Grants coordinator breaks down this important community investment tool

As an organization that stewards public dollars for the public good, Calgary Arts Development spearheads grant-based programs that add a splash of vibrancy and excitement to our wonderful city.

In my daily role, this flurry of activity translates into drawing up and managing a high volume of contracts (or, as we call them investment agreements) that need to be shared and signed by our valued grant recipients.

In this fieldnote, I will attempt to explain a digital tool that we use called DocuSign.

Moving us away from workflows built on paper-based and manual processes, Calgary Arts Development piloted it last year and saw substantive success. Its continued adoption is driven by the convenience we believe DocuSign creates for our clients when it comes to completing investment agreements.

What is DocuSign?

DocuSign is a web and mobile application that collects, manages, and validates electronic signatures for your documents.

With most offices closed around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, DocuSign has emerged to be an essential electronic signature tool that enables us to close agreements without having to print, sign, and scan or mail documents back and forth.

How Does DocuSign work?

Within the DocuSign application, you can create an agreement by migrating and modifying an existing template or create a new one.

Once a document is set up, you can send it electronically to your intended recipients and they’ll get a notification that they need to review and sign it.

DocuSign makes it easy for your recipients to review and sign or otherwise verify their approval of the agreement on the go, and without ever downloading or creating an account with DocuSign.

Once they’re done, you’ll get a notification and you can then manage signatures and documents from your history, updating them and re-sending them if and when needed.

What are the Advantages of Using DocuSign?

Efficiency & Convenience

The first and most important benefit is a much faster turnaround for all aspects of completing an agreement. You can send documents instantly through the application’s convenient integration with Outlook and other email applications. Your recipients can then, immediately, digitally sign and send them back.

The entire digital workflow is intuitive and anyone can use it with minimal training or experience. The best part is that your recipients do not need a DocuSign account in order to access and approve the agreement.

More Security & Digital Audit Trails

Agreements signed with DocuSign actually provide a much lower risk of tampering when compared to paper contracts. Signatures and documents are encrypted and authentication options ensure that the intended recipients get access.

Furthermore, you’ll have digital audit trails that are created with every new signature. Movements in the process are time-stamped.

Saving Money & Trees

From trees to water to carbon emissions, the impact of paper production for many business workflows is significant and avoidable. Storing and archiving paper documents also come with a heavy, and avoidable, price tag. At Calgary Arts Development we have seen a tremendous reduction in our paper production and playing an important role in reducing a carbon footprint.

DocuSign is one of the many applications that we have incorporated into Calgary Arts Development and we are always on the lookout for more opportunities in which we can operate efficiently as a team and support our grant recipients.

Van ChuA photo of Van Chu is the grants coordinator at Calgary Arts Development. She is your first point of contact for inquiries to the community investment team and program policies.

Van completed her BA major in marketing at SAIT. She has over five years of community investment from a corporate level where she was responsible for evaluating, improving, and managing the employee giving program, donations committee budget, and assessment reports.

In her free time, you can find Van spending quality time with the family creating and designing Christmas ornaments to sell at local craft markets!

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