How Ruffalo Noel Levitz Slashes Its Manual Contracting Steps by Half

It used to take 15 steps for the team to get a contract through each cycle. With Ironclad, they now only have to complete six steps, and the rest is automated.
graduate holding a diploma

We are no longer building contracts by hand or saving, tracking, negotiating, and securing signatures in different systems. With Ironclad, I can do everything in one place, which allows the contract process to go much quicker and increases our capacity to spend time on higher-level projects.

Jennifer Hamdorf - Director, Contracts and Legal Operations, Ruffalo Noel Levitz

Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL) provides post-secondary enrollment, student success, and fundraising solutions to over 1,900 colleges and nonprofits around the world every year. With its technology-enabled solutions, RNL helps its clients recruit and retain students as well as engage and develop donors.



  • Managing highly customized contracts
  • Replacing a broken document automation system
  • Finding a customizable contract management solution
  • Complying with fundraising regulations
  • Getting a new solution in place quickly


  • Ironclad’s digital contracting solution
  • Utilize Ironclad’s friendly and knowledgeable team
  • Automate processes and simplify workflows
  • Increase efficiency among the legal team
  • Integrate Salesforce and Ironclad
  • Expand Ironclad to HR and vendor contracts


  • 50% fewer manual steps in the contracting process
  • 50% fewer total contract “touches”
  • Less human error
  • Faster contracting process


Managing highly negotiated contracts

Jennifer Hamdorf, Director of Contracts and Legal Operations at Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL), realized she had to shut down the company’s document automation software when she discovered it was generating different versions of the same contract template.

Jennifer explains the source of the problem: “Anytime I updated a contract template stored on our server, the connection between our server and our document automation software would break. As a result, the document automation software would no longer generate contracts using the most recent version of the template.”

Most of these contracts were customer contracts that detailed sales agreements for RNL’s products and services. Given their importance, Jennifer made the decision to shut the system down entirely and return to time-consuming manual processes.

“We couldn’t have incorrect contracts going out to our customers,” says Jennifer. “We didn’t trust the system.”

Jennifer and her legal team made this difficult decision even as RNL entered its busiest contracting season.

Issues with its document automation system had been ongoing and were compounded by a lack of support from the vendor.

“Our document automation software would break often,” says Jennifer. “Throughout the engagement, we had difficulty getting support from the vendor to help resolve system functionality issues.”

As soon as RNL’s busy season passed, Jennifer started researching contract management solutions. The search was made more challenging by RNL’s unique requirements:

First, the typical sales team self-serve contracting model wouldn’t work because RNL customer contracts can be highly customized.

Using a contract management solution that didn’t offer customization out of the box wasn’t an option for us. We needed to find a platform we could customize.

Second, RNL is subject to specific compliance regulations as a professional fundraiser, adding another layer of complexity.

To put even more pressure on the selection process, Jennifer needed to have a solution in place and working seamlessly before the next busy season started in a few months.


Ironclad’s digital contracting solution

Jennifer decided to implement Ironclad’s digital contracting solution to bring more control and speed to RNL’s contracting process—and eliminate any confusion surrounding templates and versions.

Automating processes and simplifying workflows

Jennifer started by implementing separate workflows for the 80 products and services RNL offers to colleges, universities, and nonprofits. But as she became more familiar with the platform—and Ironclad rolled out new features— she began to simplify those workflows.

“Originally, we built 50 workflows,” says Jennifer. “But with Ironclad’s multi-document function, I could combine and condense them down to 22.”

Jennifer also implemented additional Ironclad features, such as Formulas, for greater efficiency and control.

“With Formulas, dates, and payment schedules are automatically calculated in the contract, so our team does not have to make these calculations manually,” says Jennifer.

Increasing efficiency among the legal team

Perhaps the biggest benefit for Jennifer and her team is the role Ironclad plays in keeping them organized and efficient.

“If one of our team members is out and a question comes up, we don’t have to dig through emails to answer it,” says Jennifer. “We can look at the Ironclad activity feed to see exactly what’s going on with that contract.”

Jennifer and her team are also meeting their service-level agreements (SLAs) for contract completion more easily with Ironclad. Under those SLAs, the legal team has to complete standard contracts in 48 hours and non-standard contracts in five business days.

We are no longer building contracts by hand or saving, tracking, negotiating, and securing signatures in different systems. With Ironclad, we can do everything in one place, which allows the contract process to go much quicker and increases our capacity to spend time on higher-level projects.”

Integrating Salesforce and Ironclad

Jennifer and her team are also integrating Ironclad with Salesforce. They’ve completed phase one of the project, with the ability to push and pull data between the two systems.

Next up are plans for even greater integration between the two platforms.

Ironclad’s friendly, knowledgeable team

Through RNL’s partnership with Ironclad, Jennifer was thrilled with the support she received from the Ironclad team.

Ironclad felt like an extension of our team from the very first meeting. Not only did the technology meet our needs, every single person I’ve interacted with at Ironclad has been wonderful.

Expanding Ironclad to HR and vendor contracts

Given that RNL’s partnership with Ironclad has been so positive, it’s no surprise that Jennifer and her team have plans to expand its Ironclad rollout to other types of contracts.

“We’ve started building out Ironclad for our HR team to use so they can build independent contractor agreements,” says Jennifer. “And we’ve been working with our expanded legal team to use it for other agreements, including vendor contracts and NDAs.”


50% fewer manual steps in the contracting process

With Ironclad, RNL has streamlined its contracting process, reducing the number of manual steps by half.

Before, it took 15 steps for Jennifer and her team to take a contract from requested to executed. With Ironclad, the team now only has to complete six steps, and the rest is automated.

As a result, RNL has also slashed its total number of contract “touches” in half.

Jennifer estimates that over the course of less than a year, that’s 23,112 fewer touches, decreasing from 38,520 in 2020 to an estimated 15,408 in 2021.

As an added bonus, this increased automation also means less human error.

Thanks to the efficiencies gained by automating and consolidating contracting on the Ironclad platform, Jennifer and her team have been able to shorten the contracting process.

We’ve renewed more contracts this year than we have in the past several years, while also speeding up the contracting process. We can attribute part of that achievement to Ironclad.

See how digital contracting can level-up your business. Request a demo.

  • 2/3 Workflows Consolidated
  • 50% Steps Automated

How to Know if You’re Ready for a Successful CLM Implementation

Deploying any new software is a large task, but you can drastically improve your chances of success by doing the proper prep work and following this advice from experts and fellow contracting teams.

Read Now