One of our Year End Wrap-up Blogs. Others include 2023 Year in Review, 2023 RunSignup Product Recap, 2023 GiveSignup Product Recap, 2023 TicketSignup Product Recap, 2023 Infrastructure Report, 2024 Company Strategy, 2024 RunSignup Roadmap, 2024 GiveSignup Roadmap, 2024 TicketSignup Roadmap.
We continue on our path to roll out “Next Gen” versions of much of our overall platform. RunSignup registration customers are loving the new Next Gen Email system, and we will roll out a bunch of Next Gen systems in 2024 like Website, Memberships, Store, as well as some great new features that the next gen architecture allows, like an Image Gallery shared between Email and Website and Multi Language support.
We also continue to make large investments in our Race Day offerings. We rolled out RaceDay Scoring 4 in 2023, which was a next gen type of implementation of the internals that will allow for more exciting releases in 2024. Our nonprofit customers and especially our P2P customers are going to love some of the new features we will be bringing to those areas of our platform. Let’s dive in…
Email and Super Lists
Email V2 is one of the most popular releases we have ever done (customers sent over 600 Million emails in 2023 for free!). We continued to roll out a huge number of features and improvements during 2023. We will continue to make a number of incremental improvements, but we have a huge, strategic project that we expect to roll out in 2024 – Super Lists.
Eventually Super Lists will have a number of features:
- Create a dynamic Super List based on any set of “filters”. For example, you could create a Super List of your most engaged supporters – those who participated in at least 5 events (race and ticket) and volunteered at least 2 times and is a Member. We will eventually expose over 100 filters from race performance to total donations to distance from a location. And the lists are “Dynamic”, which means they are automatically updated so when an email sends, it will assemble the list of contacts in the Super List – picking up recent registrations or donations automatically.
- Automated Contact Merging. We actually developed this powerful capability a couple of years ago and have yet to expose it. We have built a way to match say Bob Bickel and Bobby Bickel based on other common information like address or email. We use a dozen different matching algorithms, and we do in a very clever anonymous manner across our entire database, but only expose the information for the contact information related to each race. For example Bob might have signed up for a dozen different races on RunSignup and we will use that information to relate all of those instances into a single contact, but share only the contact information that each race organization has on Bob. Matching is a feature of higher end CRM systems like Salesforce have and we will be including it for free.
- Tightly Integrated with Email. This will make it easy to create multiple Super Lists to include in email campaigns. The full power of the email system like Automated emails and Drip Campaigns are available to Super Lists in a very easy to use manner. This also means you can use the “Exclude” feature for a Super List if you do not want to bother your top donors with a mass email.
- Super List Export. The Super Lists can be run at any time and the data can be exported, allowing for open use of your RunSignup database of contacts.
This is a very ambitious and complex project. As usual, this will be rolled out incrementally, first with just a few filters and export options that will grow over time. Our goal is to provide the type of functionality found in expensive and overly complex CRM and Email systems for free in a way that any of our customers can easily take advantage of their data in RunSignup to grow their organization and events.
Along with our free email platform, the free website hosting we provide for our customers is the most impactful way we help grow events. After all, a race’s website is the way your customers learn about your race and is your public face. We provide full content management capabilities as well as integrating all of the data into the website. This means instructions about race day can be on the same website as years of results and integrated photos. It is automatically mobile and SEO optimized. And you can bring your own domain and we manage that and the SSL certificate totally for free. In addition, customers love the fact that our system is easy enough for them to maintain themselves without having special programming done to add content.
We have been working on our next gen version of Websites during 2023 – we even did a Sneak Peek in Q4. There is a whole new visual page editor that makes creating and editing your website easier and more powerful. We were shooting for a release in 2023, but decided to take our time to rework some of the infrastructure to allow for faster future development and easier maintenance of the system (we have tens of thousands of websites that we host and we want to make sure when we do releases we do not mess things up!). Our TicketSignup platform has been using the new Website Builder for the past two years and it has reached a real level of maturity (see updates we have made here).
We will roll out Website V2 in Q1 of 2024. Like the Email V2 introduction, we will run Website V1 and V2 side by side for a long time. By Q2 all new races created will use the new Website V2. Customers will be able to make their own decisions on when to cut over. The way it is designed is that both websites can be “live” at the same time with a switch that allows you to go back and forth. So you can build out a new V2 website in private (only you will see it as well as anyone with the specific URL), and when you are ready, flip a switch and the V2 will be where all your old URL’s were pointing. You can flip back and forth just like that with the change happening immediately.
