Posted on May 8, 2016
Team Rubicon: On Using Smartwaiver


One of the best aspects of working at Smartwaiver is getting to know the thousands of incredible businesses and organizations that use our software. A majority of our customers are passionate, high energy, "make-it-happen" type of people that inspire us each and every day.

One such inspiring Smartwaiver customer is Team Rubicon, a non-profit organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Since 2010 Team Rubicon goes where they’re needed most - natural disaster areas. They’ve travelled all over the world to assist communities that have been affected by natural, calamitous events. One of their recent operations was in Smartwaiver’s home state of Oregon where they responded to massive flooding that forced many residents to evacuate their homes.

We love working with Team Rubicon and are extremely thankful for the good work they do.

We caught up with Pat Ross, Deputy Director of Membership to talk about their waiver signing process and how Smartwaiver helps to streamline that work. With 400 volunteer leaders and over 35,000 volunteers (and growing) using paper waivers in the field was not a viable option. Pat recalls what it was like prior to using Smartwaiver:

“Our team leaders would burn through ink cartridges and boxes of printer paper trying to keep up with the rapid flow of volunteers streaming into our field volunteer reception centers. Our members often paid out of pocket every time the printer ink well went dry.”

Pat went on to say, “Once the disaster response operation concluded, our team would then alphabetize the waivers (sometimes in the thousands), box them up, and ship them to our Headquarters in Los Angeles. Then, we'd re-file the waivers and pay a fee to house them safely.

At every point there was frustration:

"Why does the printer not work on this computer?”
"Which driver do we need to re-download?"
"Oh, great, no more ink."
"Awesome, who spilled coffee on the last box of printer paper?"
"I need to resign my waiver, I left my paperwork at home."
"How on earth are we ever going to organize thousands of waivers?"
“Where is so-and-so's waiver?  Let's just sift through this seeming endless pile of paper and hope we get lucky!"

After dealing with the frustration of paper waivers, Team Rubicon turned to Smartwaiver to simplify and centralize their waiver process. When volunteers arrive on the scene of a disaster they are ready to dive in and get to work. Having to spend time filling out paper documents isn’t ideal nor is it a good use of the volunteer’s valuable time. With Smartwaiver, Team Rubicon is able to create an unlimited number of waiver templates and then distribute the correct waiver in a dispatch email to the volunteers before they head to the disaster zone. This allows volunteers to get to their important work quickly!

If a volunteer does need to sign a waiver on site, or if a waiver is required by a homeowner, tablets and smartphones have replaced the clipboards in the field.


Team Rubicon
Houston residents Billy and Juan Velasco, a Vietnam Army veteran, drop by Team Rubicon's forward operating base to request assistance in the wake of severe flooding. TR member Beth Curry gathers their information utilizing Smartwaiver so a strike team of volunteers can be sent to the Velascos' property to clean up.

With Smartwaiver, the headache of having to deal with the massive amounts of paper waivers was eliminated. Once a waiver is filled out and submitted, the signed, legal document is stored in our redundant and encrypted data storage system. While the admin piece of Team Rubicon’s operations certainly isn’t glamorous, it is crucial. Team members can easily find a signed volunteer waiver in seconds by searching for last name or DOB.


The simplicity of the Smartwaiver platform makes it easy for every volunteer leader to use, regardless of their technical knowledge. And because volunteer data is securely stored for however long they need it, other departments at Team Rubicon are able to benefit as well. Whether it’s sending thank you cards or to follow up with past participants, the process has been made simpler.

Pat concludes, "Smartwaiver has greatly eased our “click to shovel” process and accelerated Team Rubicon’s ability to get to work.” 

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