While our global health crisis has been harrowing for all organizations and institutions, it’s become glaringly apparent that small businesses and nonprofits are taking the pandemic particularly hard. More specifically, organizations that rely on in-person events, activities, and experiences have struggled to stay afloat.
True, there’s been a concerted effort by community members to try and support local businesses, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to get many of these organizations back on track.
Luckily, we’ve come up with another solution that can help maximize your operations and revenue by boosting your event management processes. That solution is digital waivers!
As the pandemic evolves and hybrid, outdoor, and limited-capacity events are slowly trickling into the pipeline of what’s possible, it’s become more important than ever to adopt digital waivers. These intuitive tools provide essential value to every step of the event lifecycle, from pre-planning and event registration to post-event communication.
Across this quick guide, we’ll first dive into what a digital waiver is and a few best practices. Then we’ll go step-by-step through the event process to uncover how digital waivers can give you some critical advantages:
- Digital Waivers: A Quick Crash Course
- 1. Improve Event Registration and Projections
- 2. Simplify Check-Ins and Event Management
- 3. Streamline Marketing and Post-Event Engagement
With the right digital event waiver, your organization can face the changing event and activity landscape with confidence. Whether you’re just getting started in your own community or you’re a well-established organization hoping to rejuvenate event attendance, any organization can benefit from these waiver solutions.
Let’s dive in!
Digital Waivers: A Quick Crash Course
Before we can sink our teeth into all of the areas of optimization made possible by digital waivers, it’s important to understand what a digital waiver is.
Also known as electronic or online waivers, digital waivers are online forms that set forth the potential risks and liabilities associated with the event that your company is hosting. By signing this document, participants accept these risks and waive their ability to sue your organization should they experience any of the dangers that have been outlined.
This is the most fundamental definition of digital waivers, which is most of what you’ll need to know for the purposes of this short guide. If you’d like to learn more, ReCharity’s ultimate guide to online waiver software provides a more detailed description of online waiver fundamentals and how to create a legally binding liability document.
Here are a few of the most important pieces of information that should be included in your release of liability form:
- Name, address, and contact info of the participants
- Name, address, and contact info of your organization
- Date of signature and event date
- Assumption of risk and confirmation of form review
- Participant signatures
When it comes to drafting these important documents, we recommend that your organization enlists the help of a lawyer or insurance company. After all, there is little room for error with such sensitive legal documents. They must prove that the participant signed the waiver willingly and was fully aware of the risks associated with your event.
Luckily, legal and insurance consultants are well-versed in liability law and the various requirements to create a waiver that will help protect your organization. They can help you cover all your bases by efficiently identifying and articulating the major risks that need to be communicated to participants.
If crafted effectively, these forms will allow your organization to capture the information it needs to avoid messy legal battles. Once these critical documents have been completed, guests and your organization will be free to dive into the events and activities ahead!
1. Improve Event Registration and Projections
Put yourself in the mindset of your supporters: you’ve finally gotten a bit of much-awaited time off from school or work and you’re excited to finally spend that time at a local concert or walk-a-thon.
However, soon your excitement is replaced by frustration at the tedious and confusing sign-up and liability waiver process. Eventually, you give up on the registration process entirely. Surely there’s another activity nearby that you will enjoy that’s not so complicated to sign up for.
The trouble is, this exact scenario is likely far more common than you might think. Studies show that a whopping 27% of users will abandon the registration process if they are redirected to a third party site. With this in mind, it becomes a paramount concern for your organization to make the online registration process an altogether comfortable and positive experience.
To avoid the possibility of registration abandonment for your event, there are a few ways in which an intuitive digital waiver can streamline the registration process. In fact, with the right registration and waiver software, participants can easily complete the event registration and waiver-signing process in a single sitting.
Opt for a service that allows you to embed your registration and digital waiver forms directly into your website. This will not only keep users from bouncing around different platforms just to complete registration, but it will also keep them from fumbling through your own website in search of these forms.
Furthermore, your waiver can also be customized to respond to special circumstances and accommodations indicated by your attendants. For example, you might include a few of these critical registration questions in your registration forms:
- Would you like to register as a group or team?
- Would you prefer to pay online or on-site?
