This is our first full quarterly report during COVID-19. As we have discussed over the past several months, this has impacted our entire community, and certainly RunSignup/GiveSignup negatively.
As expected, the numbers are all down – roughly 35% lower transaction and registration volume. This follows the January 1 – March 7 rise of 29% year over year. It is interesting that the number of races was down the same – meaning that races that did happen were roughly the same size.
The other interesting note is the small 1% decrease in donations. This is caused by an increasing demand from nonprofits for our GiveSignup solutions that can help them make money and save money.
The pageviews are actually beginning to trend up, probably from the popularity of the new Challenge event platform we introduced in May and participants doing daily logs.
Detailed Weekly Trends
Overall transaction volume was down 36% for the quarter from last year. Our transaction volume has held roughly steady since mid April, although we do expect a dip coming in the summer months and hopefully some upside in the fall as adoption of our challenge platform spreads and there is an increase in real races and some of our new GiveSignup Fundraising features begin to catch on with nonprofits looking to raise money and save on costs.
We have also started tracking the % of events that are non-virtual, virtual and challenge.
New races continue to be significantly ahead of last year. In addition, we are averaging over 130 new payment accounts per week the past 6 weeks, which is up over 20% from last year. This is a result of new customers being attracted to our market leading virtual and challenge platforms.
The summary on our financials, the rest of 2020 and probably most of 2021 will continue to be well below 2019 levels. However, the good news is that our growth in terms of customers is significantly above. The problem is that some of our current base is in hibernation, and the new customers do not provide enough revenue given the pandemic.
Investing for Growth
We see the overall market pulling back. Many of our competitors have downsized, while we have been able to keep our entire team in place. This has allowed us to serve all of these new customers well, and we hope to grow with them as “normal” returns in 2022.
In fact, we have two new sales reps joining the team. They will be our first real dedicated reps for GiveSignup. We are seeing nonprofits making up a majority of the new customers that are moving to our platform. These reps will assist our customers and prospects with our entire platform from the Run/Walk/Ride side traditionally known as RunSignup to dedicated Donation Forms to the new Campaign Fundraising platform purpose built for hosting any type of fundraising that wants tight integration with Facebook Fundraising like Giving Tuesday Campaigns to Birthday Campaigns. GiveSignup is built to help nonprofits make money and save money.
In support of the increased focus on GiveSignup, you will start to see us propagate a combined logo to represent the one platform that serves both endurance events and nonprofits.\
Education, Information Hubs and Virtual Symposium
We have kept our focus on helping our customers learn and adapt in these tough times. We developed several information hubs:
The collaboration work we did on the Looking Forward project was especially rewarding. We worked with dozens of organizations of all sizes and types. The resulting document served as a foundation and source of information for the many real races that have begun to emerge over the past two months. We documented some of these with detailed blogs like the 220 person race in mid May in Indiana, and the two Vacation Races in late May and early June.
Our big educational effort was our Virtual Symposium at the end of June. A full 4 days of interactive sessions with 500 customers to help them learn how to use our system to make money and save money. It also wound up being inspiration for many people to come up with new and creative ideas – including a nonprofit who is doing a book challenge now! You can check out all the session recordings and slides here.
While we missed the chance we usually get to be with our customers, the virtual format did provide a way for many first time participants – actually 92% were first timers! The encouraging part was the plans for the second half of the year were trending positively:
Our development team has been busy. We had 596 releases on RunSignup and GiveSignup in Q2. That is an average of 6.5 releases of our platform per day. Our focus on continuously improving our platform to help customers is the foundation of our success to date and our future recovery.
Probably the biggest thing we have done is build a Challenge Platform from scratch in only a couple of months (that continues to get better). Challenges now represent about 25% of the transaction volume on RunSignup/GiveSignup. While it started with the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, they expand beyond just running into walking, cycling, yoga, rowing, reading books, hours meditating, etc. And challenges provide a way to engage participants and supporters over a period of time.
We are seeing an increasing number of nonprofits eager for new ways to engage supporters and generate revenue using this new platform. For example, the American Cancer Society did a challenge in early June that generated engagement, revenue and donations.
