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The Age of Digital Signing in Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs)

Posted on 26 April, 2021 at 15:26

By Linda Calisto

The Covid19 pandemic has moved the world an inch. Digitization can no longer be underestimated. Embracing technology cannot be ignored either. The new world demands corporates, and all institutions including the Nonprofit sector to tilt towards investing in modern technology. More so, the Covid19 pandemic has seen most people in the NPO sector facing the possibility of weeks or months under lockdown and most have adopted the work from home approach and some having their programs affected negatively. This has seen a change of way in the operations of the Non Profit Sector as most organizational meetings have shifted to taking place online so as to try and cope with the situation. This initiative has created a great room for employees to work from remote locations. However, technology has also strengthened another face which is Digital Signing.

Digital Signing is when a signer electronically signs a document, the signature is created using the signer’s private key. Digital signatures did not only increase the efficiency of the organization but also cut on time wasted in preparing and distributing manual paperwork for signing. Digital signatures have been with us for a long time, but organizations seemed to not make greater use of them. Due to the pandemic most organizations have now embraced the use of these signatures especially in the NPO sector so as to expedite processes. Technology has assisted in turning the existing paper forms into digitally signable ones which employees can then send to the respective parties. If for example the Executives who are responsible for budget approval are working from home the project can still go on as the budget can be shared through email with the relevant authorities for approval by signing online. They can use Adobe Acrobat Software which enables them to sign a pdf document and this can save a lot of time. Signing a pdf document has quite a number of options, one can type, draw or insert an image of his or her written signature. When you save the document the signature and text become part of the pdf.

Working remotely can be of great advantage to the employees, due to the flexibility of being able to work from home but looking at the NPO sector, most employees cannot carry out their work as they used to. Working in the Nonprofit sector requires much of working physically from the office as the roles are interlinked and there is a wide use of approvals in the form of signatures by the respective authorities It is of paramount importance that organizations in the NPO sector rely on the use of technology for them to be able to continue their operation and to realize their objectives without any hindrances or delays.

Online signing allows one to collect signatures from the respective authorities from anywhere and at any time, for example if the Finance Director is the one responsible for signing the expenditure report that will be needed by the donor for them to disburse funds, the report can be shared with him via email and he can sign and send back without any physical contact involved in the process. Online signing does not deter Non Profit Organizations from complying with the organization’s and the donor’s regulations. There is also improved governance by storing and managing all the signed reports and relevant documents from a centralized location.

 Above all the digital signatures are also economically friendly as they help the organization save on stationery, electricity and fuel, thus lowering the administrative costs. As such it will allow NPOs to reallocate budget from pushing paper to pushing for change. Therefore, NPOs can invest more in their nonprofit’s mission-critical programs.

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