RunSignup April Newsletter

Make Money, Save Money

The novel coronavirus has rocked the endurance industry, freezing in-person events and the income stream that comes with them.  While the future is unknown, we are seeing a rebound – not because things are returning to normal, but because the industry is full of innovative and resourceful race directors, timers, and nonprofits. Like them, we are turning our attention to what organizations can do now to make money and save money, and how they can start thinking about a path forward in the coming months. 


Across the country, runners are still running. Get them engaged with a new or converted virtual race, use Facebook to boost fundraising, market for free with referral rewards, create new options for sponsors, and work constructively with your timer.

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It’s not just bringing in money: event organizers are looking to reduce expenses. Free tools like free websites, free email, free CRM, free photos and RaceDay Texting, fee restructuring, and ROI advertising analysis can help.

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Want to learn more? Bob will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday (5/5/20) at 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT to review options and ideas for getting your organization back up and running.

Go Virtual

We know. Virtual races aren’t “real races”. But they can be a community “meeting” point for isolated runners, a true challenge or just a reason to get outside, and a much-needed fundraising tool for nonprofits. Recent updates include:

  • Virtual Results: We have updated your dashboard for setting up events, made our Virtual Results Text Bot free for all races, and built a tool for automatic submission of results via RaceJoy.
  • RaceJoy: Virtual races using RaceJoy through a certified timer can create courses for runners to run over an extended time, including directional cues and remote spectator engagement. Additionally, race organizers can use their RaceJoy dashboard to monitor their courses from home. 
  • Pre-Race Bibs: Give your runners a taste of the RaceDay experience with Pre-Race bibs – customizable bibs that they can print from home and wear (or photograph).
  • A (free) Virtual Event with Donations and Fundraising: It’s not all about registration fees. Nonprofits can engage their communities and fundraise through free or inexpensive virtual events.

Not sure where to start? We have a new Virtual Race Resource Hub to help you navigate the new virtual landscape. Or, join Bob and Allison for a webinar next Thursday (5/7/20) on their decision to take the local Scott Coffee Run virtual – and the early results from their conversion.

“We have 200 signups up for the virtual race, with another 12 who still have to transfer their registrations. We had 220 for the race last year, and that was our highest number ever. I know we will surpass this number this year. We have runners in 14 states, Washington DC, and one in the Netherlands!!! We will definitely have a virtual race every year going forward.”

– MSDA Meghan Doyle ’05K

Looking Forward

As bad as things are, we’re optimists here, and we see some light at the end of the tunnel.  Here’s a little inspiration for the coming months:

Solutions from the Endurance IndustryVendors throughout the industry are leading the way by adapting their operations to help manufacture PPE, repurpose their existing products, and offer fulfillment options for virtual races.

Timer Business StrategyTimers are respected as the technology experts in the industry, and those who are willing to innovate can build on existing relationships and guide races to successful alternatives.

Looking Forward Race Guidelines: As discussion shifts to the future, we have released a working draft of Looking Forward Guidelines for races. This living document was created with input from dozens of race directors, timers, governing bodies, and other industry partners. It is intended to provide ideas for a path forward for races when coronavirus restrictions are lifted. The guidelines are suggestions and ideas to consider as races look towards restarting. Every event should consult and comply with national, state, and local governmental orders as well as health officials’ recommendations. The document will be updated as new information and ideas become available. Want something more technical? Check out our analysis of starting line bottlenecks.

Community Roundup: Creativity and Expertise

We continue to see creative and unique solutions popping up throughout the community. This month’s roundup of inspiration:

Virtual Races (but longer)The best thing about a virtual race? It’s not constrained by time. Check out these long-term challenges, including a four 5K series, a Weekend Warrior 50 Hour Challenge, and a four-month-race 1000K “across” the state of Tennessee.

Virtual Races (but more fun): Throw a fun twist into your virtual race. These races did so by including a scavenger hunt element, creating a virtual RaceDay party, and using leftover swag as giveaways. 

Virtual Races (but hundreds of times)Healthy Kids Running Series took the challenge of going virtual, and multiplied it by hundreds of race series across the country. Check out how they made the change (quickly).

Fundraising VirtuallyNonprofits and community groups across the country are looking for ways to offer financial support. Get ideas from a Food Bank Fundraiser that includes a competition between running stores, a downtown business relief fund with a 5K series, and neighborhood donation website – no running required.

Bonus – A “Real” Race: RunSignup’s RaceDay Ninja Crisp McDonald got creative and hosted a race in his neighborhood – complete with RaceJoy course map, self check-in, chip timing, results posting…and no contact.

Are you doing something cool? Email us and let us know!

Financial Corner

Race Reserve Requirement Drops from 20% to 10%

With a full month’s data on chargeback risk, we are happy to be able to drop our standard race reserve requirement from 20% down to 10%, with the overall payment account requirement falling to 5%.

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How can you impact your holdback? Fill out your race status survey about the state of your race, and have your happy participants fill out the NPS Survey!

Financial and Payment Account Reports

Trying to wrap your head around when (and how much) you’ll get paid? View our breakdowns of the financial summary and payment account reports, or catch up on the webinar covering both.

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RunSignup News

Race Registration Market Analysis

We run this analysis twice a year. This one looks a little different because our normal metrics don’t reflect the current situation. The bad news is that there is turmoil, with Alexa rankings and revenue down significantly for event registration sites and an increase in holdbacks on race funds. The good news is that virtual races and rapidly released new technologies are keeping the market afloat.

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RunSignup’s Internal Coronavirus Response

TL;DR: Like all of you, we’ve faced challenges and had to make hard decisions about employment and compensation. But we’ve stayed focused on technology, for virtual races, GiveSignup features to support nonprofits, and working to develop potential pathways forward. Oh, and one tool that helped us move quickly? Using our own Race Websites for a wide range of communications.

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RunSignup 2020 Q1 Results

A bit late, but we released our Q1 Report for 2020. As expected, the results are strange – as of March 6, we were up 29% over the same quarter of 2019. Then, the bottom fell out and transaction volume dropped over 80% at some points of Q1.

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Weekly Coronavirus Impact Reports

We started preparing weekly reports on the impact of COVID-19 in early March, and continue to put out information each week to give you a moving picture of the state of the industry. Keep an eye on the blog for more weekly updates.

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More News from April…

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