We usually do our Year in Review in a single blog post. This year has been much too big to put it all in one place, so we are breaking it up a bit. We already published our 2020 Development Recap. This one will cover our product roadmap for 2021.
First, we will continue our investment in our secure infrastructure, making monthly server updates, and taking on incremental improvements. We understand that our primary role is to process transactions, and to ensure customers receive their money on a timely and secure basis. We have a proud tradition to uphold, with 0 downtime and 100% on time payments since 2015.
Second, we will continue to listen to our customers and their needs and adapt as we see opportunities to help our customers. This means our plans may shift and change – although we expect less of that than what happened in 2020! We expect to make 1,500 – 2,000 releases of our platform in 2021 – some related to the high level project listed below and some that will just improve the usability or performance of the system.
There are two HUGE projects for the platform foundation that are used across RunSignup and GiveSignup – Financials and Supporter Engagement.
The last time we did a major upgrade of the financial system was in 2015. At that time, we became a Payment Facilitator, which has been a major reason why customers select RunSignup | GiveSignup. Not only does it enable great features like Referral Rewards, it makes life simple to do refunds and set payment frequency. Best of all, there is only one system and CFO’s do not need to try to reconcile between a merchant account or Stripe and their registration/ticket/donation vendor. Customers get the entire RunSignup | GiveSignup platform for a simple, low transaction fee – no extra credit card fees and no subscription fees.
We are doing a pretty complete overhaul of how we process transactions from how we onboard new customers to how a transaction is processed to the reporting of those transactions. This upgrade has already begun, with some work already occurring below the surface – like how we can choose the payment processing engine we send the transaction to, and some that are above the surface like a partly upgraded Payment Account dashboard page.
The key to the upgrade will be supporting new payment engines from Adyen and Payroc. There are many improvements that will come from this change, but the two most important are better supporting split payments and the ability to failover if one payment processor is down.
Transaction splitting will unlock several applications. For example, multi-race bundles will be able to split the money between two or more separate organizations. A common use case is that three race organizations may create a bundle where participants can sign up for 3 races at once and get a 10% discount. We will now be able to split that transactions into the respective payment accounts.
Failover is a goal we also have. The idea is if your transactions are being processed on Adyen and their service is not available for whatever reason, we can process the transaction on Payroc. While we have been fortunate that our current vendor has not really had issues of availability, this will make our system just that much more robust.
As we make the move to the new payment processors, we are also updating our underwriting process where we look at new customers to ensure they are legitimate organizations and eliminate fraud for our entire community. We also hope to make the onboarding process better for users and reduce potential fraud.
We will be doing a number of updates to financial reporting to make things easier to understand, and for CFO’s to reconcile their revenue as accurately and quickly as possible.
Finally, we are making updates to our back end processes to increase efficiency in our finance organization and position ourselves to handle over $1 Billion of transactions per year for our customers.
We expect this project to gradually roll out and be mostly available by the spring.
Supporter Engagement Platform
We are going to roll out this term in 2021 – Supporter Engagement Platform. What we realized (hand slap to forehead) is that we help our customers engage with their supporters. Of course that started 11 years ago with the engagement being a person signing up for a race. It has evolved to be much more than that in terms of types of supporters as well as types of engagement.
We have built systems to engage many types of supporters – participants, donors, fundraisers, sponsors, volunteers, members, spectators, attendees and more. And we have a variety of tools that engage your supporters beyond taking their money – and bring more meaning to their engagement like free photos, engaging websites, and email. And we help you manage your supporters with their activities – from race day tools to volunteer shift management to sponsor visibility analytics and invoicing.
We are introducing this graphic to explain our overall platform – with the type of supporters on the outer edge interacting via our tools into a common database where you own the data and it is open via reports or API to integrate with other CRM and donor management systems.
Single Supporter View
We are building a new set of capabilities that will give you a Single Supporter View. Many organizations struggle with figuring out that one person may be coming to their gala, participating in their half marathon, making a donation and volunteering at the open house.
The initial piece is an advanced supporter consolidation algorithm that leverages our entire database to match to a single supporter. Security is built in so each organization can see the data for that supporter’s engagement in with that organization. We create over a dozen hashes (an anonymous alphanumeric) from each user in our system. For example, one hash might be based on first name, last name and email. Another might be based on email and physical address. We then look for matches of the hashes to match various users in the system into a single supporter view.
The advantage of this method is that it keeps information private, secure and separate from any particular organization’s view. And it allows us to use our entire user base. For example if Bob signed up for a race and made a donation for one organization, none of the hashes might match. But Bob’s registration might match another organization’s hash of Bob and then that other organization might have another hash that matches the first organization’s hash of the donation Bob made. Using the whole database improves the matching algorithm because of the tens of millions of user engagements across tens of thousands of organizations. Genius technology, but it is simple for you – you just see that Single Supporter View.