- Do you have any serious food allergies?
- Do you have any pre-existing conditions that might affect your experience?
- Do you have any mobility limitations event staff should be aware of?
Be sure to incorporate additional sections that automatically appear if your participants check “yes” to any of these special circumstance categories. This allows users exempt from these circumstances to more quickly complete their forms, while users with special circumstances receive a more personalized registration experience.
From start to finish, implementing a digital waiver can minimize the hassle and complications of pre-event registration by creating a streamlined process. Furthermore, wasted time, back-and-forth communications, and miscommunications that are common with print waivers can be cut out entirely by this simple, paperless solution.
On top of all that, these intuitive forms will help to set your event up for success by providing insights about your participants that will help you prepare, such as the need for disability accommodations, the ratio of children to adults, and overall projected attendance figures.
2. Simplify Check-Ins and Event Management
Imagine this: The day of your big event has arrived. You’ve planned and coordinated a community 5K, complete with custom event t-shirts , an army of enthusiastic volunteers, and medals for your participants. And now your guests are beginning to flock to the race course.
It doesn’t take long for the first hurdle of the day to arrive. Just a few minutes into the event, an entire group of guests say that they haven’t completed their liability waivers.
With a paper waiver and registration system, this would be a pain for your team and attendees. A stack of forms would need to be passed out and tediously filled out. Then your staff would have to comb through every document to check that each field was completed correctly, before needing to carefully organize these forms for safekeeping.
Worse still, this is just for the first group that has forgotten to finish the registration process! Imagine how many dozens of other attendees will need to complete these documents on-site, creating a continuous crowd right at the entrance to the race.
All of these pains and worries can be minimized with a digital waiver system. Guests who’ve neglected to fill out their waivers can quickly and easily use their own devices to complete the process during check-in. You simply need to add the waiver to your website, have printed QR codes at your check-in center, and the rest is taken care of. Alternatively, Smartwaiver can turn your ipad into a signing kiosk for your event.
The waiver will automatically flag and stop the submission of waivers that haven’t been completed correctly, and your staff no longer has to worry about organizing and potentially losing these important legal documents.
Furthermore, even barring the most forgetful of your guests, the digital waiver and registration process can optimize the event experience for all of your participants.
With a digital solution, your staff doesn’t need to flip through stacks of completed paperwork or lists to find the names of pre-registered guests. Instead, they can search and locate all important information about your guests with just a few clicks, cutting the time spent at your check-in desks to a minimum so that attendees can quickly jump into the day of fun you’ve prepared for them.
3. Streamline Marketing and Post-Event Engagement
Your communications with your participants shouldn’t end after they’ve wrapped up their activities for the day. When your supporters fill out a digital waiver, they leave behind a host of personal data that can be integrated into your CRM software to create targeted marketing campaigns that will bring them back for more.
For example, names, contact information, approximate age, and event attendance history are just a few of the key pieces of information you could use to personalize your post-event communications.
Email is a particularly effective medium for these types of campaigns. Program advertisements, course registration information, and future event invitations are best suited for this more long-form medium.
However, SMS and text programs have become an increasingly popular way to reach out to existing customers. This allows you to send quick messages, like discount announcements and event reminders, directly to your customers through their most frequent mode of communication.
You could even take your post-event outreach strategies a step further by including calendar integrations. Some event planning software allows participants to sync their personal calendars with major events and initiatives with your own program calendar.
Additionally, digital waiver data can do far more than simply retain the customers that you already have.
These banks of information can be used to create personas that will optimize your customer and donor acquisition strategies. Leverage your social media and other platforms with advertisements that have been customized to appeal to your target audience and reach new customers.
This year has placed unprecedented pressure on small businesses to brainstorm successful, safe event campaigns. In the midst of a global pandemic, this has proven incredibly difficult. However, with these digital waiver-driven strategies, your organization may have more control over the success of your current events and activities than you may realize.
An intelligent digital waiver solution will allow you to carry out every step of the event lifecycle with more precision, insight, and confidence. Though it will continue to be a difficult time for event-centered organizations, we hope that these intuitive solutions will allow you to tackle the challenges of this year far more efficiently than the last.