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Understanding nonprofit waiver essentials: An FAQ guide

Bonterra Author
August 03, 2022
Two nonprofit professionals look over a waiver on a laptop to ensure that it covers all the nonprofit waiver essentials.

For nonprofit organizations, waivers are necessary for ensuring that everyone involved in an upcoming activity or event—from staff to supporters—walks away with a safe and positive experience.

Despite its precautionary purpose, filling out a waiver does not have to be a dull and tiresome process. With the right strategies, your nonprofit can produce simple and convenient waivers to distribute to event participants. This guide will provide the answers to a few crucial questions on how to make the most of nonprofit waivers, whether you’re creating them for event attendees, volunteers, or staff.

Who needs to sign a nonprofit liability waiver?

Nearly every type of event or in-person activity has associated risks that a waiver can and should cover. While it might be easy to see how a 5K might lead to a sprained ankle or other liabilities, even something as leisurely as a gala can present its own risks in the form of exposure to illnesses or allergens. 

Additionally, beyond simple injury liability, waivers cover other important risks and legal requirements. This can include:

  • Photography releases
  • Obtaining parental consent for children to participate in activities
  • Warnings of potential exposure to illnesses
  • Information about food allergies and accessibility limitations

Remember, volunteers will need to sign waivers as well. Regardless of their duties, you’ll still want to cover all of your bases. Moving forward, think of waivers as a standard practice for any participants in your events, activities, or volunteer program.

What should a nonprofit waiver include?

Nonprofit waivers must be comprehensive and contain the necessary information to fully prepare participants for the event or activity they are about to attend. This ensures that your nonprofit avoids any legal complications related to its waiver. Always include these basic elements:

  • Names and contact information
  • Assumption of risks and responsibilities
  • Signature lines for participants or their legal guardians
  • The date of the event or activity
  • Confirmation of food or other allergens
  • Details about accessibility or mobility limitations 

Furthermore, these fields can collect plenty of important details about your supporters, including their contact and employment information, that can go a long way toward improving your communications—such as email marketing campaigns, personalized appeals, and event promotion.

What are the benefits of an effective nonprofit waiver?

A well-crafted, comprehensive waiver can not only protect your organization when it hosts events and activities, but it can boost your overall results in the following ways:

  • Better data management. With an effective online waiver system, your nonprofit can streamline data management by automatically transferring important volunteer, attendee, and event data into your CRM for maximum accuracy and efficiency.
  • More enjoyable participant experiences. Whether they’re a volunteer helping to set up an event or a high-value donor attending a gala, all of your supporters should have access to the information they need to prepare for and enjoy their experience with your nonprofit. A waiver can also help you to optimize your activities by accommodating participants’ needs, like nut-free food options or wheelchair accessibility.
  • Improved program and event planning. Use waivers to gather data on your event attendees, volunteers, and other supporters. Your nonprofit can then use this information to tailor offerings based on their needs and preferences. For example, if many of your supporters have children, you should plan more kid-friendly events.
  • A reputation of professionalism for your nonprofit. A well-constructed, convenient waiver will leave a positive impression on your organization’s supporters, making them more likely to continue engaging in future events and activities. Additionally, your waiver solution should be able to smoothly incorporate your organization’s branding, images, and even videos to optimize the signing process.

Online waivers, when compared to the tedium and disorganization of manual systems, provide added convenience and security to users. However, there are several factors to take into consideration when deciding on a suitable waiver software solution for your nonprofit.

What features should nonprofit waiver software have?

There are quite a few online waiver systems on the market, though not everything will meet your organization’s particular needs. To distinguish effective online waiver software from the rest, keep an eye out for these standout features:

  • Flagged questions. While questions such as “How did you learn about us?” are useful for long-term record-keeping, others are a little more pressing, like questions related to food allergies or previous event-related injuries. This feature allows you to mark certain fields that will have an immediate impact on your event planning and make it easy to identify when someone has filled out one of these fields.
  • Mobile signing. As the popularity of mobile devices continues to increase, you’ll want a waiver system that allows your supporters to complete waivers on their phones as well as desktops.
  • Embeddable forms. With embeddable waiver software, you can keep supporters on your nonprofit’s website for the entire process rather than redirecting them elsewhere. This is more convenient for participants and makes them feel more comfortable submitting their information online.

Additionally, some online waiver software solutions even offer mobile kiosk systems that allow your supporters to quickly click through and fill out their waivers on-site. This extra step helps cover your bases and streamline entry for participants who may have forgotten to pre-register and pre-sign.

Mastering nonprofit waiver essentials

In the hustle and bustle of planning your events, volunteer programs, and other activities, it can be easy to overlook your waivers. Fortunately, these nonprofit waiver strategies and solutions will put you on the path to success. Aided with the right software, your nonprofit can streamline your waiver process, strengthen data management, and boost communication moving forward.

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Written by

Bonterra Author
    Supporter Engagement
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing