5 Benefits of Utilizing Online Waivers for Your Association

Over the past two years, associations have had to overcome new challenges to keep their members both safe and engaged. While many associations have encountered difficulties such as decreased memberships, there have also been just as many creative solutions to help counter these problems. One of these solutions is online waivers. 

Waivers may already be part of your association’s event planning process. However, online waivers are an even more convenient option, providing the same benefits as traditional paper waivers while offering their own unique positives. 

Of course, before your association can commit to upgrading your technology, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of your new solution. This is essential for pitching it to your board of directors and ultimately understanding if it’s right for your association to begin with. To help you gain a deeper understanding of online waivers, this article will explore five key benefits:

  1. Easy Organization and Management

  2. Increased Accessibility 

  3. Contactless Features

  4. Improved Transparency

  5. Reduced Waste

While online waivers can initially seem like a greater investment than paper alternatives, these benefits will ultimately outweigh those of paper waivers. You can see a return on your investment faster by partnering with an online waiver provider attuned to your association’s specific needs, so be sure to research your options when making the switch. 

1. Easy Organization and Management

Waivers need to be distributed to your associations’ members and then collected before they can begin the activities specified in the waiver. This means you will need to have a process in place for waiver delivery and storage. Even for small associations, waivers can accumulate and be difficult to sort through without a proper management system.

Online waivers provide an immediate solution to these concerns. With an electronic waiver storage system, you’ll have access to the following:

  • Paperless storage system. The longer your association has been running and the more members you have, the more waivers you’ll need to keep track of. As anyone with a heavy filing cabinet knows, even thin sheets of paper can quickly become difficult to keep organized when there are hundreds of them. You can avoid this with a paperless system. 

  • Searchable waiver database. Before an activity that needs a waiver begins, you may need to double check a participant’s waiver. Instead of leafing through hundreds of forms, you can enter the participant’s name into your waiver database’s search feature to pull it up in seconds.  

  • Automatic waiver updates. When a member of your association completes their online waiver, it’ll be sent to your system as soon as they hit submit. This means you’ll have access to their waiver immediately after it’s signed. 

All of these benefits make waivers easier for your staff to manage while also allowing your members to engage in your activities faster. Instead of spending time watching your staff look through stacks of paper to find their specific waiver, your members will be able to start participating in your event or activity as soon as it’s confirmed in your automatic waiver database. 

2. Increased Accessibility

Your waivers should be accessible for all of your members, many of whom might have unique needs when it comes to reading and signing important documents like waivers. According to NPOInfo’s charitable giving statistics report, older generations still make up the majority of association members at 34%, while together millennials and generation Z make up just under 30%. 

With this range of diverse audiences, you’ll need to account for a similarly diverse range of accessibility concerns. For example, to accommodate your older members, you might include an option to zoom in or increase font size, which can be especially helpful given that waivers often have a lot of text. 

On the other hand, your younger mobile-savvy members will likely appreciate mobile-friendly support more, allowing them to fill out waivers while they’re on the go. In general, you should focus on making your waivers and entire online registration process as inclusive as possible to maximize your association’s potential member engagement. 

Additionally, putting your waivers online also allows your members to access them at any time, giving them the ability to review their waivers as needed in advance of and during the activities they agreed to participate in. 

3. Contactless Features 

Due to ongoing public health concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, your association is likely more aware of the potential risks of crowds and shared surfaces than ever before. This means you’ve likely also noticed that paper waivers tend to create a less-than-ideal scenario of long lines of people sharing pens and signing surfaces. 

With online waivers, your association can combat these concerns and keep your members safe with a contactless signing experience. Using an online waiver, your members will sign online using their personal computers, phones, or other devices, saving them from sharing pens, clipboards, or other tools you might use for your traditional waiver signing process. 

Smartwaiver’s article on community rec center waivers discusses how contactless features can be especially helpful for activities and events that are more physically demanding. While physical activity can be a fun part of any event, it also creates an environment where your members will likely be even more appreciative of their personal space than they would otherwise. 

4. Improved Transparency

Using waivers helps you to accomplish several goals, one of which is maintaining transparency between your association and your members. When your waivers are written in plain language and honestly communicate potential risks to your members, they can make the best decisions for their personal safety. This process helps build trust while also helping your association avoid potential liability issues. 

Online waivers elevate this transparency, giving your members and staff a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Guarantees that both your members and your association have a copy. With a paper waiver, your members will fill out the form and turn it over to your association. By contrast, online waivers allow them to keep a copy that they can view at any time to review the risks they agreed to. 

  • Waivers can be reviewed far in advance. Paper waivers often need to be distributed and signed in a matter of minutes when members arrive on location at your event. This might cause members to rush through your waiver’s details and miss important information. With an online waiver, they can take their time to review it thoroughly days before your event. 

  • Waivers can be pulled up quickly as needed. In the event that a risk specified in your waiver does occur, your staff will need to be able to pull up the waiver quickly when they respond to the situation. For example, if someone trips and hurts themselves during a sporting event, having their waiver on hand ensures your team will feel confident about the lack of potential liability and instead be able to focus first and foremost on helping the affected member. 

These benefits can add real value to your overall event experience. Instead of feeling your waiver is just a form members need to rush through in order to get to your association’s activities, they can instead engage with it in their own time. 

5. Reduced Waste 

While online waivers might come with startup costs, over time they’ll be more efficient and less resource intensive than traditional waivers. Online waivers require a service provider and the basic computer system your association likely already has for managing day-to-day operations. This means that after your initial setup, your organization will be equipped with everything your waivers need. 

By contrast, paper waivers require printing and a physical storage space. Whether your association is conscious about unnecessary paper use or is looking to save expenses, eliminating printing costs can be a plus. And, with online waivers, you can devote file space to other important documents besides your waivers. 

When you reduce waste, your association can invest those expenses back into your association’s offerings and fundraising strategy. At events, you’ll no longer need to worry about having the correct amount of waivers printed or desanitizing pens between uses to help keep your association’s members safe. Instead, your staff will be able to focus entirely on creating a positive experience for your members. 



With everything that goes into your association’s event planning, improving your waiver process might not be top of mind. However, with the fast improvement of switching to online waivers, your association will receive a number of benefits from reducing costs to forming better relationships with your members. 

Explore different online waiver solutions to find a platform that fits your association and provides as many benefits as possible. Good luck!


About The Author

Daryl McCarl is the Director of Business Development at Smartwaiver, the leading digital waiver service trusted by thousands of organizations around the world. www.smartwaiver.com

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