Q1 2021 marks the turning point for our business. Looking back on the quarter, the year started slowly with many customers and supporters consumed with very high COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths, concerns about vaccine distribution, and the tumultuous passing of power in our government. By March, things had started to turn back closer to normal with increasingly rapid vaccine distribution and a large decline in cases (although rising recently) and deaths. The trends look positive with nearly 3 Million vaccinations happening per day and over 30% of the population having at least one dose.
In 2021 we are going to be comparing our numbers to 2019 – the last year of normalcy. For the overall quarter we saw a decline of 19% in terms of registrations:
Our nonprofit customers continue to grow with our GiveSignup solutions, which helps the overall transaction volume.
Our Q1 metrics are actually ahead of our projections for the quarter, and in March, we were about 15% ahead of our own revenue projections. While that is good, we know that the past quarter is not necessarily reflective of the future in this fast-changing environment.
Another set of metrics guides us toward even more optimism about our business. We wrote about how we are growing again – hiring people and increasing our spending budget – based on what we are seeing from future trends. Here are some of the charts we shared in that blog:
The other key future metric for us is new “Payment Accounts”. These are totally new customers who are setting up payment information to enable us to take transactions on their behalf and pass the money along to them. Not all new payment accounts wind up doing transactions – some are test accounts or do not complete the steps or are not approved. Last year we had about 7,000 accounts created and 4,800 process transactions with us.
Virtual is Still Big
We are still seeing about 40% of the registrations coming from Virtual events. Many events are moving to a Hybrid model, giving participants a choice of live or virtual. However, there are also still many events sticking with a fully virtual event in the Spring. For example, Pats Run and Bellin Run are both virtual again this year.
Registration Market Trends
We recently published our biannual Registration Market Analysis report, so we will not repeat what is already there. But a couple of items have happened since that was published.
SignMeUp Closes – One of the market leaders 10 years ago, SignMeUp is closing. They are not giving their customers much time – days or maybe a couple of weeks – to get onto another platform. We have seen this before when previous companies have closed. It often happens suddenly, and we wind up helping about 50% of their former customers.
The reality is that many of the old-style registration vendors are not really viable anymore. As shown by the market analysis over time, such vendors do not process enough transaction volume to afford the technology maintenance, much less drive advancement on their platforms, and they slip off the list. The market is going through a natural consolidation as customer requirements and expectations go up and the non-critical mass companies fall off. This was accelerated because of the pandemic, and there will likely be others who fail this year and next. To our fellow registration companies – please talk with us to see how we can work to make the process smoother for your customers. Our community needs to look out for each other.
The other trend we are seeing is turnover among some races and service providers. There are some event owners and timing companies that were really impacted by the pandemic and may not make it back or may have switched careers. At the same time, other timing and event management companies are growing. Yesterday, we were on a call with a race management company that is expecting 2021 to be the best year he has had in his 19 year business of helping races. Today, we had a call with a timing company operating in multiple states that already has some weekends filled and is looking for ways to grow their timing crews to take on more business. Operating and timing races is not as scalable of a business as software is, so there will not be massive consolidation, but there are opportunities for growth.
Nonprofit Market Trends
The pandemic has been very difficult for nonprofit events. We were able to help thousands of nonprofits during this time with our virtual and challenge technology. While run/walk/ride fundraising events are beginning to get back on the schedule for the summer and fall, other events like galas and festivals are largely still on hold.
There has been some great innovation by nonprofits. For example, this ticket event called Taste the Town by Housing Forward brought the community together by encouraging takeout meals.
We have had a lot of conversations with customers looking to improve from Eventbrite with GiveSignup’s purpose-built nonprofit ticket platform. As nonprofits begin to plan their fall galas this summer, we expect a lot of positive momentum.
We have also had hundreds of nonprofits upgrade from a PayPal button to use the GiveSignup Donation Forms. And the free integrated Facebook Fundraising is leading customers like Wheeler Mission to use us as their default general fundraising platform for things like birthday and memorial fundraisers.