We are now working on Milestones, which will allow badges and certificates and notifications as people or teams progress. Here is a sample of what the Challenge Milestone Trophy Case will look like, with unearned badges being greyed out:
Virtual Race Enhancements
We already had a great platform for virtual events, with several multi-thousand virtual events on our platform in 2019. With about 50% of transaction volume coming from Virtual Races, it is vital to have the best tools for a unique participant experience. We have made things even stronger with a number of key features and improvements:
- Virtual Participant Photo Uploads.
- RaceJoy – Our RaceJoy GPS Tracking app allows for participants to follow your course or now to RunAnywhere with progress alerts, custom alerts and messaging and sponsor branding opportunities. Automated Results post times and distances to RunSignup Results automatically. Soon, you will be able to link RaceJoy with your RunSignup profile for fast registration and result posting. Work with your RaceJoy Certified Timer to learn more.
- Virtual TXT Bot.
- Digital Bibs and Finisher Certificates.
- Custom Race Playlists.
- Personal GPS App Uploads.
- Email Replacement Tags.
We have seen many new nonprofits starting virtual events to raise money with our integrated donations or fundraising capabilities.
Referral Rewards is delivering 18% of the participants to virtual races. Word of mouth has proven to be by far the most effective marketing tactic for virtual races and challenges, and our platform.
Nonprofits can raise more and save money with GiveSignup’s new standalone Fundraising Campaigns, creating unlimited peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns that are not attached to an event or run/walk/ride. One of the best features is the free integration with Facebook Fundraising, which allows nonprofits the control of their fundraising campaign on GiveSignup, with the leverage of collecting additional money on the leading social network.
GiveSignup Nonprofit Ticket Wizard
GiveSignup’s Nonprofit Ticket Wizard makes it simple and easy to set up your nonprofit’s ticket event in minutes. You’ll set up information about your ticket event, enable donations, create tickets, add pricing, and link your payment account in minutes. While ticket events are largely on hold, the purpose built ticket platform will help improve the revenue generated as compared with Eventbrite. Nonprofit specific features like integrated donations, recurring donations, and donation discounts, coupled with faster payments and lower costs will help many nonprofits make more and save money.
Cross Country Results
As part of our improvements for virtual and challenge team results, we have also provided the ability to do Cross Country results (hopefully there is a fall season for this best of all sports!).
As of this writing, the virus is spreading thruout the country. There is increased support for masks and social distancing with slower than expected openings. It also seems unlikely that there will be a vaccine before Q1 of 2021. This all implies larger races (over 1,000 – 5,000) will be difficult to hold, and smaller races will have higher costs to comply with safety regulations. We are expecting transaction volume to remain lower than 2019 until 2022.
This puts pressure on our entire community – races, timers, nonprofits and certainly the vendors who service them like RunSignup/GiveSignup. It forces all of us to move out of our comfort zones and come up with new approaches to make money and save money. Those that are willing to embrace change will survive. Unfortunately, not enough will have the resources to weather a full 2 year storm.
In our bi-annual Market Analysis, we talked about how registration vendors are seeing significant drops in their business. We speculate that some smaller vendors may not make it. And we speculate whether vendors owned by newspaper chains or payment processors or shoe companies will have the same level of corporate support for what are very small businesses. We have seen Under Armour’s recent move to sell MyFitnessPal, which they had acquired for $450 Million and has 40-50 Million monthly users as one example.
EventBrite’s Q1 earnings report and their recent statements where they have said their May transaction volume is down 82% still from May of last year are further cause for concern.
RunSignup has been public about our tough times and has a realistic plan to be able to get to 2022. We have been fortunate to pivot quickly. We have created a whole new category with Challenges, and our virtual platform is attracting races from other platforms. Our nonprofit focus with GiveSignup is also attracting many nonprofits away from expensive subscription service platforms like Classy and platforms like Blackbaud who do not really have any virtual event or challenge capability. The combination of increasing market share and cost containment will allow us to survive 2020 and 2021 and then thrive in 2022.