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Finding duplicate records

Keep an accurate, single view of your supporters by filtering for and merging duplicate records

Updated over a week ago

Ensuring that your database is free of duplicates is important. It helps you keep a single view of your supporters, ensures you don't accidentally contact someone twice, and keeps your reporting accurate.

Beacon makes it easy to find and merge these duplicates, using the standard filtering system.

Finding duplicate people

Beacon automatically scans your database and flags up groups of people who appear to be duplicates. You can merge these people in a couple of clicks, or skip the suggestion if you'd prefer not to merge them.

In your views drop-down list in the top left of the people list page, you'll see a Suggested duplicates option.

On opening the page, Beacon will present you with a list of suggestions for you to consider merging, and the reason for the suggestion:

If you click Merge all, Beacon will automatically merge the people into one person record.

If you don't think the suggestion is correct, click Skip, and we won't suggest merging them again.

Criteria for duplicate suggestions

We use the following criteria:

  • Email match (priority 1)

  • Name + address match (priority 2)

  • Name + phone number match (priority 2)

  • First initial and last name + address match (priority 3)

  • First initial and last name + phone number match (priority 3)

The priority mentioned above affects the order in which the suggestions appear. We're keen to make sure you see the records that are most likely to be duplicates at the top!

Finding duplicate... anything!

When filtering records (e.g. people), you can use the is not unique option to find records that have duplicate values.

This is useful for non-people record types, as the duplicate suggestions interface above is a much faster way of merging.

For example, if you wanted to find a list of all organisations that have duplicate names, you could use the following filter:

Similarly, you could do the same for payments, based on the external id field:

When you find duplicates, you can merge them to keep your data nice and tidy:

Considerations for different field types

The "is not unique" filter option is currently available for the following field types:

  • Person name

  • Short text

  • Email

  • Phone

  • Number

  • Currency

  • Percent

  • Location

As such, you can use this feature to find duplicate values for any kind of record (not just people and organisations!), including custom record types and fields that are specific to you.

There are few special considerations when using the "is not unique" option that are helpful to be aware of:

Short text

  • Uniqueness is case-insensitive, so "Beacon" and "beacon" would count as the same value.

Person name

  • Uniqueness is case-insensitive, so "Richard" and "richard" would count as the same value.

  • If you filter by "Name (full)", uniqueness is determined by only the first and last name. The title (e.g. Mr) and middle name are ignored.


  • Beacon makes it possible to store values across multiple currencies, so uniqueness is based on both the value and the currency code. (£5 and $5 are different)


  • UK postcodes are auto-formatted when they are saved into Beacon, so uniqueness will be correct, even if you entered "sw112ae" and "SW11 2AE" when saving the data.

  • All other location values are treated as-is, which means "London" and "Greater London" will be treated as two separate values.

  • Uniqueness is case-insensitive, so "10 Downing Street" and "10 downing street" would be treated as the same

Frequently asked questions

How often does Beacon check for duplicates to suggest?

Short answer

Every day

Long answer

Beacon will check for suggested duplicates when you open up your list of people for the first time that day; At which point, Beacon will cache (store) the results for 24 hours. The next time you open up your list of people, after this 24 hour period, Beacon will check again. E.g.

  • You open up the your list of people at 10am and Beacon shows you 30 suggested duplicates. Beacon will not check for any new suggested duplicates until after 10am the next day.

If you have merged or skipped all suggested duplicates then Beacon allows you to manually trigger a suggested duplicate check; You can do this once every 30 minutes.

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