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6 most common types of forms and where you need them

Data is the lifeblood of modern businesses. How you collect and keep track of important information can make all the difference to how your business functions. Paper forms used to be the only option for collecting the data your organization needed, but not anymore.

Today, e-forms have taken the stage as the most effective way to gather information and analyze it in a single place.

Why Use e-Forms?

An e-form is an online document that does all the work of old-school paper forms but without their limitations. Just like paper forms, an electronic form contains text fields for the reader to fill out.

However, their online nature makes e-forms easier to turn in and process than any physical document.

But why are electronic forms so effective at what they do?

There are three significant benefits e-forms have over paper forms.

By making the switch, your organization can:

  • Save Time: Online forms by nature are an instant way to collect information. Switching to e-forms helps you trim the time it takes to send and receive paper forms along with the processing time to input data.
  • Prevent Mistakes: Physical forms make human error impossible to avoid. Data entry takes time and can lead to typos or misreading messy handwriting. By swapping to e-forms, you guarantee that you collect exactly what was submitted in the form, with less potential for error.
  • Encourage Responses: The best way to encourage people to share their information with your organization is to make it easy. Electronic forms make it easy for your audience to submit data without the hassle of writing it out by hand. When new forms are easy to fill out and turn in, you’ll get more responses and a better collection of data.

Electronic forms are versatile as well. Here are six types of online forms you can use to make your organization’s data collection and storage more straightforward than ever.

e-Forms for Sales and HR

Running an organization takes a lot of coordination. From monitoring employees and managing schedules to taking orders and recording deliveries, how you keep track of people and products makes all the difference.

Here are two different types of e-forms that can help you coordinate your two most important assets.

Order Forms

Sales are the backbone of most e-commerce businesses. Order forms allow your customers to outline what they want to purchase along with their payment method and any other details that are relevant to their order.

However, paper forms can be damaged, misread, or simply delayed, making it harder to fulfill your orders.‌

Meanwhile, e-forms not only prevent those customer relationship management (CRM) problems, but they also offer particular benefits that make sales simpler than ever. An e-form can be filled out without the hassle of printing and mailing paper documents. This removes a barrier between your potential customers and your product or service.

‌You can also use PandaDoc’s secure e-signature and payment functionality to complete the entire order through the e-form. When everything your prospects need is collected into a single e-form, your sales team can focus on making sales instead of doing paperwork.

Employee Application Forms

Every business is made up of people, which is why it’s so important for HR professionals to do their due diligence when hiring new employees. Finding the right fit for a position can be difficult if it requires sifting through paper documents and soliciting physical applications.

After all, highly qualified employees will likely ignore any position that makes the application process conditional on physical documents.

By using electronic job application forms, you can solve two problems at once.

PandaDoc’s online form builder allows you to create the exact form you need to pick out successful candidates. Ask the questions that matter to your organization with a simple checkbox and drop-down answers. You can even automate file uploads into a central database.

Meanwhile, when highly qualified applicants see a simple and user-friendly application, they’re more likely to apply for the position. This gives HR professionals a better selection of candidates for every position and a better workforce going forward.

e-Forms for Administrative Teams

At every organization, many administrative details need to be handled behind the scenes. Many administrators have to juggle paperwork to maintain their organization’s licensure and improve their results.

Here are two basic forms that you can convert to online alternatives to make admin tasks more manageable.‌

Feedback Forms

The best way to learn what people think of your organization is to ask them. Feedback forms are a valuable tool for analyzing the success of different initiatives and understanding where your organization can improve.

However, convincing people to complete feedback forms can be complicated if they need to turn in a physical document.

Online feedback forms are quicker to complete and more likely to generate a response than a physical form. When a document is easier to return, more people will give you their opinion, and you’ll develop a broader understanding of your customers’ opinions.

Even better, with feedback forms and automation like those at PandaDoc, every response is automatically collated into a single database.

This makes it easy to analyze how people respond in real-time, without the need for data entry. Your organization can respond to problems as they come up instead of waiting until monthly or quarterly check-ins.

‌Medical Consent Forms

In the medical field, consent forms are a mandatory element for HIPAA adherence. Tracking patient consent forms and expiration dates is critical to avoid potentially costly lawsuits. However, paper documents can be lost or destroyed, leading to problems down the road.

That’s why many mental health, dental, and telehealth treatment consent forms are all being moved to online providers like PandaDoc. Not only are these online alternatives easier to track and keep up to date, but they also provide a secure way to collect signatures.

PandaDoc’s robust, secure e-signature functionality helps you track each patient’s consent in a legally trustworthy manner. A verified e-signature can make the difference between a document that holds up in court and one that doesn’t.

Meanwhile, patients receive a clear notification that their consent form has been received, providing a solid paper trail for all parties.‌

e-Forms for Non-Profits

Non-profit organizations have unique challenges. Unlike other organizations, they need to solicit donations and connect with people who will help support their causes.

Using e-forms like those offered by PandaDoc can free up volunteer time to focus on more important tasks than data entry.

Donation Forms

Soliciting donations is crucial for the success of a non-profit organization. Anything you can do to make it easier for potential donors to complete their contribution helps your organization better achieve its mission.

Paper donation forms do have a long history in non-profits. However, they also bar younger and technologically-inclined people from making their first donation to causes they support.

‌On the other hand, donation e-forms offer a simple solution for connecting with the next generation of donors. Most younger people are comfortable with online transactions and may not have a way to donate with physical forms.

An electronic donation can collect the donor’s contact information and contribution through the same payment form. People without checkbooks can use an e-form to donate with PayPal or their credit or debit cards instead.

This one simple change can connect your non-profit with a whole new audience of potential supporters.

Volunteer Contact Forms

Volunteers are the force behind many non-profits’ success. People choose to take time out of their day to do good work for others.

However, since volunteers don’t get compensated for their work, it can be easy to discourage them from signing up if paper contact forms are the only option.

Online volunteer applications connect your non-profit with many more eager volunteers.

Instead of requiring them to hunt down paper forms and mail them in, PandaDoc’s e-forms empower potential volunteers to sign up from their mobile devices or PCs. You’re respecting your volunteers’ time and effort by making the application process as simple as possible.

It’s also better for your organization. These e-forms consolidate all your volunteers’ information and availability into a single location, so you can make schedules and contact people without the hassle of searching paper documents. This allows you to focus on supporting your non-profit’s mission instead of troubleshooting timetables.

Choose the Right Form for Your Needs

No matter what type of form data you need to collect, the right digital platform can streamline your workflow dramatically. With Instant submission and centralized data collection, your organization can manage everything from orders and petitions to medical consent without needing to print or store any physical documents.

‌Choosing the right e-form builder can make all the difference. That’s why so many companies choose to work with PandaDoc — the industry leader in form building.

Form creation tools, e-signatures, payment functionality, and a secure platform make PandaDoc the perfect choice for all your e-form needs.

‌Sign up for your PandaDoc 14-day free trial to explore how PandaDoc can help your company go paperless today.