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 Nite Lites Christmas 5k Case Study focuses on setting yourself apart from the competition to create a successful first-year race.
Overview: The Nite Lites 5K organizes a successful first-year fundraising 5K by partnering with a unique local attraction and keeping things simple.
About the Nite Lites Christmas 5K
The Nite Lites is a Jackson, MI seasonal attraction of Christmas lights that is owned and operated by John Spink and sponsored by Tripp’s AutoShop Collision centers. The attraction is usually only viewable from a vehicle; this year, they agreed to a partnership with Christine LaRock Gorton to offer visitors a unique on-foot experience in the form of a 5K Fun Run/Walk benefiting the Miss Jackson Crossroads and Outstanding Teens Scholarship Pageant, an affiliate of Miss America.
This fundraiser was Chris’s first opportunity as a Race Director, and having never participated in a race, she began as a complete novice to the industry.
Although she has experience in event planning, once Chris decided to organize a Run/Walk, she contacted another local race to discuss partnering to cross-promote their events, and to get some advice on organizing a running event. This is where she got her recommendation for RunSignUp: after a few questions and clarifications from her RSU Rep, Jordan Desilets, Chris was ready to get rolling.
Year 1 Registration Goal: 300 Runners/Walkers
Year 1 Final Count: 900 Runners Walkers
“I really believe that RunSignUp was the magic sauce that helped us to be successful. Yes, I did work hard, but it was the easiest fundraiser that I’ve ever done in terms of labor. All the information I needed was there – I’m not technologically savvy at all, but the tools were all easy.”
– Christine LaRock Gorton, First Time Race Director
Keep it Simple: Play to Your Strengths
The Christmas Nite Lites display is a unique attraction in its own right, and the opportunity for local families to see it on foot is a better selling point than any gimmicks. Chris recognized that the venue was a star, and built a simple run structure to feature it.
- The Run/Walk was not timed; this limited costs, and matched the family-friendly, celebratory atmosphere.
- The Run was organized for the evening before Thanksgiving to capitalize on families coming into town for the holidays. In fact, the first family to register was from Chicago!
- $25 price point for all participants over 5
- Free for Under-5 (set up as a $0 price point under Financial -> Pricing -> Age-Based Pricing
- A Giveaway for all participants (with size options for adults and children.)
- Simple donation collection option within registration
Planning for 2015
The Nite Lites Christmas 5K has big plans for 2015: tripling runners to 3,000! To do this, they are relying on a few things:
- Word of mouth: There was a 98% turnout of registered runners in year one, and they are expecting those runners to pass on their good experience to others
- Mile Markers: The owner of the Nite Lites is planning to build light-up mile markers to match the display
- Stagger the start of runners & walkers, and mark a clear path for runners
- Bring in a timer as incentive for more serious runners to participate (in addition to the casual runners/walkers)
- Utilize the Giveaway Inventory tool on RunSignUp, and explore more options with the system
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!