I noticed this with one of my clients who processes a lot of in memory of donations. I've reproduced this on https://dmaster.demo.civicrm.org :

1. enabled in Memory of profile on https://dmaster.demo.civicrm.org/civicrm/admin/contribute/settings?action=update&reset=1&id=1

2. made a fake VISA Contribution on that Contribution page - selecting In Memory of radio button and filling in First and Last Name https://dmaster.demo.civicrm.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=1

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3. Result: Contact is created but is -not- marked deceased. If we had also filled out the email for the deceased (standard field for the in memory of profile) then this could easily lead to some awkward moments allowing CiviCRM to email deceased people.

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4. I can understand that one may want confirmation that someone is deceased - rather than letting an anonymous donor update that field in the database - but to treat 'in memory of' contacts as alive people is risky.

5. Anyone have any suggestions on how to handle processing 'in memory of' profile submission better?

  • If someone adds info that matches an existing contact based on the default dedupe rule, does the matched contact get updated? That could be more of an issue than when it creates a new contact (ie. a contact already in your database gets marked as deceased, rather than a new contact).
    – Laryn
    Feb 13, 2019 at 15:17
  • Right - so default unsupervised dedupe rule is Email address and that works great for the donor. Since - thankfully - no-one enters email address for a deceased friend/family member - it could never match so will always create a new contact. This client has asked we remove the Email field from the in memory of profile - why would you ever want to email a deceased person? I’m pretty certain that email field served a purpose in potential deduping. We are creating numerous new in memory of but not deceased contacts (seeing that on a live project). Feb 13, 2019 at 15:26
  • Yes, makes sense!
    – Laryn
    Feb 13, 2019 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


Best response was by Andrew/AGH: "... it's way better to have a dead person look alive than to have a live person look dead."

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