2019 Year in Review

A Decade. Yep, RunSignup has officially been around for a decade now. In the beginning, we did not really know what to expect. But it is safe to say we greatly exceeded the expectations of customers appreciating what we built.

Our very purpose for existing is to provide technology to our endurance and nonprofit customers that makes it easier for them and their supporters to raise more and save time. Our vision has broadened to really focus on the idea of helping your organizations across all supporters:

Since we document things openly, we can take a look back at 2012201320142015201620172018Q1Q2, and Q3. Each year has been fun as we release more technology, improve our service and gain more customers who like what we are doing! A regular perpetual motion machine 

Here are the numbers for 2019…

As the numbers show, it was a great year with growth of over 20% in an endurance registration market that grew 1% based on data we collect, which will appear in our upcoming RaceTrends Report. Also impressive is the fact that races had 1,171,678 more registrations that happened on RunSignup this year. This is up from growth of 864,311 between 2017 and 2018. We continue to accumulate market share faster than any other provider.

The other item of note is that our total transaction volume grew at a faster rate than registrations (27% vs. 23%). This was mostly due to increased use of our platform by nonprofits to raise money via donations and fundraising.

The growth of our business gives us the critical mass to continue to invest more in technology, and to continue to be the low cost provider. We are the only major registration platform that does not charge a per participant fee. Plus GiveSignup’s 4% donation fee, inclusive of credit card processing and platform fees, has shaken up the nonprofit market where vendors typically charge twice as much. We are able to accomplish this by being efficient and spending our more of our money on technology and education rather than expensive sales and marketing efforts.

New Technology in 2019

The core of what we offer our customers is technology to help them raise more money, save them time and make things easy for them and their supporters. With our larger team and efficient development and infrastructure, we were able to deliver over 1,500 releases of our software this year. Here are some of the Highlights.


GiveSignup was released in July, 2019. It is our answer to our 8,000 nonprofit customers who love using our technology for races, and want to use it for other ticket events like galas, golf outings and pancake breakfasts, as well as raise money year round beyond race/walk/ride fundraising. It has been enthusiastically received and we expect it to become as large as RunSignup over the next 7 years.

GiveSignup Tickets for Nonprofits

Our ticket platform is now superior to Eventbrite and Classy for nonprofit events. It has the following features which help nonprofits raise more:

  • Donations and Recurring Donations during ticket purchase
  • Donation Discounts to incentivize additional discounts during ticket purchase
  • Your own website without ads for other events
  • Simple, less expensive pricing and payments
  • Collect all the information you want, per purchase and/or per ticket holder
  • Sell Add-Ons
  • Mobile Check-in App
  • Powerful ticket options with grouping and combo tickets
  • Viral social marketing tools like referral rewards

GiveSignup Donation Websites and Donation Forms

Donation Websites give your nonprofit a year round donation presence. Donation Forms provide a simple single page donation form that provides your nonprofit with a better branded user experience and more direct control of the flow of funds than PayPal. These have a number of advanced features available today:

  • Simple flat 4% processing fee including all credit card processing fees
  • Donor covered fee options and customization provide a very low effective fee for your nonprofit (lower than PayPal)
  • Easily reconcilable payments into your bank account
  • Your own URL’s and Website. No more clumsy redirect to Paypal
  • Customize your own beautiful cover pages
  • Recurring donations
  • Customize multiple dedication settings
  • Consolidated donation reporting across multiple races, fundraising events, ticket events, donation campaigns and offline giving

Run/Walk Ride Fundraising

We introduced the 5th generation of our Run/Walk/Ride platform for fundraising. We have a whole new fresh user experience for the Race Director, the Nonprofit Charities, the fundraisers and the donors.

We have had many customers move over from Crowdrise, which was the early innovator in this market, for several reasons:

  • All-In-One platform so supporters who were both participants and fundraisers could have a single place to control both their registration and fundraising activity.
  • Crowdrise has stagnated their development the past couple of years since being acquired by Go Fund Me. Now they have transitioned all Crowdrise customers to Go Fund Me for Charities, which is simply not as complete of a platform and not as focused on nonprofits as RunSignup.

Facebook Fundraising Integration

RunSignup announced the free Facebook Fundraiser integration in July 2019. The integration allows your fundraisers to auto-create a Facebook Fundraiser from RunSignup. The amounts raised on RunSignup and Facebook are automatically synced, enabling your participants (and your nonprofit) to raise more and reach fundraising goals faster.

To get a sense of the impact that RunSignup’s free Facebook Fundraiser is having for fundraisers, we looked at a sample of 20 races using the RunSignup – Facebook Fundraiser Integration. Connected fundraisers have, on average, 4.71 donations from Facebook. Approximately 32% of their total raised comes from Facebook donations.

