This post comes from the desk of our Account Manager Randy Garcia. Randy (and all our Account Managers) have a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective from a wide variety of events across the country and industry. Which means their know-how is incredibly valuable when it comes to giving pointers on how to grow your brand, grow your revenue, and reduce your workload. Without further ado... Randy.
No, “Charity Program Manager” probably isn’t making the top 10 list of toughest jobs in America, but if you don’t know how much work your Charity Program Manager is putting in you’ll soon be buying that person the dessert of their choice. As someone who formerly managed the customer service for a 25,000 person marathon, I know first-hand how many emails from athletes pour in throughout the year. I always thought I was doing yeoman’s work until I realized that our Charity Program Manager was acting as the gatekeeper for 100 non-profits who collectively would send just as many emails as the entire 25,000 person field! Juggling 100 different relationships (and personalities) can be madness which is why I was so excited that there was a solution to make her life easier!
Charity Fundraising Explosion
Charity fundraising at endurance events has exploded in the past decade. Here at home, the TCS NYC Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and The Boston Marathon are consistently among the highest annual fundraising races combining to raise over $50 million collectively. Those three races are just a snapshot of what endurance event-based fundraising has become.
The most successful events usually allow themselves to be used as a platform by nonprofits to fundraise for their specific cause. (Which is why we've partnered with CrowdRise for fundraising. Learn more about that here.) This type of arrangement is a win-win for both the event and nonprofit as the event enjoys the goodwill and benefits of being associated with charity and the nonprofit is exposed to a broader audience with the ability to piggyback off of an established event to raise money.
Side Effects of Growing Charity Boom
As charity programs continue to grow, so too will the number of nonprofits that event organizers will continue to work with. It can be challenging for an event to deal with a growing roster of nonprofits -- organizations are often short staffed, deal with frequent employee turnover, and lack familiarity with endurance events. Even charities with a strong team may struggle with a shortage of resources to put forth the type of effort they would like. Dealing with a wide array of nonprofit organizations where experience levels can range from “expert” to “how many miles is your marathon” is enough to raise stress to max levels!
"Need Help ASAP!"
One of the challenges our clients consistently faced was being able to keep up with the constant requests to get the latest race registration report for each charity team. While organized charity contacts can keep track of who they issued discount or invitation codes to, most nonprofits find it easier to send urgent requests directly to the charity manager. Dropping everything to answer each request is usually neither feasible nor good business practice.
“I would get requests on a weekly and often daily basis from several groups wanting to double check their participant registration,” says Rachel Sanchez, Manager of Charity Partnerships at Conqur Endurance Group (Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon). “We have over 100 charity partners who all have their unique ways of managing their teams but due to the time involved I only provided reports on a monthly basis [although] many organizations needed reports a lot more often.”
Knowing this, we at imATHLETE challenged ourselves with manipulating our race management software in a way that would lessen the burden on charity managers having to constantly run registration reports for their nonprofit contacts. The idea was to give these folks access to their registration report at all times without needing to email the event every time they wanted to check who had registered.
Enter...Group Manager Log-ins! Our nifty group manager solution is currently being used successfully by the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, TD Five Boro Bike Tour, Philadelphia Marathon, and One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon!
Group Manager Log-ins are exactly what they sound like, an opportunity for a group manager to log into imATHLETE and have access to the people that have registered for their group. While we’ve had the most success implementing this for charity partners, our events are also using this for sponsors, tour groups, and other community groups.
“The ability for the [charity] managers to manage their teams saved a tremendous amount of customer service,” notes Jamie De Four, Associate Manager/Charity Programs Manager at Bike New York. “I solely handle customer service for [charities] and I wanted to be sure they only came to me for critical issues.”
De Four, who worked with 54 charities for the 2016 TD Five Boro Bike Tour, found that with charity managers having the ability to view their own roster, the number of requests for registration reports were few and far between. Sanchez, who used to set aside an entire 8-hour day each month to run 100 different registration reports, saw the number of registration report questions dwindle to just occasional troubleshooting questions.
“Honestly, it was a game changer! This empowered our charity partners to login whenever they wanted,” remarked Sanchez. “It completely eliminated the need for the lengthy process of providing the monthly report to each charity.”
What to do with all this New Time?
imATHLETE has always been a leader in trying to make an event organizer’s life easier. We were pioneers in allowing participants to edit their own registration. Group Manager Log-ins are another great example of eliminating a bottleneck point in an event organizer's day-to-day responsibilities. While we can’t guarantee that your stress will completely disappear, at least you’ll have some newfound time to eat desserts!