Once we have the basic Website V2 capability out, we will take feedback and make incremental improvements. We have a variety of very cool things planned for later in the year, with the big ones being:
- Multiple Templates. This will enable you to choose the style and layout of your website.
- Flexible Fonts. Yes, we will enable a curated selection of font options.
- Multi-Language. We will be spending a lot of time and effort on making our Website Builder multi-language. We will support Spanish and French initially and will do automatic browser detection for preferred language. This will help the many US based races who have a large number of Spanish speaking participants, as well as help us prepare for moving beyond the US into Canada and other countries in years to come.
We introduced the Image Gallery in Email V2 in 2023. We are in the process of putting it into Website V2 so that customers can manage all of their images and reuse them across their Email and Website.
Image Gallery allows for customers to:
- Upload unlimited images for use in all Websites and Email.
- Resize, Edit, Name, Assign Alt Text, Store in Folder, Align, and Assign URL Link.
- Share the same images between your Website and Email.
- Share images between multiple events.
- Use the System Images RunSignup provides for free.
Images are such an important part of the brand for event organizations, and having this powerful capability built right in will make our Website and Email systems the logical choice for event organizations.
As shared above in the Website V2 area, we will be bringing multiple language support to RunSignup in 2024. This will take some time as there are many places to change, and we want to architect this correctly and ensure we are not slowed down too much in releasing new functionality in the future. We will keep the back end dashboard pages all English, however over time we want to make all of the many front end pages multi-lingual.
We provide technology to help our event customers. This generally falls into 4 areas – Collect Money, Grow, Manage Customers, and Event Day. We have built out a full set of tools for Race Day in a way that empowers both Race Directors and Timers to provide a set of capabilities that any race can have access to. There are countless details that are part of our plans for improvements, but here are some of the highlights:
- Series Scoring. We have had Series Scoring for a long time (2014), and this project to refresh that will happen in two steps. The first step is updating RaceDay Scoring to enable the creation of custom points based on the wide variety of parameters different customers use for series scoring. For example, there may be points based on place, or time back from the winner, or simple participation points that get assigned on an individual event basis in RaceDay Scoring. The second part will be a next gen implementation of the current Series Scoring on the platform with a new modern and easier to use UX as well as incremental functionality including the API to allow for easy feeding of points from RaceDay Scoring or other scoring software.
- RaceDay Scoring Streaming with RaceJoy. RaceDay Scoring will stream timing data directly to RaceJoy allowing timers to easily provide their events with push notifications for timing alerts for participants and spectators. Users will be able to easily subscribe to timing alerts for participants based on timing equipment data regardless of whether the participant carries their phone or not. In addition, timers will be able to use the RaceJoy monitoring system to quickly find their first and last finisher ETA based on a map view of their timing locations.
- Race Progress/Monitoring. This will show overview types of stats both in RaceDay Scoring as well as on the Timer Dashboard of how the race is progressing with summary data like number of starters, number of finishers, hardware read stats, estimated finish times, etc.
- RaceDay Scoring Report Builder V2. We know the current report builder has a lot of power, but it needs to be easier to use. We will also be able to combine scored events in a report.
- Race Result Integration. We will be releasing an easy integration for timers who use Race Result for their scoring platform. We have some excellent early feedback and will be making incremental improvements during the year. We expect the initial version to be released in January, 2024 and we will be demonstrating it at the Race Result Conference in February.
- MyLaps Cloud Middleware. MyLaps will be introducing cloud based middleware in 2024, and we will be supporting that.
- Athlinks Results Posting. We will make it esier for timers to post results to Athlinks from RaceDay Scoring.
- Improvements for XC and for Lap Races. Various incremental improvements for these types of races.
- Relay Teams V2. Making it easier to manage relay teams.
- Mobile Timing App. In 2024, RaceDay Mobile Timing will get a major redesign of user interface and navigation in order to simplify the usage of the system for the different modes of “Backup Timer” or traditional “Manual Scoring”. In addition, the system will have a database redesign in order to ensure no data is lost on the device and easily exported from devices.
- RaceDay CheckIn App. In 2024, RaceDay CheckIn will support a specialized kiosk mode for Medical CheckIns with medical information and status tracking of participants under medical care at events. We also plan to improve syncing stability in low network access conditions and performance for large events.
