If you have a race that looks like it may be in the path of Hurricane Ian, below are some tips for managing your event in a questionable weather situation. But even if you’re not in Ian’s path – or likely to see any weather that extreme, a communication plan for extreme weather can be valuable to all races. We encourage events to have a contingency plan in place that can be activated when needed.
Need to Cancel or Postpone Your Event?
First, of course, is to have a backup plan and decide what you will do should you need to cancel your event.
- Do you anticipate that your race will be impacted by the storm?
- When will you make a decision if the race will be held?
- Will the race be rescheduled? If so, when or when will you provide details of the rescheduling?
- How do you want to handle registration fees/donations?
- When should you start communicating with registrants?
RunSignup’s registration platform equips you with the tools necessary for responding to situations such as Hurricane Ian. You can choose to cancel, postpone, or change to a virtual race with expanded race dates. If you postpone the event, you can set the race to a specified future date, set to next year’s race date, or set your event to TBD status until you have determined a new date.
How to Handle Refunds or Transfers
Event organizers have a variety of options for managing participants’ registration fees/ donations for impacted events, including automatic transfer to the new date or different race, allowing the event to keep the registration fee for canceled events, or providing a full refund. If you choose to issue refunds, you will need to then use RunSignup’s Bulk Refund tool.
Here are some helpful how-tos:
- Postpone/ Cancel
- Refunding a Participant
- Adding Funds to the Refund Reserve
- Issuing Bulk Refunds
- Transferring a Runner to another Race
- Deferring a Participant
Communication is Essential
We encourage you to communicate with your participants as soon as you can and deploy a variety of methods to ensure the information is received. Thoroughly communicating what your event’s plan is for canceling or postponing and how you are handling registrations, will help to ward off a lot of frustration and inbound questions. We encourage you to have a communications plan and set up draft content that is ready to send once final decisions are made.
Event organizers can send communication emails to registrants using RunSignup’s Free Email Marketing tool. Sending multiple emails to proactively communicate will be appreciated by your participants. For example, you could build draft content for:
- “We are Monitoring Hurricane Ian” message
- “The Race is Postponed” message
- After the cancelled race date, a follow up “New Race Date” message
Also, you can update your RunSignup Race Website with a Custom Content Section that appears on your Race Info page, you can even set up a special Weather page as a top level menu item (Race > Race Page > Custom Content). If your event is setup to use RaceJoy, you can use the app to issue out a global message for all that have entered your race in the app. Events will also want to update any independent websites and Facebook and other social media pages that participants may use for information on your event.
Having good communications with your participants can avoid misunderstandings, minimize the need to handle individual calls and emails from participants, and avoid unnecessary chargebacks. Make sure to include a way for them to ask questions and have people responding to incoming outlets like social media.
If you have questions on how to adjust your event on RunSignup, please contact your RunSignup account manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org.