The impact of a connected Facebook Fundraiser is significant:

  • On average, connected fundraisers raise $490.26 more than unconnected fundraisers.
  • Connected fundraisers receive 9.74 more donations than unconnected fundraisers.
  • Fifty-six percent of connected fundraisers reached their personal fundraising goal, compared to just 25.7% of unconnected fundraisers who reached their personal fundraising goals.

Sales Tax

Our most challenging project in 2019 – both technically and legally – was Sales Tax. A Supreme Court Ruling in 2018 opened the door to allow states to require that all registration and ticket companies collect and remit sales tax on behalf of the events that use their systems. We implemented a complex system (read the details) to do the sales tax calculation and collection based on the complex tax laws of over 9,000 sales tax jurisdictions in the United States. We publicly shared a Taxability Matrix that is a high level view of the detailed implementation.

We estimate that race organizations owe $10 Million per year on taxes. In 2020, RunSignup will collect over $3 Million for races and nonprofits in 38 states and Washington DC.

For 38 Marketplace states, RunSignup is responsible for calculating, collecting, reporting and remitting sales tax to each Marketplace state. We do this automatically, and provide easy mechanisms to set up sales tax details and to support nonprofit seller exemptions in the states where they exist.

For Non-Marketplace states, we make our sales tax system available to events as an option. If you turn on sales tax for your race, we will calculate and charge the sales tax and remit the sales tax proceeds to you. We will also provide reports of what sales have been taxed and the sales tax collected for your race for you to be able to file your sales tax returns with the appropriate state(s).

With the release of RaceDay Scoring Version 2.0, the next-generation scoring software is officially ready for primetime (or prime races). Designed with flexibility in mind, RaceDay Scoring provides standard and customizable scoring configuration combined with technology that creates operational efficiencies for timers.

We’ve brought together a unique combination of The Race Director’s 30+ years of experience, input, and collaboration with industry timers, and intellectual talent of a dedicated team of developers to develop the industry’s successor scoring software.

The Race Director scored over 15,000 races and over 6.4 Million participants. These numbers underline the importance of RaceDay Scoring, but many RunScore and other timing software users are planning on making the switch as well.

ChronoTrack, Athlinks and RunSignup Partnership

We have partnered with ChronoTrack and Athlinks to provide a best in class solution to their timers and any race. Many ChronoTrack timers are in the process of moving their customer’s races over to the RunSignup platform for 2020 to gain the advantages of the combination of technology.

“By choosing RunSignup as our preferred registration partner and focusing our efforts on timing and scoring, we have solidified our two companies as world technology leaders, and a joint force to be reckoned with.”ChronoTrack

Free Websites

We made major enhancements available to the over 21,000 races and nonprofits who use RunSignup and GiveSignup as their websites:

  • Free Domain and SSL Hosting
  • Free Cover Pages

The domain and SSL hosting means that a race can use their own URL’s like MyRace.com, MyNonProfit.org, or Tickets.MyNonProfit.org for free. This puts your organization in control of the content and allows you to have the combination of your content along with all the real time data like price increases, find a participant, manage my ticket, resend donation confirmation, results and photos all in one place – for free.

Cover pages allow you to have a highly customized and designed public face that is always kept up to date in real time with custom sections of real time data.

And best of all, you get the benefits of continuous improvements – faster page loads, mobile responsive design, monthly security updates, PCI compliance – that allow you to rest easy.

CRM Improvements

We’ve also been busy improving our integrated CRM. We’ve released a number of features:

  • Integrated GiveSignup Nonprofit Ticket purchasers and holders into the central CRM
  • Integrated Club Members in the CRM
  • Facebook and Google Custom Audience Export
  • Quick Links directly to Individual CRM Views
  • RaceInsights Source Tracking for Registrations

Our CRM allows you to build custom lists across all of your Supporter information with highly refined filters that let you do queries like all of the people who came to at least 4 events and donated over $100.

Infrastructure, Payments and CCPA

As reported in our Availability Report, we had 100% uptime again in 2019 for the 4th year in a row, as well as 100% on time payments. We continue to invest heavily to make sure our customers have a reliable, continuously improving infrastructure. We made a number of investments:

  • Outside auditors completed our PCI Certification
  • New Network Load Balancers
  • New NAT Servers
  • Upgraded to Linux 2 across our 40+ servers
  • Monthly software and security updates
  • All 21,000 websites are now CCPA and COPPA compliant
  • Improved Accessibility

User Experience

Speaking of Accessibility – you should read this blog post on what it means to real people.

