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Supporting and Managing Events for Charities

Here’s how one customer uses RunSignup tools to increase participation, maximize fundraising, and streamline RaceDay so that her clients - mostly small charity events - can focus on what’s important to them (more fundraising!).


Championship Racing had a simple challenge: they needed a registration provider that was self-serve and worked, every time. As a company, they valued reliability to ensure that their clients could focus their attention on their charity work instead of on registration.


Championship Racing was introduced to RunSignup by their timer around 2013. In RunSignup, they found a registration provider that is reliable and offers 24/7 access to make changes. As early adopters of RunSignup, they have been able to grow with the platform and offer cutting-edge technology to their customers.


Today, Championship Racing defines success as a higher bar than simply working. With RunSignup, they are able to be sensitive to the needs of each client and provide a custom solution for each event. They focus on growing events by capitalizing on the social nature of charity runs, increasing fundraising dollars, and providing a smooth, streamlined RaceDay.

Championship Racing: Intro & Background

Helping nonprofits help others

Championship Racing is an event management company owned and operated by Trish Portuese, an RRCA Certified Race Director with over 20 years of experience working with nonprofits, running clubs, and road race management. Championship Racing specializes in working with charity events, including many cancer-related runs and walks, and focuses on registration management for 10-15 events a year. The approach that Championship Racing takes to managing events is:

  • Really understand the client - who they are and what they want out of the event
  • Utilize the extensive RunSignup tool set to find optimal solutions specific to the client

We are an event management company. I don’t own any races; what I do is help nonprofits put on their race. I take all the technology stuff and the operational components and consult and advise them of the different aspects of the road race...while they do what they do best - which is raise funds for their charity.

Trish Portuese, Owner/Operator of Championship Racing, LLC

Capitalizing on Social Connections in “Participative Events”

Turn your participants into ambassadors

If you want to be on a team, once you hit that 5-member mark, the original four members will get their $5 discount, and then anybody else that registers receives that $5 discount. That’s a huge hit, and the way the system handles it is beautiful. I don’t have to do anything - you set it up once, and it works. For that’s been highly successful because it encourages people to bring their friend, bring their family. We have people that sign up ten people just because they want them on their team.

Trish Portuese, Owner/Operator of Championship Racing, LLC

Championship Racing specializes in what they call “participative events” - events that participants are drawn to specifically because of the charity it supports rather than the competitive aspect of racing. Trish has found that social teams - teams with no scoring connection and no size limit - are a great fit for participative events, helping to grow the event by encouraging people to bring their friends and family while creating a fun, social RaceDay experience.

To promote social teams, Championship Racing sets the Rumpshaker 5K race up to provide a discount of $5/participant for teams of at least 5 people. RunSignup is able to automate this process so that each member of the team can register on their own time: once the fifth team member registers, the first four will get an automatic refund of $5, while all additional team members receive the discount up front.

Team Roster Screenshot
Team Registration Chart Screenshot

The Bottom Line: Fundraising Dollars

Donations in the registration path: a winning formula

The best thing that ever happened is [RunSignup’s] link of donations to registration. For example, when I brought the Rumpshaker 5K onto the RunSignup system, we had $21,000 in donations - that was $10,000 more than we had from the previous online vendor.

Trish Portuese, Owner/Operator of Championship Racing, LLC

With a focus on charity-oriented events, it should come as no surprise that the RunSignup’s fundraising platform is a key feature for Championship Racing. The integration of donations into the registration process captures donation dollars while a participant is engaged and thinking about the cause, rather than re-directing them or asking for money later.

Championship Racing has also had success with clients adding the “checkbox” donation option, allowing participants to add a quick, set donation amount ($5 is their standard) with a simple checkbox at check-out. Make it easy to donate, and people are more likely to do so!

Big money isn’t all simple, though: to capitalize on the personal connection between participants and charities, many events also enable more advanced fundraising features. For example, the Rumpshaker 5K inspired fundraising with:

  • Customized donation levels that invoke the intangible community impact of donations
  • Individual and team fundraisers
  • Fundraising milestones to encourage thinking BIG
  • Fundraiser refunds that automatically refund a participant their registration fee if they meet the $200 fundraising milestone

For larger events with a highly engaged participant pool, advanced fundraising options can be used to motivate and empower participants to reach out and fundraise.

Donations Screenshot Donations Chart Screenshot
Milestone Screenshot

A Better (Smarter) RaceDay

Because CheckIn should be the easy part of RaceDay

With the CheckIn App I know who’s checked in. Once you check that person in, you can go in and see how many have picked up so I can anticipate and expect my volume of pre-registered participants that have to show up race morning. I can adjust the number of volunteers, move them to another location, etc.

Trish Portuese, Owner/Operator of Championship Racing, LLC

RaceDay is known for its inherent chaos, but Championship Racing is tempering that with its no paper, no lines philosophy. They employ two techniques to improve the accuracy of their data: first, they emails participants a link to their information ahead to encourage them to validate that it is correct, second, they utilize either the SignUp app or regular online registration on-site to eliminate handwriting-based errors.

RaceDay SignUp may be easy with RunSignup, but Trish’s favorite RunSignup tool is easily the RaceDay CheckIn App. With many events offering pre-race bib pickup, Trish is able to use the reporting from CheckIn to estimate how many participants will need to check in on race morning, and adjust her volunteer strategy accordingly.

CheckIn Stats Screenshot

The Value of a Single Database: Volunteers

Reaping the rewards of the single-system approach

[The Volunteer Platform] is easy to set-up, easy to use, I like it because it has the database and we can take that database, send that email and say “hey we need help for next year”. It’s an add-on and it’s a value-add to a race director.

Trish Portuese, Owner/Operator of Championship Racing, LLC

One of the biggest advantages of RunSignup is the value of a single database. Championship Racing uses the Volunteer Platform for their volunteers because it is easy to use...but also because it keeps all the volunteer data in the same place as participant and donor information.

This makes it easy to use email marketing to remind volunteers to come back, to communicate key volunteer details, and even to add volunteers to any pre-race emails that are sent to participants.

Volunteer Management Screenshot

RunSignup for Flexibility and Customization

Your platform, your way

At the end of the day, much of the value of RunSignup to Championship Racing is the flexibility it allows, ensuring that they can fulfill their promise of providing streamlined race management that is tailored to the event, freeing up the charity to focus on their top priority: raising money.

Start Growing with RunSignup Today

With all the tools you need to make your race a success, getting started has never been easier.

Customer Spotlight

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