Next Gen Store
We have built a Next Gen Store capability and initially put that into our TicketSignup product. It still has some deficiencies to the AddOn capability within the race registration product, but we plan on closing that gap and migrating the new Store capability into the race registration system in 2024 as Store V2. It has several nice advantages in addition to the new code base:
- Variants. You can have a shirt in S,M and L as well as in Red, White and Blue.
- Combines Add-on and stand alone store capability in one.
- Warehouse. This allows for shared items across multiple race and ticket events.
Nonprofits represent almost half of our customers, and we have long had robust donation and fundraising features. We continue to invest in our GiveSignup Peer to Peer fundraising. You can read the details in our 2024 GiveSignup Roadmap here. Highlights include:
- Umbrella Teams. This allows for a second tier for team fundraisers. This is somewhat common in larger P2P events where there might be a company that has multiple teams – like Accounting, Sales and Development with individual teams, but are tied together at the company level.
- Custom Fundraiser Badges. Nonprofits can ask questions like “Are you a survivor?” and display badges on that fundraiser’s page.
- Fundraiser Minimum Upgrades. This allows nonprofits to encourage fundraisers to upgrade their minimum commitment level by awarding swag or other incentives.
- Donation E-Cards. This makes it easy for a donor to send an e-card to someone they made a donation on behalf of.
Next Gen Memberships
Our Next Gen Membership system is just about ready to go into Beta in January. See a sneak peek here.
This is a big one for the hundreds of running clubs who have used our Club Membership system for years. A total revamp. And it will open up new markets and customers for our product since it will be integrated with both race registration and tickets. This means organizations like zoos, gardens and museums will be able to offer an integrated approach for Tickets, Membership and Donations. Nonprofits will also benefit from the option of shifting some of their donations to a more inclusive membership strategy that many public radio and tv stations have. We have also noted that there is a dearth of modern technology for organizations with memberships who are frustrated. We expect this is be a great offering that grows over the next 5 years.
List of key features:
- Flexible Memberships: duration, levels, pricing, and more
- Event Integration with RunSignup and TicketSignup
- Cross sell memberships during event signup
- Discount event signups with different membership levels
- AutoRenewal with saved credit cards
- Lightweight “no password” option like TicketSignup
- Websites (Free, Modern, Full Powered, Custom Branded, BYO Domain), including Member Only Access
- Email (Free, Modern, Full Powered, Custom Branded), including newsletters, automated emails and notifications
- Integrated Donations (and Donation Discounts)
- Powerful Reporting
- Online Store
- Apple Pay and Apple Wallet
- Import and Migration and Integration Tools with custom member numbers for easier migration
We will also be bringing new features to our financial system, which we have largely modernized over the past 2-3 years. We will bring a new Invoice system that will modernize and become more available across our whole platform in 2024.
We also plan on introducing ACH payments for transactions over $1,000. We will be charging a flat 2% processing fee for these transactions, which will be a significant reduction from the credit card rates.
The largest infrastructure project this year is a cross over with Payments. We will be moving to a new version of Adyen payments, which is our backend payment provider. As with most infrastructure projects, there will be few visible improvements from a customer perspective, but it will provide increased capability in terms of onboarding new customers and
We also are planning an upgrade of our code review process to improve the systems, reporting and automation around how we do that. As you can imagine with over 2,000 releases, any optimization we can make in that process should improve our overall efficiency of development.
We have a number of smaller incremental improvements that we want to make over the course of the year. One of the projects we might take on this year is expanding some of our database fields from INT to BIGINT. For example, our Registration ID is an INT field, which seemed plenty big when we started, enabling as many as 2,147,483,647 registrations. We are only up to 78,218,985, so we are only at 3% of our max, but we are growing steadily and each year gets larger. Also the database migration will take longer the larger the database gets. And BIGINT will allow us to get to ~9,000,000,000,000,000,000 registration id’s before we need to worry about it again.
We are very excited about what we will be bringing our customers in 2024. We think these improvements will allow event customers to continue to grow and produce even better events. It is also exciting to see our investments in a series of Next Gen projects beginning to really mature and demonstrate our growth strategy of having a total integrated platform with the right products for events – RunSignup for Registration, TicketSignup for tickets and GiveSignup for Peer to Peer fundraising.