CASA Superhero Run Richmond Case Study

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This CASA Superhero Run Case Study focuses on creating a family-friendly event, cultivating fundraisers, and creating a positive volunteer experience.

View the PDF Version of the CASA Superhero Run Case Study

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CASA Superhero Run Richmond and RunSignUp

The CASA Superhero Run in Richmond uses a unique, family oriented run as a successful fundraiser.

Picture1About the CASA Superhero Run (Richmond

Every child needs a hero, but abused children need superheroes!

The CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused and neglected child can be safe, establish permanence and have the opportunity to thrive.

While many CASA programs now host Superhero Runs as fundraisers, Richmond was the first to tie the two together.  Barbara & Ruth Anne, the Executive Directors at Henrico County & Chesterfield, teamed up as Race Directors 6 years ago because the CASA mission was consistent with the Superhero Foundation’s Mission, and created a fundraising event that was healthy and family friendly.

More than a Race

The CASA Run is designed to have something for everyone.  They have 3 Event Options: A Kid’s Run (12 & Under), an Adult 5K Race (12 & Under), and a Kid’s 5K Race (12 & Under). The race gives out good, unusual prizes, and does get participation from fast, competitive runners who want to win awards; on the other hand, costumes are encouraged, and the festive atmosphere is appealing to runners and non-runners alike.

Picture2In addition to the running events, the CASA Superhero Run event includes a family festival for kids of all ages.  The festival evolves each year, but is much more than just a food truck and some music: they have included things like kid’s games, playgrounds, bouncy houses, obstacle courses, fire truck tours, and Karate exhibitions. The festival is special because it has draw for all generations, and encourages people to come out every year, regardless of whether or not they are able to participate in the run.

Picture3Making a Case to Sponsors

Sponsors are a key piece in collecting revenue for CASA from the event; to maximize sponsor dollars, they work individually with each Sponsor to find a tradeoff that makes Sponsorship worthwhile for the specific company.  While some companies view it as an opportunity to get their name seen, other companies have different motivations; for example; one Sponsor uses it as a chance to get their employees to interact outside of work, and has 20 employees sign up to participate in the event.  Regardless, CASA is flexible to find a mutually beneficial solution for a potential sponsor.

The Bottom Line: Fundraising through the Run

The 2015 CASA Superhero Run collected donations using the RunSignUp Donations & Fundraising Platform.  Runners had the option to be Individual Fundraisers, organize Team Fundraisers, or just make a donation without becoming a Fundraiser.

The 2015 CASA Superhero Run collected $17,224 in Donations & Fundraising.

Cultivating Fundraisers

While many unaffiliated runners will make Picture4a simple donation in the registration process, becoming a Fundraiser (and actively seeking donations to a Fundraising Page) is a bigger commitment that CASA can usually only get from people who already have an investment in the cause. They encourage Board Members to Fundraise, and have Fundraisers who are really just Champions for the Cause, and fundraise year after year.

Barbara & Ruth Anne are careful to cultivate year-round relationships with their top, committed fundraisers.  While there is no formal reward Picture5structure for fundraisers, they do offer cool ways to stay involved as opportunities arise – for example, in the past they gave a top fundraiser with some graphic skills the opportunity to design their race shirt.

The top Fundraiser in 2015 raised $3,183

Creating a Positive Volunteer Experience

Barbara and Ruth Anne take pride in having built a positive experience for their volunteers that ensures they return in future years.  Because they recruit volunteers as a part of their jobs, they are able to take advantage of connections that they have for volunteer recruitment, and they find volunteers by appealing to groups.

Once they have volunteers signed on, they are able to keep them by providing them with a really good experience.  To do so, they use a lot of communication, give clear instructions, and make sure all volunteers have a clearly defined purpose on Race Day.  They also appoint Volunteer Coordinators to make sure that there are clear lines of communication even in the chaos of race morning.

The attention to communication pays off: They’ve been told by volunteers that the CASA Run was “the best volunteer experience we’ve had,” and volunteers do return year after year.

If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

Tomoka Marathon Case Study

We have a series Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users.  This Tomoka Marathon Case Study focuses on using RunSignUp as a central data point for everything from registration to race day and volunteer coordination. 

View the PDF Version of the Tomoka Marathon Case Study

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Tomoka Marathon and RunSignUp

Runners High Timing and the Tomoka Marathon use RunSignUp to maintain a central data point for various facets of their Race Management.

Picture1The Tomoka Marathon was the second edition of a local marathon, half marathon, and 5K.  They brought out 1,400+ runners to celebrate and enjoy the Old Florida Charm and beauty of their area. Don of Runners High Timing and Race management walked us through the outline of their event.

 A Professional Appearance

Picture2The Tomoka Marathon website is a beautiful, easily navigable, and informative website.  To keep things simple, and to keep runners on their website (instead of redirecting them), they use RunSignUp Widgets for Registration, Results, and Volunteer SignUp.

 Using the Integration with the Race Director

Don takes advantage of the two-way data syncing between RunSignUp and the Race Director to keep track of all his participants.