This results in a single consolidated view of the various engagement methods of that supporter:
Supporter Filtered Lists
Once we have the that Single Supporter View project done (Q1-Q2 in 2021), we will begin to build Supporter Filters. These will enable your organization to build dynamic custom lists based on supporter types. For example, you will be able to see supporters who entered more than 3 races, came to more than 2 ticket events, and gave more than $100. You will be able to build lists for any combination of attributes. Eventually over 200 filter options will be supported:
Each list will have a variety of export options:
Next Gen Email
Once you have lists, you will likely want to send those people an email. While we have a very complete email marketing system that we offer for free to our customers today (and that they use to send 25 million emails a month), we will be creating a next generation email system. It will be tightly integrated with the new Supporter Engagement Lists – so it will be easy to send custom emails to any combination of your various Supporter Lists. We will also be upgrading all reports in the system to include an email option.
This email system will start simply and gain functionality over the next two years to be a superset of what we offer today in our email marketing system.
Our development agenda includes many other improvements on various existing systems:
RaceDay Scoring continues to get better incrementally (with 36 releases in 2020), and more planned in 2021. By the end of the year, it will have functional superiority or equivalency with The Race Director, enabling users to migrate without any loss of functionality. The big features for the year include improved reporting, Series Scoring, Lap Race support, Cross Country Scoring, and automatic backup to the Cloud.
The Race Checkin app will have a new release with over a dozen small improvements to make it even better. We will also be releasing a new version of the NonProfit Ticket Checkin App as well as Volunteer Checkin App.
RaceJoy will get a nice improvement with native login and connection to RunSignup. This will allow frequent users to access their RunSignup accounts without having to login each time. In addition, it will remove the need for bib numbers and improve search capabilities of participants. We also hope to do a nice UI redesign to modernize the app and make it easier to use.
Finally, the Timer Dashboard will get some love this year with improved analytics and access and control of RaceDay Scoring so timers can easily manage multiple timing teams in the field on a busy (hopefully) Saturday morning post COVID.
GiveSignup Content Management
GiveSignup offers powerful website features for Nonprofit Tickets, Donation websites and Fundraising campaigns with free hosting, BYO URL, free SSL, highly customizable cover pages with dynamic data components like fundraising goals. In 2021 we will be rolling out fuller content management capabilities similar to what we provide on RunSignup race websites.
This will allow nonprofits to create content, pages, menus and order them in any way they would like. In other words – a full website! With the advantage of being completely free and fully integrated with your real time data like fundraiser pages and donation totals and donor lists. We will be doing this with a new, integrated method rather than the somewhat disjointed one used in Races. Here is a design preview of what we are working towards:
GiveSignup NonProfit Ticket Platform Improvements
GiveSignup’s purpose built ticket platform for nonprofits already has a lot of advantages over Eventbrite. However, we have only just begun in terms of providing a wide set of tools that nonprofits commonly need. Here is a partial list of what is on deck:
Free Integrated Photos – Nonprofits can set this up to have assigned photographers taking pictures and uploading them into albums, or open up for attendees to also post their own photos easily from their phones.
Free Self Serve Auction / Raffle – This will enable store items to be sold online in an auction type of format with real time escalating bids.
Fundraising – We provide easy donations during ticket purchase, and we will be adding the ability set up creating fundraising pages for supporters, as well as easy donations to those fundraisers.
Standalone Store – While attendees can purchase additional items when they are buying a ticket, this will enable others to purchase items.
Ticket Management – A variety of small features that will make it simpler to manager your tickets – importing, copy, renew, etc.
Donations and Fundraising
Standalone fundraising pages will continue to gain the powerful features that are available in the race platform today with features like slideshows. In addition, we will make it simpler for you to setup and run multiple fundraising campaigns.
Controlled DIY for NonProfits
We will be giving nonprofits a real alternative to GoFundMe this year as well. Right now, your supporters will use GoFundMe to do their own local programs to benefit your nonprofit. With GiveSignup, we will give you the ability to allow them to do that under your umbrella. So you will get immediate access to all of the data since it is all on your platform. In addition, you can control the flow of funds with either all funds coming directly to the nonprofit, or doing a split of payments so your supporters can cover their costs if they are putting on an event.
We are currently working on a set of reports and tools for Fiscal Sponsors. This will allow a Fiscal Sponsor to manage hundreds of small organizations with a full toolkit – simple Donation Forms, complete Donation Websites, Fundraising Campaigns, Ticket Events and Run/Walk/Ride capabilities. And the financial reporting will all be consolidated and simple for the fiscal sponsor and their organizations to work with.
We look forward to getting back to a more normal and planned development schedule. We have grown the team, with Bruce Kratz joining us as our VP of Development (a major upgrade over Bob doing it…), as well as Rich Sbarro, Joel Peterson, and Justus Fee. We also have another two developers joining us in early 2021. Our team continues to get better and grow so we can create more great technology to help our customers. And we love it.