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Do you want to be a pro at using LGL?

Posted November 9, 2023 by Chris Bicknell

how to become an LGL pro

Do you ever wonder if you’ll be able to master using Little Green Light and become an LGL pro?

Maybe it seems that people who are good at databases must be geniuses, like they were born under the right star. However, databases have only so many levers you can manipulate. You can either use them well or not use them well. LGL is no exception. Anyone can learn to use it well. Brilliance and innate talent are great, but they are not required.

Exploring and experimenting in a structured way is what will help you get better at using LGL. The fun part is that through exploring, you come to understand how LGL works, and that’s how you become better at using it. So even if you don’t plan to become a guru of databases, what we’re sharing here will help you achieve success using Little Green Light, as well as overcome pitfalls you could otherwise fall into.

Here’s how you can become a pro at using LGL

Waxing on and waxing off

You may remember in Karate Kid how Daniel goes to Mr. Miyagi wanting to be great at Karate. Mr. Miyagi agrees to teach Daniel but in the beginning asks Daniel to clean a car by waxing on and waxing off. Daniel is frustrated and feels he’s wasting his time. But when he follows through with practice, he reaches a new understanding and his Karate skills take off.

A similar phenomenon happens when you get to know Little Green Light, through performing manual data entry. (But it won’t take days and days!)

Manual data entry

If you want to be good at using LGL, our experience is that manual data entry is the way. We have put together an explanation and how-to in a new knowledge base article that we believe will help your database skills take off, like Daniel’s Karate.

Try it out for yourself here.

The basis of the method is entering a small number of constituent and gift records manually. This approach may feel counterintuitive if what you need is to get your mail appeal out with the perfect search and do a great report to your Board tomorrow. But after years of working with our customers, we’ve seen that manual data entry is how you can find your feet in LGL, so you always know where you’re going, no matter what you want to do.

We promise it won’t require months or even days of drudgery. Learning and paying close attention for a few hours are the only requirements. Once you dip your toes in, you’ll see more and more that the database is your friend. All you need to do is get familiar with it.

Here’s the benefit

Using the example of a data import, you manually enter three to five spreadsheet rows worth of data into Little Green Light. When you have a strong handle on what columns go in your import spreadsheet and what fields they’ll map to in LGL, importing can take place quickly.

You’ll know your spreadsheet is clean. You’ll know which LGL field every column should map to. Because you’ve done all the work at the outset, you can load the import, go get coffee, tea, or another beverage of your choice, and you’ll be working in the system when you come back.

You can do this with any data, or you can use sample data if you have a bit of time and want to get your feet wet.

Possible pitfalls of skipping manual data entry

Time is always short. But rushing to input or import data, without an awareness and understanding of which data should go into which column and which column should map to which LGL field, can lead to problems. In difficult cases, it can end up taking weeks to untangle, often times requiring restarting at square 1.

Benefits keep on giving

The benefits of manual data entry apply to other areas of LGL too, such as appeals, events, and any LGL forms you may use to register guests for your event or collect online gifts for your appeal.

You would build your event or appeal first. Then enter some sample constituents, taking notes on how you want to use each field, and making sure you’re entering the data correctly in all the fields you need. Then and only then, you would build your LGL form, with a clear picture of where to map the fields so the data goes where it needs to. Now you’ll have what you need to be able to track your data, send thank you’s, create searches, and build reports.


Manual data entry helps set you up for success using LGL and leads you on the path toward becoming an LGL pro. We recommend following the guidelines we’ve provided and playing around in your account, testing out different scenarios. You may find that it’s actually a lot of fun.

2 thoughts on “Do you want to be a pro at using LGL?

  1. Hello,
    We are wondering if there is a live tutorial or walk through of Little Green Light. We have used it in the past and was always referred to articles for customer support. Is that still the case?

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