We had been doing weekly updates on the numbers we are seeing since the pandemic began. We ended that in Week 18, and are shifting to monthly updates. The monthly update is meant to give stats that are useful to the endurance and nonprofit communities we serve, but also to bridge the gap between our Quarterly Business Updates, and our Monthly Newsletter. We believe in sharing information openly so we can all learn and improve.
Our business continues to be deeply impacted by the pandemic. While we had been up 29% year-over-year from January 1- March 7, the loss of real races has been drastic. Here is the summary:
- Transaction Volume: Down 27%
- Registration Volume: Down 30%
- Donation Volume: Up 90%
Here is a chart of our weekly transaction volume compared with last year:
Compared with many others (Eventbrite reported being down 82% in May), we are doing comparatively well. We have been saved by having Virtual Races and the new challenge category emerge. Real race volume makes up only about 25% of our transaction volume:
Low Renewal Rates, but Many New Customers
One of the more interesting statistics is the race renewal and new races created reports.
Renewals fell to 444 in July from 1,041 – a drop of 42%. However, the number of new races created grew from 1,050 last year to 1,530 – a growth of 46%. The net change is a decrease from 2,091 to 1,974, or a drop of 6% overall.
The number of new payment accounts increased marginally to 480. These are mostly brand new customers to RunSignup | GiveSignup since they are entering new payment processing and bank details for our underwriting review. The majority of these new customers are nonprofits who are looking for ways to generate revenue with virtual events and challenges.
There are two challenges that come out of this. First, the increase in new races is causing a lot of extra support interactions with both new customers as well as existing customers using our virtual or challenge software for the first time. And since our platform is rapidly extending, especially as we have built out the new challenge platform the past couple of months, our own team has to work hard on training and preparing for helping customers efficiently and effectively.
Second, the average size of events is falling. While we continue to have a number of 1,000 – 20,000+ participant virtual and challenge events use our platform, on average the size is dropping. About 22 of the Top 100 races in the U,S. use our platform, and obviously those are not happening at previous scale. But this continues down the line. We have dozens of small races typically below 250 participants each weekend, but the average real race size is smaller than typical. Also, from the business perspective, we are doing great with growing our donation volume (up 90% this month), but the gross profit on the 4% processing fee is lower than the processing fees we charge for events.
Of course, the highlight is how far and fast our challenge platform has expanded. Over 200,000 participants have signed up for events using our Challenge Platform (which does not include some of the early challenges that just used us for registration, website, email and promotion like the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee that had over 20,000 participants as well as a couple of the New York State Challenges that went to market before we had full functionality). We had ZERO Challenge capabilities in early May, and we have developed an incredibly robust and flexible system, that nearly 1,000 events are using.
Our customers have generated $8.4 Million already from challenges (again, excluding some of the early challenges that did not use our challenge logging and reporting), and we think we are only scratching the surface. An increasing number of nonprofits are beginning to use the platform in creative ways to engage their supporters. We will begin a campaign to reach out to more of them in mid August. The video below was prepared as part of that campaign:
We did a lot more than just work on Challenge software. We released a totally revamped Corral Management system to make it simple for real races to organize wave and rolling starts. Pretty much every real race is using this software, and we have built it with the current environment of social distancing in mind.
We also made a bunch of improvements on the GiveSignup side, with improvements on the Free Facebook Fundraising integration, integration with Double the Donation, nice cover page components to make your donation and fundraising websites even more engaging, and improved Facebook Pixel integration for stand alone donations.
We also began our roll out of the free Photo platform that is designed to engage virtual and challenge participants to upload and share their own photos, which also providing opportunities for sponsor engagement.
In addition, we rolled out better profile gender options.
Of course, we maintained our system with our monthly update cycle, and continue our ZERO downtime since 2015 while pushing out 188 new releases of our software during the month. Read that sentence again, and you will understand that using our platform gives you continuous access to continuously improving functionality that is designed to help your event and nonprofit. Yes, we averaged over 6 releases per day with zero downtime.
GiveSignup – Our Shot
One of the really strange things that is happening for us is the almost unbelievable waves of new customers we are getting. So many nonprofits and race organizations are finding that their existing vendors are not providing the richness of technology to create ways to engage supporters and generate revenue. Plus, many organizations are looking to drop expensive subscription service fees.
When we announced GiveSignup last year, we felt it was a significant opportunity. In 2019 we processed $270 Million for our customers. We saw the future being that we could get our RunSignup endurance business from 25% market share to 50% market share over the coming years to grow that business to $500 Million of processing. We also saw GiveSignup being used in a much larger market and felt their was a need for a focused, low cost, high functionality, self serve technology platform where we could also process an additional $500 Million.
Our goal of helping our customers raise $1 Billion each year seems to be much closer than the 10 years we had anticipated when we announced GiveSignup last year. While the pandemic is forcing near term financial hardships, it is creating an opportunity to grow our market share. Unfortunately, by 2022 many of our endurance competitors will likely not be functional for their customers. And many of the old style subscription based business models like Blackbaud and Classy will see desertion of part of theur customer base to platforms like GiveSignup that are based on a mutual success business model and real, tangible technology advantages to engaging supporters.
We are taking our shot. We have three new GiveSignup Reps – Amanda, Chris and Jake – that have recently joined to help with the deluge of new customers and to press the advantages we can bring the the nonprofit market.
What has been remarkable during this pandemic is the unbelievable focus and hard work of our team. We are a bunch of passionate people who love technology and helping our customers.
Like you, we are living in a stressful time as we outlined a couple of months ago when we discussed what was happening inside RunSignup. Specifically, our employees took a 50% reduction in pay effective March 13. Full pay was restored in mid April with the PPP money we received, and continued until early August. We are now reducing all employees to about 75% of regular pay so that we can stay break-even and have long term sustainability. As we have said, we think the recovery will happen in 2022, so we want to design a path forward to assure stability for ourselves and our customers. The good news with this approach is that we have been able to keep our entire team. And we also expect the fall, and the continuing waves of new customers to bring a higher level of transaction volume that will enable the company to pay our team members 100% in the coming months.
So, we especially appreciate your referrals of friends and other organizations to use our platform. Thank you!