Should your CRM include photos of each of your donors?

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Fundraising donor in CRM My uncle is a radiologist. Recently he told me about a 2007 study of radiologists. The study found that including a photo of a patient along with their imaging exam results made doctors more successful.

Here are the results from the study:

  1. The imaging exam results with photos of the patients resulted in more meticulous readings from the doctors interpreting the images leading to 80% more incidental findings of unexpected abnormalities that had health implications beyond the scope of the original exam. In other words, the photos caused the doctors to look more carefully at the results of the exams without necessarily spending any more time on their reviews. The more careful reviews led to more unexpected findings of more medical issues that needed to be treated.
  2. Furthermore, 100% of the radiologists texted admitted feeling more empathy toward the patients.

After I read this I began to wonder if, perhaps, fundraising CRM should include photos of each donor by syncing with open API’s that social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter provide.

Wouldn’t that increase donor empathy, donor-centricity, and overall fundraising effectiveness?

What do you think? 

9 responses to “Should your CRM include photos of each of your donors?”

  1. Joseph Cole says:

    I’m very much for having pictures of donors in the CRM – as many as you can find and place in a reasonable amount of time!
    That’s one reason why I enjoy using Kindly, because it pulls the donor’s social media image into the CRM for most of the donors that are entered into the system.
    Perhaps more so than empathy, photos give me a feeling of camaraderie with my donors (many of whom are potential donors). There’s something about facial recognition that reminds me that we’re a team of real people trying to solve real problems.
    Seeing their faces also reminds me at a glance (I guess because my brain processes information from images faster than text.) what they were interested in concerning our mission and what they committed to. Photos improve my memory, thereby improving my follow up.

  2. William Skaggs says:

    Absolutely there should be more of this, Greg! In addition to items mentioned by you and Joseph, photos would help people like me who are better with faces than name better connect the two. Further, remember how you should smile when speaking on the phone? Seeing a face when making call would have to have some of the same positive impacts.

  3. Sheila A. Hard says:

    Mark Twain said that it is better to remain quiet and be thought an idiot than speak up and remove all doubt, so I may regret raising this question, Here goes: I’ve worked in development for 30+ years (albeit as a planned giving specialist) and I have no idea what “CRM” might stand for. (I also don’t know what an “API” is, but that might be because I’m not really into tech.)
    Can you please explain the acronyms?

  4. I like the idea, but am wondering how we gather these photos. A simple link to social media may not give you the correct photo. When I am traveling, I do look to see if I can get a photo of a prospect I don’t know. At least half the time it does not work. Additionally, who is going to do this and link the photos to the donor base? Our staff is not “fat”. I worry that this is more of the “ready, aim” then the getting out and meeting with donors and prospects.

    • Greg Warner says:

      I agree Dave. If it takes up your time I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. I suggest connecting with your prospects on LinkedIn or following them on twitter. If you know those social profiles, you’ll be assured the right photos.

  5. NicDel says:

    YES! We do this already in a very low-tech way. Would be great to have it as a feature of a CRM. I think Salesforce allows for this, but I have not seen it on many other platforms. Will have to look into Kindly.

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