Paperless on purpose

Why third sector organizations should embrace all-digital working as they press for positive change.

Document signatures are one of the last hurdles to digital transformation in the charitable sector. They’re a handwritten hangover from the dark days before software started helping paper-intensive organizations everywhere simplify, streamline, and save.

But change is possible and easier than you might think. E-signing is helping charities, non-profits, social enterprises, and NGOs leave hardcopy behind and simplify their workflows, freeing up fundraising and operational teams to focus on the organizational mission. 

Crucially for the third sector, e-signatures remove manual headaches and free people to do more with less — while preserving hard-won funding for core activities.

But getting there for many will mean adapting old processes to the new digital reality. The truth is, when documents and compliance are a vital part of organizational workflow, giving up the ink-on-paper habit can be tricky. 

In this post, we'll explain how taking paper out of the equation can help NGOs achieve their goals faster and help them sustain purpose in everything they do

Meeting the needs of digital donors

The world is moving faster, and the third sector is adapting itself to new behaviors. When donors and stakeholders are digital-first, sending them paper and insisting on physical signatures can get in the way of engagement. 

It stifles response in fundraising campaigns and adds time to the already document-intensive process of applying for grants, seeking philanthropic gifts, or reporting progress to funders.

Paper adds time. It also adds risk. Documents sent by courier and post can sit in mail slots or get mislaid. They can be lost, damaged, stacked under other papers or sent to the wrong division. Sometimes they simply disappear in transit.

When the recipient does finally get to it and sign off, errors can occur. Dates might not be filled in, witness signatures can be forgotten, a crucial initial on page 42 missed out. 

All that could mean missed deadlines, starting the process all over again, or worse — lost opportunity.

How SignRequest helps the third sector stay on-mission

From onboarding volunteers and processing applications to simplifying membership renewals and finalizing sponsorship contracts faster, SignRequest supports the third sector.

Make life easier for funders, donors, and volunteers

E-signing makes completing and finalizing forms and contracts frictionless. Bringing on new donors, renewing annual gifts, responding to regulatory queries and applying for grants can all involve a lot of paper and a lot of sending documents back-and-forth. 

SignRequest’s easy-to-use e-signature platform works from any device, meaning supporters and stakeholders get a convenient, personalized and user-friendly landing page where they can complete forms, provide approval, or add signatures to pledge and registration forms online, anywhere. 

Taking signatures digital makes collecting and storing stakeholder information easier. It also means you can blend functionality across systems by integrating e-signature with your current productivity tools.

Streamline admin and save money

E-signing with SignRequest helps you cut costs and say goodbye to time-consuming manual processes related to printing, scanning, sending, receiving, and storing hardcopy documents.  Why push paper when you should be pushing for positive change? E-signing protects your budget and minimizes distractions so you can allocate more resources to mission-specific tasks.

Fast system rollout with minimal training

SignRequest is a SaaS platform, meaning it's cloud-based and accessible from any web browser, desktop or mobile. There’s no software to download or installation guide to follow. You can have your teams up and running in minutes, sending gift forms and contracts for e-signature the same day. 

For international charities and NGOs, SignRequest is available in 17 languages, with more on the way. Just select the one you need from the user menu.

Use SignRequest to simplify everyday document tasks:

  • Gift agreement forms
  • Corporate sponsorship contracts
  • Gift agreement forms
  • Funding applications
  • Reports to funders (if required/relevant to sign)
  • Regulatory submissions
  • Volunteer applications
  • Membership renewals
  • Budget approvals
  • HR onboarding for new hires

Why every sector is signing up to e-signatures

Signed documents stay organized in one place

SignRequest gives you a single shared folder you can use to track and store all your documents. You'll see the status of each one instantly and know what action has been taken.

In the My Documents hub, you’ll see all the documents you've sent, with a log and audit trail attached to each one. Every document gets its own unique document ID. That makes it easy to see what's been sent, viewed, signed, declined, canceled, or 'still waiting.'

Integrate e-signatures with existing tools

SignRequest comes pre-integrated with some of the most popular cloud platforms on the planet, from Google Workspace to Salesforce, M-Files, and more. We've connected the dots to help you stay focused on the mission.

Alongside those big names, we've also integrated SignRequest with more than 2,000 Zapier apps. That means you can fully automate your e-signature flow with a long list of sector-specific apps. You can send a SignRequest, or let a signed document trigger the next step via Zapier in a nurture or re-activation funnel. 

Connect with colleagues more seamlessly

With SignRequest team accounts, you'll be able to work closely with colleagues on campaign assets, reports for grant applications. Everyone will have access to the correct, current version while we track who took what action on each one. 

You can switch between a personal account and a team account at any time. We also offer branding features that allow you to customize your documents with your charity’s logos, fonts, and colors.

Protect privacy and confidentiality

Privacy and confidentiality are vital in the third sector. E-signatures can strengthen it by boosting security and protecting donor, funder, volunteer and service user information. 

Every connection to a SignRequest server is protected by Secure Socket Layer (SSL) 256-bit encryption. Two-factor authorization and Single Sign-On ensures that no one is accessing documents or seeing personal data who shouldn’t be.

Compliant and legally-binding

SignRequest is secure and compliant, so you can be confident that your e-signatures are legally binding. 

They're valid under US and European digital signature legislation: eIDAS in the EU and ESIGN and UETA in the US. 

Responsible on purpose

At SignRequest, we take our social responsibilities seriously. We partner with the Eden Reforestation Projects charity to plant a tree each for every new paid sign-up. And we support the third sector more broadly. 

We are proud to offer our e-signature solution at a 10 percent discount to qualifying charity, NGO and non-profit customers. 

Join other third sector organizations around the world already using SignRequest to drive positive change.

Get in touch if you want to find out more.

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