VanID" once. To VAN, you are choosing to map to the side of the committee that the list was created in.

MyVoters Custom Field

If you are importing a "Voter File" list, then you must map VanID to "VAN ID (Voter File)."

Screenshot of dark grey text "VAN ID (Voter File)" above "VanID" in the field below.

MyCampaign Custom Field

If you are importing a "Campaign File" list, you must map VanID to "VAN Campaign ID."

Screenshot of grey text on a white background. The field is labeled "VAN MYCAMPAIGN ID" above an empty field. "VANID" would need to be selected to map MyCampaign IDs.

NOTE - Failure to map VAN custom fields can make VAN IDs unavailable at the time of export for both ThruText and ThruTalk. If mapping is missed, please refer to our ThruText and ThruTalk guides to prep your survey data for bulk uploading.

If you are using the MyVoter side of VAN and would like more information on the voter file-specific process in ThruText, please follow our guide Sync Responses - Canvass Results (MyVoter Only).

If you are using the MyCampaign/MyMembers side of VAN and would like more information on the Events process in ThruText, please follow our guide Sync Responses - Events (Campaign Side Only).

Importing additional Custom Fields

Some data in your VAN committee cannot be imported using a VAN key. Please refer to this guide on unimportable data from the VAN API for more information.

Custom fields can be input into ThruText initial and reply messages, and ThruTalk scripts.

Review and Create your Group

Once your group has finished uploading and has an "Active" status, you can use that new VAN-imported group in GetThru!

Screenshot of the word "Active" in black text with a grass-green dot to the left on a beige background.

If you get an error that says "Upload Failed", it's likely because the file that you're importing exceeds the allowed file size that our system allows. Our group upload can only process lists up to 15 MB, and VAN lists typically have several extra contact fields in their lists. If you encounter this error, please try using VAN's Split feature to reduce the size of the list and upload a smaller list. 

Please reach out to with any questions.