If you are a long time user of RunSignup, you will know how much progress we have made on improving our user experience. Kiesel and Darren have led our efforts in this area for 2 years now. They will tell you they have soooo much further to go (so you will see lots more in 2020), but we have come a looooong way. Take a look at our new Fundraising capability for Run/Walk/Ride as an example – where we have become market leaders in the UX.

2020 Plans

We had a pretty productive 2019 in terms of releasing technology. Looks like 2020 should be even better! Here is a glimpse at some of the projects coming down the road…

GiveSignup Content, Pages & Menus

We are planning a new generation of how to add content, pages and menus to websites with the GiveSignup Ticket and Donation platforms (and our next gen Membership and Volunteer system as well as you will read below). This is functionality similar to what races have today, but will use some new, simpler designs.

GiveSignup Sponsors

This will be a new generation of the race Sponsor functionality. It will be designed so that nonprofits can more easily manage their sponsors, the collection of sponsor fees, and the distribution of tickets and other items.

GiveSignup Fundraising Campaigns

We have leadership functionality on the Run/Walk/Ride side with the RunSignup fundraising. We are in the process of building a generic fundraising platform that can be used for other types of fundraising. This might be fundraising tied to a ticket event, or a themed fundraising drive for Valentine’s Day, or a Giving Tuesday donation and fundraising site, or a Birthday Fundraiser.

Nonprofits will be able to pair our new multipurpose fundraising platform with free and simple Facebook Fundraising should be of great benefit to our customers to help them raise more.

CRM Email

We plan on building out a CRM-centric email system. It will be a next generation of our current email marketing system. Initially it will be simple, and then over time we will add in all of the capabilities of our current email marketing system – so customers will be able to use both.

We plan on also making some improvements to the infrastructure of how we manage CRM data. This will then allow us to do more powerful things like data merging, and create more filters and actions.

The CRM is the place where our customers will be able to view their supporters across all of the various systems and take applicable actions to engage with their supporters.

Membership 4.0

We are (finally!) planning a major upgrade of our Membership system. This will include a number of enhancements:

  • Convert infrastructure over to the same “generic entity” we have for Tickets and Donation Websites.
  • Cover pages, Free Domain hosting, next gen content, page and menus
  • Improved reporting
  • Nonprofit Features for Rotary-type membership organizations
  • National Level which will enable a National organization to connect with affiliates.

Photos 2.0

We are planning a major upgrade on our Photo system. This will include:

  • Improved user experience for website views and photo interaction
  • Improved user experience on the photo dashboard
  • Integration of photos more tightly into results, nonprofit tickets, CRM and email
  • Personal Albums for users
  • Improved search
  • Improved automated bib tagging

GPS, Chip and Gun Tracking

One of the big differentiations of RaceDay Scoring is that it is part of a suite that provides timers with RaceJoy. As the upcoming RaceTrends report will cover, RaceJoy and GPS tracking is opening up a whole new set of race experiences and is gaining rapid wide adoption. This coming year, we will do a number of enhancements which will blend the RunSignup, RaceDay Scoring and RaceJoy data to make race day even better for timers, races, participants and spectators.

We will also be adding RunSignup Login to RaceJoy. This will give RunSignup users a simple way to always be logged in to RunSignup with easy access to their Profile and all of their information on RunSignup. We expect RaceJoy to be an increasingly important source of race searches and registration in the coming years.

Volunteer 2.0

We are hoping to get this project at least started in 2020. Our free Volunteer platform has become very popular with races. As with Clubs, we want to move it into the new architecture of Generic Entities so that it can take advantage of a number of the new features we are developing. One part of this – a new Volunteer Checkin app will be released in Q1 (I’ve seen it kind of working already in development :-))

New Payment Processing

We expect to move to a new generation of payment processing in 2020. We have been a Payment Facilitator for 5 years now, and it has been a huge advantage to our customers to be able to have a ton of flexible payment options like referral rewards. We are currently evaluating options for our payment platform. In addition, we plan on making a number of improvements in our financial system that will enable us to continue to scale and provide our customers with even more powerful capabilities.


We have the best jobs on earth! We get to build such cool technology for such great customers.

Seriously – if you look at the list of things we have done in 2019 and what we have planned in 2020 it is a laundry list of fun stuff!

And when it comes to customers – we have the best! Most of our customers are putting on events that raise money for very worthy causes, or help people lead a healthier lifestyle. And it turns out most people who do that sort of good stuff are very nice. So nice they even tend to thank us for the hard (but fun!) technology work we do and recommend us to their friends.

What a nice perpetual machine you and we have built together. Thank you!

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