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A Better Way to Get NDAs Done at GoFundMe

October 24, 2017 4 min read

Legal work, not paperwork, at GoFundMe

Automating NDAs for the world’s premier social fundraising platform

Since its founding in 2010, GoFundMe has rapidly grown into the world’s largest social fundraising platform. Today, GoFundMe’s community of donors comprises over 40 million people who have collectively raised over $4 billion for various causes.

Chris Young, CoFundMe's Head of Legal

GoFundMe’s Head of Legal is Chris Young, a former trial attorney at Keker & Van Nest and business development lead at OpenGov, Inc. At GoFundMe, Chris is responsible for reviewing every legal and policy issue that affects the company. This means that every employment contract, content agreement, vendor agreement, and any other binding contract has to go through Chris.

Contract administration before Ironclad 

“It was a long, drawn-out, inefficient process that took away lawyer time that could have been spent thinking about big picture strategy or doing deep dives into legal issues.”

Chris’s legal team is small, but still needs to be responsive to the diverse and evolving needs of a 300-person company with a half dozen offices in various parts of the world. Whether they’re dealing with contracts to solidify a third-party relationship, signing a new customer, or amending agreements to comply with data privacy relations, contracts are everywhere at GoFundMe. They are a major driving force for much of the important work that needs to get done.

Before Ironclad, parties all over GoFundMe emailed Chris directly to approve all types of contracts. The sheer volume of contracts and constant sense of urgency associated with each agreement meant that during busy periods, Chris would have to devote most of his time to contract review. Chris reviewed each contract, offering red-lines or handwritten commentary — but demands on time made it hard to dig deep into every contract or sustain direct, meaningful relationships with third-party counsel. During the negotiation process, Chris and his team went to great lengths to track which document version was the latest in a mess of emails. Once ready for signature, Chris or another member of his legal team would have to manually upload approved documents to DocuSign and ensure that fully executed agreements were properly named, filed, and stored.

The manual work was taxing, time-consuming, and tedious — but worst of all, it had a heavy opportunity cost:

“The more administrative work you’re doing, the less time a stretched legal department is thinking about protecting the business as a whole.”

Automating away NDAs

Chris needed a better, more streamlined process for getting contracts done. After researching a number of technology solutions, he decided to implement Ironclad to streamline contract workflows, starting with Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs).

A necessary precautionary measure to take whenever confidential information is at stake, NDAs can be a distracting and significant time suck for legal teams. Though they tend to be straightforward enough not to require negotiations, their volume nonetheless diverts legal resources.

Prior to implementing Ironclad, even simple NDAs took valuable time away from Chris’s strapped legal team, which was responsible for all assembling and completing NDAs: generating the document, filling out all the relevant information, collecting approvals, and sending for signature. At peak busy times, the volume of simple contracts like NDAs could take as much as 30% of Chris’s time.

Since implementing Ironclad, Chris rarely has to look at NDAs. Instead, he spends the time he would’ve sunk into routine contract administration thinking through big-picture strategy or working through complex agreements with third parties.

“Things are much easier now,” he says. “We are grateful we can rise above contract administration and focus on big-picture issues.”

Ironclad frees Chris’s time by making it dead simple for businesspeople to kick start and manage NDAs by themselves. “Businesspeople can handle NDAs from beginning to end, soup to nuts. The only training I had to provide was a two-pager that Ironclad provided. The UI and instructions in Ironclad are so easy that our Heads of Sales, Business Development, and Product have all started using Ironclad without needing to ask questions. Controls are baked in so there aren’t any human errors.”

Key benefits

From 30% time spent administering NDAs to 1%.

  • Chris now only needs to devote 1% of his time to reviewing NDAs, whereas during busy review periods he often had to spend nearly a third of his time reviewing NDAs and other simple agreements.

High quality implementation and service.

  • Easy, flexible implementation and customization of the product. “You get stellar service from actual lawyers who can empathize with you.”

Single source of truth for NDAs.

  • Ironclad has become the single source of truth for NDAs. Chris never has to worry about where they’re all stored, track versions, making sense of metadata.

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Stacey Wang is the Director of Product Marketing at Ironclad. Before Ironclad, she worked in Business Development at Palantir Technologies, and before that, she was a litigator at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. She is a California-licensed attorney and graduate of Harvard Law School.