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The Importance of Digital Waivers for Your Community Center

 In Center Management

Picture this: you run a local community center in your neighborhood. You pride yourself on building a convenient, engaging, and welcoming environment for community members to learn and develop new skills, have fun, and interact with one another. Your center offers highly demanded activities such as sports clubs, afterschool programming, and other social, educational, and recreation activities.

But it’s not all just fun and games. Managing a rec center involves juggling a ton of moving parts to keep everything running smoothly. With that said, you understand the importance of having the right software in place. But one piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is online waiver software.

With guidance from experts at Smartwaiver, we seek to inform leaders like yourself about the importance of digital waivers. When it comes to digital releases for community centers, this innovative tool offers the following key benefits:

  1. Protection of your organization from liability
  2. A hands-free waiver solution
  3. Remote and off-site signing
  4. Collection and management of your data

Are you ready to dive deeper into the importance of digital waivers for community centers? Let’s get started.

1. Protection of your organization from liability

The most apparent benefit of the digital release of liability waivers is in the name. These legally binding agreements are between a provider (your center) and a user (its guests). It releases your establishment from potential liabilities if someone is harmed under your provision.

Some people question whether an online waiver holds the same signing power as a traditional physical waiver (i.e. Will it protect my organization if it comes to a legal battle?). Re:Charity’s guide to online waivers explains that yes, while a digital waiver can certainly hold up in a court setting, your agreement must meet the following standards:

  • The waiver must be unalterable in digital form.
  • The waiver must be accessible to the consumer.
  • The consumer must give consent to sign electronically.

Digital waivers offer more than just a signature. Instead, the right software can provide unique solutions for more complex needs and be leveraged in addition to your existing recreation software. For example, you can easily capture initials and signatures within the body of your waiver, add an embedded video within your signing process, capture a photo of the person signing as an added layer of identity verification, and more.

Consider this scenario: Bobby is playing basketball with some friends in your gymnasium when he trips doing a layup. As Bobby is rushed to the emergency room, you realize his paper waiver is nowhere to be found. Perhaps it was misfiled so you have to sift through thousands of other forms, but it might have been hidden in a stack of papers you accidentally threw out this morning while tidying up your office. Your community center is on the line unless you can find that waiver.

2. A hands-free waiver solution

If there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught us in the last year, it’s the power of a hands-free solution—from hand sanitizers and doorknobs to forms and waivers. Gone are the days of signing paper waivers with communal (i.e. germ-infested) pens and clipboards. An online waiver solution can minimize contact between your staff, volunteers, and guests—not to mention shared items and surfaces.

Perhaps you’ve seen other businesses and organizations opt for the “sanitized” and “unsanitized” pen cups at the front counter. It seems like a fine idea until you watch brothers Billy and Bob each grab a pen and return them to the cup labeled “ready to go!” And even if you are paying attention, who has the time to be constantly sanitizing and re-sanitizing pens when there’s so much else to do?

Instead, waiver software equips your guests to sign contactless-ly on their mobile device from your website, a texted or emailed link, social media post, or a QR code. Minimal spread of germs and less work for your team ensure that everyone’s happy.

3. Remote and off-site signing

Another key benefit of digital waivers? Remote signing. Guests can complete and sign their liability waivers before ever arriving on-site. This way, you can avoid overwhelming your check-in staff and lengthening the wait time for everyone involved. 

Perhaps you already have a virtual registration offering in place where guests can check schedules, see availability, and sign up for memberships, activities, and events online. With digital waiver software, you can encourage guests to sign their liability waivers online as well!

For those who choose to complete their forms on-site, you can easily set up a waiver kiosk with just about any tablet. So while they will have to take a few minutes to complete a form upon arrival, they won’t cause a backlog of patrons at the front desk. This way, participants can get to the activities they came for faster! Other ways one can sign waivers ahead of time includes your website, social media pages, emails, and QR codes. 

And for parents with multiple children spending time at your community center (like the mother of Billy and Bob), online waivers are helpful. They can fill out a single form and add any number of minors in mere seconds. Then, you can have the adult, the minor(s), or both easily sign the waiver. You and your guests will never want to go back to an outdated paper system again. 

4. Collection and management of your data

The final benefit of digital waivers goes deeper than the typical user experience—and it’s one that many organizations miss out on. Your collected liability waivers contain a likely untapped wealth of data about your participants and the type of constituents that they are. 

While your paper form may contain the same information as a digital waiver, it’s significantly more challenging to analyze data trends.

With the extensive information provided in your digital waivers easily at your fingertips, you can begin to elevate your marketing strategies by effectively segmenting your audience and sending more targeted messages to each person. After all, a data-driven marketing approach is known to have more than five times the ROI of a typical effort (according to this resource). This means that your long-term strategies will be more in line with what your audience wants, leading to better communication overall.

For instance, imagine you’re hosting a Daddy-Daughter dance at your community center for elementary students and their parents. Thanks to your waiver data, you can easily determine which of your members would be in that target audience so you can send personalized invitations, rather than take a blanket approach that includes childless individuals and middle and high school students as well. 

By investing in a digital community center waiver software, you set your team up for continued success. Not only do you not have to worry about closing your doors due to a costly legal battle should someone be harmed on your premises, but you can also provide an all-around better experience for guests. It’s a win-win situation, and after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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