From volunteers and event guests to your beneficiaries and staff, your nonprofit interacts with numerous stakeholders every day. While this normally isn’t a concern, occasionally your nonprofit may ask some of these individuals to consider participating in an activity with an associated risk.
Any risk-taking activity that individuals might participate in on your nonprofit’s behalf should have a waiver. Many nonprofits are already well aware of this requirement and have made an effort to invest in a traditional paper waiver system to keep their organization and their supporters informed and safe.
However, your nonprofit can provide an even better waiver experience for your staff and supporters alike with waiver software. A waiver software solution provides your nonprofit with digital waivers that are equally as valid as traditional paper waivers, but more convenient and accessible on several fronts, including:
- Improved Organization and Management
- Increased Transparency
- Fewer Logistical Concerns
- Contactless Signing Options
As you consider these benefits and transitioning to digital waivers, take note of your nonprofit’s priorities for your waiver process. Doing so will help guide your search for a waiver software solution that will fit your nonprofit’s organizational system and eliminate hassles associated with paper waivers. Let’s get started.
1. Improved Organization and Management
If you’ve used paper waivers for a few years—or even for just one or two large events—you’re well aware of the stacks of paper that can accumulate. Given the sheer volume of paper you’ll need to collect and manage, it’s normal for even the most highly-organized nonprofits to have trouble keeping track of every waiver and maintaining a strong management system.
By contrast, waiver software comes with several features built specifically for improved management and organization, including:
- Searchable database. Rather than sifting through stacks of paper to find a specific waiver, your staff will be able to enter a name, date, or other identifying detail into a searchable database to pull up the waivers you need immediately.
- Easy updating. Traditional waivers need to be distributed and re-collected for your nonprofit to account for each of your signees. With digital waivers, your system will update automatically when a participant fills one out, enabling you to see who has completed their waiver ahead of time and even allow your team to check waivers before your participants arrive.
- Digital storage. As you collect paper waivers from past events and activities, you will need physical storage to keep up with demands. An online, paperless system ensures that the only thing you need to manage and organize all of your waivers is your computer system.
Additionally, your waivers can also be used as a tool to learn more about your donors by gathering their contact information and, in some cases, workplace details. With an online waiver database, you can more easily retrieve this information and put it to use without the excessive data re-entry associated with manually entering information from a paper form.
2. Increased Transparency
Waivers are ultimately an agreement between your nonprofit and your supporters. Waivers that clearly lay out potential risks in easy-to-understand language ensure everyone who signs is providing informed consent. This also gives individuals who may be at higher risk for certain activities a chance to opt out of situations they may not feel comfortable with ahead of time.
You can increase this level of transparency and work to build even more trust with your supporters with digital waivers that provide:
- Access ahead of time. Paper waivers are often distributed in person, sometimes even a few minutes before the activity they’re associated with takes place. This can result in some participants rushing through your waiver and not fully reading specific details that might be important. With a digital waiver, participants can access it and read its content at their discretion far in advance.
- Multiple valid copies. Paper waivers need to be sent out and collected in order for your nonprofit to make note of who has signed a waiver. This means that your participants will not have a copy of their waiver. However, with digital waivers, both your nonprofit and your signees will have a valid copy they can access at any time.
- Immediate access. Both your nonprofit and your signees can pull up their digital waiver at a moment’s notice. This is especially important in the event that a risk noted in your waiver does occur. For example, a participant might fall on their bike due to uneven terrain during a nonprofit’s fundraising bike race. When this incident occurs, your event’s volunteers will be able to get the participant help immediately while your office staff pull up their event waiver to clarify any questions that might arise as the situation is taken care of.
If any of your participants are unsure about using a digital waiver, be ready to explain why these are valid documents to help maintain transparency. Digital waivers are equally as valid as paper waivers as long as the participant agrees to sign online and the content of the waiver cannot be changed after signing.
3. Fewer Logistical Concerns
Planning an event almost always involves managing multiple variables at once. With digital waivers, you can remove at least one logistical concern, as they’ll no longer need to worry about printing and gathering the necessary supplies for traditional waivers.
Digital waivers have several defining features that will speed up your participants’ check-in process and help your staff, such as:
- Available anywhere with internet access. As long as you have internet access, your nonprofit will have your digital waivers on hand. This can also benefit your participants. For example, if your nonprofit is hosting an activity for children like a summer camp that needs parent approval, you can end up in an awkward situation if a child arrives without their waiver. With digital waivers, you can call their parents or guardian and quickly get the situation resolved remotely.
- Can be shared and discussed ahead of time. If your nonprofit partners with another organization, you may need to share waivers with their leadership ahead of time. For example, a business might plan a corporate volunteerism day as part of their employee engagement program. To maintain an open, transparent relationship, you would send out copies of your waivers ahead of time so employees and their leadership can review them.
- No need for extra copies or printouts. Running out of waivers is not uncommon, especially if your event or activities ends up having more walk-ins than you might have estimated. By contrast, you can also encounter situations where you print too many waivers and end up wasting paper. Digital waivers ensure you don’t need to worry about either of these situations or managing a printer for your waivers at all.
Remember that switching to digital waivers doesn’t mean you need to abandon paper waivers entirely. In some cases, it can be beneficial to use both digital and paper waivers. For example, a nonprofit might host a walk-a-thon in a remote location with limited internet access. Participants who filled out their waivers online can get checked in quickly, while those who weren’t able to can complete a paper waiver at your event.
4. Contactless Signing Options
The COVID-19 pandemic has made nearly everyone more aware of regular and unnecessary physical contact associated with everyday life, especially when it comes to signing forms.
Online waivers solutions provide safer alternatives with contactless signing options. Using a digital waiver, your volunteers, participants, staff, and anyone else who might need to sign a waiver can do so online with no physical contact. This also brings a number of benefits, including:
- Increased efficiency. Automatic check-ins with contactless signing tend to be fast and hassle-free. Rather than physically going through each participant’s waiver individually, a staff member checking in volunteers or event guests can quickly look up a waiver and see if it was completed or not.
- Reduced health risks. Many people sharing surfaces can often be a recipe for unnecessary health risks. This is especially true for certain groups, such as school children who might not be as conscious about washing their hands or refraining from touching surfaces. Contactless signing by definition removes contact, keeping your supporters and staff safe.
- Reduced logistics concerns. As mentioned, digital waivers reduce or outright eliminate many common logistical concerns associated with traditional waivers. When you use a contactless signing option, there’s no need to worry about handing out clipboards and pens and ensuring they are properly sanitized between uses.
While your waivers help safeguard your nonprofit against potential risks, you can take the additional steps to ensure even the waiver signing process itself is safe by protecting your supporters and staff’s health.
Switching to waiver software is an investment in your nonprofit’s organizational capabilities and overall transparency. When participants can view their waivers ahead of time and your staff can pull up a waiver in seconds, your events will run more smoothly while still keeping your participants safe.