We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users. This Gobble Gobble Four Miler Case Study focuses on creating techniques for fundraising and engaging Sponsors.
About the Gobble Gobble Four Miler:
The Gobble Gobble Four Miler is a Thanksgiving Day Race in Naples Florida directed by Matthew Sonneborn and timed by Endurance Sports Timing. The long-time race has benefited St. Matthew’s House for much of its tenure, and in 2015, Matt’s 13th year with the race, they used some unique Sponsor relationships and fundraising tactics to maximize their impact.
The Building Blocks:
Why Four Miles? The stretch of road that the Gobble Gobble race wanted to use naturally lent itself to a 4-miler. Additionally, there are not a lot of 4 mile races, which allows the distance to be something of a differentiator.
- ‘Lil Gobbler’s Dash: A short race for those 6 & under
- 1 Mile Run/Walk: A family-friendly fitness walk
- 4 Mile Run/Walk: An untimed, non-intimidating 4-mile run/walk for runners who don’t care abut timing, slow joggers, walkers, strollers, etc.
- 4 Mile Competitive Run: A timed 4-mile race
The separation of categories serves a few purposes:
- The timed 4-miler is a few dollars more expensive; this covers the additional cost of timing, an encourages only those who care about being time to sign up for that division.
- There is concern about how many people are on the road at the time, and dividing the divisions (with slightly different start times) spreads out the traffic, and creates natural “waves” that help ensure people are lining up more-or-less according to their intended speed.
A Sustainable, Green Race
Gobble Gobble Four Miler uses a few green strategies for their race:
- Parking: The limited available parking (just 200 onsite spots) makes green options not just responsible, but necessary. To get around this, they offer VIP Carpooling, shuttles, and a free bike valet.
- The event is Cup-Free: there are no cups on the course. Instead, runners who want water on-course should bring a drinking device (hydrapouch, fuel belt, or water bottle), and will have water dispensed through a high speed valve (hydrapour system).
Supporting a Charity through Donations & Fundraising
After many years of working with them, Matt has a great relationship with the chief Charity, St. Matthew’s House, and considers the fundraising they can do for them, and the second charity (95210 Kids on the GO!) the “why” of the having the race. To encourage and increase fundraising, he tests out a range of unique fundraising options.
All registrants are prompted to make a donation during registration. They use a series of Thanksgiving-themed Donation Levels to encourage more donations.
In previous year, Matt had an option to donate $100 and get into the race for free. While this was not the case this year, he still saw a relatively high number of $100 donors (17 participants), and attributes this to an established tradition of giving.
“I don’t know many races where that aspect – the donation – has become a tradition. The idea is basically that I’m going to sell you a $25 entry for $100…but people love it. And the Charity wins, because all the money goes to the charity at my race” – Matt Sonneborn
Enabling Fundraisers on RunSignUp
Waiving the Entry Fee with a Fundraising Minimum:
The ability for a runner to create a fundraiser was enabled and runners were able to waive their registration fee for a minimum of $250 in fundraising.
A Fundraising Challenge: The race provided an additional incentive for creating and promoting a fundraiser. Matt implemented a Fundraising Challenge in which the top fundraiser (over $1,000) would win a meal, to be prepared in their home by two high profile local chefs. In the end, instead of a home, the chefs will go to the St. Matthew’s homeless shelter to help the catering team there to make a meal and tour the charity they helped.
Final Result of the Fundraising Effort:
$7,147.14 to St. Matthew’s House
$1,578.25 to 95210 Kids on the GO!
$8,725.39 collected from donations & fundraising by 1,555 Race Participants
Thinking Outside the Box: Getting Sponsors Involved
Partnering with a Running Store for Packet Pickup:
In 2015, the race packet pickup was hosted by a relatively new, local running store, Fit2Run. Offering on-site packet pickup to a Running Store sponsor was great way to add value to a sponsorship, while encouraging runners to get their packets prior to race morning.
Fit2Run was thrilled by the outcome of the sponsorship, seeing their best day in sales (to date) during the packet pickup.
Packet Pickup: A selling point for all types of sponsors:
While Fit2Run was a fitting sponsor for Packet Pickup in 2014, Matt has worked with, and will in the future, less traditional sponsors for Packet Pickup as well. In 2013, Packet Pickup was hosted by their partner bike shop. The 1,000 people of foot traffic to their store – checking out bike products and learning about the race morning bike valet – was a tangible value to them.
Beyond a Packet Pickup: Providing Sponsor Value:
Matt is always looking for new ways to tie in sponsors, and make sponsorship a mutually beneficial partnership. For example, he offered a car dealership a number of free entries for their sponsorship; in exchange, people who came into the dealership for a test drive got a free entry
“I love finding out how I can help Sponsors. With Sponsors, if you can provide people viewing their product, you give them an incentive. You just have to think outside the box!” – Matt Sonneborn
“Bryan’s counsel is priceless – he’s someone I trust for his understanding of the industry” – Matt, on his RunSignUp Sales Rep Bryan Jenkins
If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small, email us…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!