  • Leading up to Race Day, he manages all data from within RunSignUp.Picture3
  • He assigns Bibs for all pre-registered runners in RunSignUp, and exports them to Race Director.
  • On Race Day, Race Director becomes his master, and he enters all paper registrations and Bib Numbers into Race Director.
  • The integration allows him to load Results to RunSignUp (hosted on his website via a widget) live on Race Day.  While he will still need to double-check the results prior to awards, runners appreciate the ability to check their finishing times immediately.

“I like the integration with RD – it really makes things easier for me from a Race DirectorPicture4 & Timer perspective.  Previously, with other systems, I had to export, format, and import.  This way, I can have everything, including a results link – set up before the event – and when the race is done, I’m done.”

– Don, Runners High Timing & Race Management


Race Day Solutions

  • To make it easy for his runners to find their online results, Don includes a QR code on Picture6his Bibs that links to the results page.
  • In addition to online results, they print results at the finish line for runners less comfortable using the internet on their phone.
  • Tomoka Marathon offers text and email notifications to runners and spectators, and had a high adoption rate in 2015 – a total of 1,536 notifications were sent out.
  • The race was RaceJoy enabled as a tracking option for runners who planned to carry their phones.

Volunteer Coordination

Recruiting & Managing Volunteers: The first year of the Tomoka Marathon required more work to find volunteers, but they were able to draw on existing relationships from other races they manage, and are now able to build on that base and brin many of the groups back each year.  To manage their volunteers, they stress communication. The have a pre-race meeting, but also utilized the Volunteer email capability in RunSignUp to make sure Volunteers have clear directives.

Using the RunSignUp Volunteer System

Volunteers for the Tomoka Marathon used to be managed in a Spreadsheet – while that worked, it was time consuming.  The RunSignUp Volunteer System allows them to move all the data for volunteers into the same umbrella as their Participant Data, and provides easy emailing with Volunteers.

Tasks: Tasks are set up with Timeslots (some Tasks have multiple time slots), and minimums and maximums for each task. These Min/Maxs help them to keep track of what tasks need more volunteers when they view reports.

Categories: They have 4 categories of Volunteer: Course, Packet Pickup & Registration, Start/Finish Line, and Water Stops. Each Category has several Tasks that fall within that Category.

Volunteer Coordinators: Many Volunteer Tasks are staffed by groups.  A leader from the group can then be assigned the role as Volunteer Coordinator, allowing them to provide communication to the group for the Task they are responsible for.Picture5

By using RunSignUp for Registration, taking advantage of the integration with Race Director and utilizing the Volunteer System and it’s communication feature, the Tomoka Marathon is able to maintain a single database for each of the elements of the race.

 If you have a success story about your race, store or club, big or small,  email us…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!

Volunteer Email Communications

The new Volunteer System has an extensive email communication capabilities built in to facilitate managing coordinators and volunteers. It automatically sends emails to coordinators and volunteers that are added manually. It also provides a mechanism for the volunteer manager and coordinators to send emails. Here is a quick video that shows the major portions of the system:

Coordinator CommunicationsThe first capability is when you set a coordinator for a specific Task or Category. That coordinator receives an email with a link to the task or category. If they have a RunSignUp account, they sign in for secure access to the system with a limited view of just that task(s) or category(ies). If they do not have an account, they are directed to register so the system maintains security. The coordinators have the ability to add volunteers, see the volunteer list, and do email via the system as described below to their volunteers (not all).

Volunteer Email SendingThe main communications capability is a simple and flexible email system that RunSignUp sends on your behalf with your race logo embedded in the email and your own Reply To Address. The first feature of the email system is setting who will receive the email. You can select any combination of volunteers and coordinators from any task or category. In addition, you can add specific people to the email.

EMail Special TagsThe second thing to notice in the volunteer email system is the ability to add special tags. This gives you the ability to customize and personalize the email. You need to enter the tags into the email draft and it will be replaced.  Here is an example of what you would type into the email:

This is just a test, %FIRST_NAME% for the %TASKS%.

The %FIRST_NAME% is replaced by each recipient’s first name and the %TASKS% is replaced by the task or tasks that the person is assigned to.  The received message will look like:

This is just a test, Bob for the Water Stops.

Note that manual email addresses added above can have a %TASKS% variable set – so they will see whatever is entered after the email address in place of the tag.

Volunteer Email CreationThe next part of the system is actually creating the email. You can set a Subject line (which can contain the special tags). You can also set a Reply-To email address – for example

The email editing tool allows you to create a simple email with the added tags. See the example on the right for another example of how the special tags can be used to EMail Archivepersonalize the email.

All emails are archived and can be reviewed and copied as well.

Email NotificationsFinally, you can manage notifications. For example, a coordinator can turn on our off when new volunteers sign up for their tasks.

Emails can include your race logo placed in the upper right corner of your email automatically for you.

Email with logo

In summary, we have provided a secure, simple and flexible system to help your race better manage your volunteers.

Volunteer System Manual

Here is a Manual for using our new Volunteer System:

The manual incluVolunteersOfAmerica1_Lgdes documentation for migrating your volunteer registration from DoItSports, including import mapping, Volunteer Tasks & Categories, Volunteer Questions, Reporting, and Volunteer Communication.