How DocuSign Makes a Difference at the Special Olympics

Keith Krach
September 15, 2016

At MOMETUM’15, the 2015 event for the annual conference hosted by DocuSign, CEO Keith Krach announced the establishment of the DocuSign Impact Foundation. Designed to empower the nonprofit sector, the DocuSign Impact Foundation supports the people who support those in need by making the administrative aspect of charitable work easier and more accessible around the world.

One of the flagship stories showing the impact that DocuSign can have on a nonprofit is the company's involvement with the Special Olympics, announced at MOMENTUM’15 on day two. Since its inception, the partnership between the technology company and the nonprofit sporting event has had a substantial impact on the lives of the athletes involved. Before exploring its impact, let’s review how the partnership evolved.

Before DocuSign

The Special Olympics’ 4.5 million athletes come from nearly 170 countries across the globe who gather to participate in Olympic-style training and competitions in a wide range of sporting events. The mission of the organization is to allow people with intellectual disabilities to develop and focus on personal strengths to find joy, camaraderie, and confidence within themselves.

The Special Olympics ultimately hopes to reach every one of the 200 million people around the world who are living with intellectual disabilities. However, in order to take on the goal, the organization needed to find a way to accommodate the participation and promote the safety of its steadily-growing number of athletes.

Before any Special Olympics athlete can participate in a sporting event, he or she must complete a collection of forms, some of which differ based on where the athlete is competing. However, one form universally needed by athletes from every city, state, and country is that of a signed medical release form.

This permission slip requires the signature of a parent or guardian for athletes under the age of 18, along with the signature of a medical examiner after the completion of a physical exam. These forms must be kept current through regular updates every three years, and athletes whose forms are misplaced, outdated, or forgotten cannot compete in events.

Prior to the adoption of DocuSign, securing these medical forms for millions of athletes every three years posed a significant risk of paper becoming lost as it traveled from the hands of medical professionals through to the Special Olympics administration. Executives spoke of the devastation witnessed when medical permission slips were lost or forgotten, preventing athletes from participating in events they had worked hard to compete in.

After DocuSign

Though this problem of missing medical forms was the one that most directly impacted the athletes, it was far from the only paper-based problem that was taking a toll on the Special Olympics’ operations. The incorporation of DocuSign technology into the Special Olympics’ internal operations not only provided the organization with a way to prevent the disappointment of lost permission slips, but also helped the group to replace paper-based processes and provide a more organized, fluid experience for athletes, volunteers, and employees.

DocuSign’s sponsorship of the Special Olympics has allowed involved athletes to easily obtain signatures from doctors, coaches, and guardians. Prior to DocuSign’s involvement, obtaining the three to five signatures on all paperwork involved in medical clearance forms took an average of 22 days and required the documents be passed between at least three separate parties.

Today, DocuSign’s HIPAA-compliant software is used to complete medical clearance forms as soon as an athlete gets approval from a medical professional or guardian - anytime, anywhere. This reduces the likelihood that Special Olympians experience the disappointment of finding out that they cannot compete due to a missing form.

Since the incorporation of DocuSign, the Special Olympics has not only seen a reduction in the loss of participation forms, but has also automated internal processes to reduce the funds spent on paper-based processes by $35 per document. This means that funds that once needed to be used to make operations run can now be applied directly toward the mission of the organization.

In addition, DocuSign’s digital forms and direct imports allow Special Olympics employees to save time that previously needed to be spent on data entry. This results in less time spent on paperwork and more time dedicated to enhancing the experience of the organization’s athletes.

Into the Future

With the help of DocuSign, the Special Olympics aims to achieve even more for its participants in the future. The through the use of the Digital Transaction Management platform, the organization hopes to save over $1 million dollars over the course of the next few years, while also reducing the time it takes an athlete’s clearance forms to be complete. Rather than 22 days, Special Olympics leadership hopes to make the timeframe for completion closer to just three.

The Special Olympics is already the largest provider of no-cost health examinations for people with intellectual disabilities in the world. Ultimately, with its 32 summer and winter sports, with trainings and competitions taking place daily as well as official Summer and Winter Games alternating every two years, the organization wants every person living with an intellectual disability to have the opportunity to explore personal talents and pursue a healthier lifestyle, and DocuSign’s convenient products will be there to help them do it.

Keith Krach

Keith Krach is Chairman of DocuSign, The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management.