RunSignup Technology During a Pandemic

It has been a full month since we shifted into Full Coronavirus Mode on March 9. At our core, we are a technology company. We have been in hyperdrive mode this past month on a bunch of different fronts and wanted to take a moment to give an overview and some depth of insight on what we have done for our customers.


As we discussed a couple of weeks ago in our webinar, chargebacks are the leak in a race’s boat. We have taken a number of steps:

  • Internal systems to help automate and speed up the processing of chargebacks. This was necessary so we can process the high volume across the 21,000 races who use us. This includes making it simpler to include all of the documentation when we determine the chargeback should be fought by automatically including refund policies, signed waivers, proof there was a race held.
  • Reports for customers to show full information on chargebacks.
  • Automated emails to race directors when chargebacks occur with the person who initiated the chargeback and suggested ways to try to get the participant to reverse the charge.

Reserve and Payment Policy Automation

We understand that many customers do not like the rules of the credit card network and think chargebacks are horrible. But, as we have explained (way too many times), as the merchant you have to deliver what the cardholder purchased and if it is different or incomplete they have the right to get their money back from you. And as we have also explained, RunSignup is not a bank and can not loan you money to pay that back. Therefore, we have implemented automation into our reserve policy that will enable us to gradually change as the situation improves and more data is collected.

It is important to note that our deep knowledge of the industry and the automated and manual race reviews give us unique insight into creating these policies. Combined with our technology, this has resulted in a much more refined reserve policy that many other payment processors who are doing general somewhat random delays of payments, or hold all payments until after an event is held. We recently had discussions with Stripe, who said they were not interested in taking on events and would set a hold of 75% on new races onboarding to their Direct product. Meanwhile, we have made thousands of payments of $Millions to customers in the past month based on these policies and new software automation.

We have also improved our financial reporting, particularly the Reserve holdings and Payment Account pages on your dashboard so that customers can see better what is happening with their money.

We have also implemented a new dashboard page to communicate with us on how you are managing your race. This is particularly useful for us as we process post-race reviews to determine payments.

In the next day or two, we will be adding a Net Promoter Score survey to every race (you will be able to take that off). This will be visible to you and us, and will help add more automated information to guide reserve policies on a per race basis as we continue to collect data and automate more. This type of refinement helps protect good race operators from getting thrown into the same payment policy a general payment processor like Stripe would implement.

BYO Payment Processing

We realize some of you do not like our payment policies. We are working on solving that hopefully by June where you will be able to bring your own merchant account. It might be Stripe or your local merchant account, or if you own a running store you could use the same merchant account you use in the store. You will need to do your own reconciliation, and negotiate your own payment terms with your merchant provider for reserves. This reemphasizes that we are not interested in being a bank, and want to build technology to meet our customer’s needs.

Postponement Tools

One of the most used features we released (over 2,000 races use it) is our postponement communications tool. This creates automated ways to communicate with website pop-ups, emails, customer choice recording, etc.

We have also improved our transfer, bulk deferral and refund tools to make things easier for race directors to handle special situations.

Virtual Race Tools

We have become the most popular virtual race hosting platform in the US. We had a great deal of experience with virtual races already with a lot of tools like shipping address validation, virtual results texting, RaceJoy and more. We have added to the list of tools, and have another half dozen nice features coming out over the next 2-3 weeks that will continue to make our virtual race platform the technology leader. Cool things like Virtual Bibs, easier setup, RaceJoy Virtual Race submission, more flexible virtual result submission, and several third party virtual race tools. Hopefully in May we can release our next gen free Photo platform tuned for virtual races.

Infrastructure and Security

We continue to pay attention to the basics. We continue to comply with our PCI Level 1 security requirements of monthly updates to our AWS cloud server farm, as well as upgrading our monitoring for system and security issues. Not to tempt fate, but (knock on wood), we have had ZERO downtime since 2015.

User Experience

We actually have done some really nice UX work. We have made some nice improvements to the race registration process. Also a bunch of improvements to the Race Dashboard and financial and payment account reports. And some very nice stuff is going on in the Virtual race front.


We are still working on an improved Nonprofit Ticket Wizard for easier onboarding. This will be important as nonprofits start to have events again in the post-Coronavirus world. And their typical ticket vendor Eventbrite is holding funds until past event, while pay all donations and 80% of ticket fees weekly.

We have made a bunch of improvements to the Donation Website and Donation Forms, and are working hard on bringing out Fundraising Campaigns tightly integrated with Facebook Fundraising in May. This will be important as nonprofits will need to reduce their subscription fees from Classy and Blackbaud and use our free websites hosting and free email to lower their web and email costs. Not to mention our low 4% processing fees including credit card fees that donors can pay.


We are also continuing some fundamental work on a next generation CRM Matching capability. It is a bit early to talk too much about this, but it will be important as many races and nonprofits will need to reduce expenses and simple and direct (and FREE) CRM marketing capabilities are needed.


We are proud of our ability to bring so much technology so quickly to our customers to help them directly in these difficult times. We are going to continue to work hard to bring you the technology you need when you need it.

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