The Bromont Ultra is a two-day volunteer-run fundraising race like no other. It is one of the only trail races in Eastern Canada to offer a challenging 160km course for athletes looking for the ultimate physical test.
By combining exciting trails for mountain biking and running, offering different distances and team options, and encouraging participants to select from 20 charitable causes to support through their registration fees and fundraising initiatives – the Bromont Ultra is a unique event, to say the least.
With a five-year track record behind them, the organizing team came to Phil looking for advice and support to help them surpass the $1 million mark, as their total raised since inception. Bromont Ultra’s leadership understood that an updated communications & fundraising strategy was in order if they were to reach their goal for 2019.
As with most volunteer-run organizations passion was not the missing element – a detailed SWOT analysis was needed along with the additional resources to implement the new plan. Phil’s strategy prioritized the essential steps to take and provided the production team to get Bromont Ultra to the finish line. We recommended the following key areas that needed addressing:
Updating communication tools
- Revamp the website to make race information, registration, and communication with participants and volunteers clearer and simpler.
- Better and increased use of email marketing to encourage the engagement of past participants and supporters of the race.
- Tap into a more targeted approach with social media through the use of Facebook’s Ad Manager.
Relationship building with causes
- Establish constant communication with causes and support their involvement in the race through social media and email updates.
- Harness the power of peer-to-peer fundraising and encourage causes to reach out to their supporters and directly request donations through an online platform.
- Establish relationships with different corporate sponsors and present creative opportunities to become involved in the event and reach more than 25000 people on a multi-channel approach.
With a new bilingual website that incorporated improved content and images, highlighting the diverse causes that have come on board, and the loyal sponsors that have continued to support the event, Bromont Ultra established itself as the most important fundraising event in the world of ultra marathons. At the peak of the event weekend there were over 150k page views.
Bromont Ultra had been using the boosted posts feature on Facebook to drive traffic to their event before Phil suggested a change. While this feature can be beneficial to increase views & clicks, boosted posts don’t take advantage of the exceptional targeting capabilities available with Facebook’s Ads Manager.
Through the use of this tool Phil helped Bromont Ultra reach a specific audience with the aim of increasing the number of registered participants for the event. Phil recommended targeting people who had interacted with their Facebook posts within the past year, had visited their website but had not yet registered, and those that had participated in previous races but had not registered this year. It also allowed organizers to share the event with people from Vermont, Ontario, and Quebec in their native language who were interested in trail running, ultrarunning, and running related publications.
By performing A/B/C testing on the different segments, Phil was able to deliver copy and creative that resonate best with Bromont Ultra’s audience and thus maximize their ad spend. With a total of $700 spent on Facebook ads, event organizers were able to reach over 250,000 people in their niche market – a 286% increase over previous years.
The smart combination of investing in strategic advice and the additional resources to execute the plan has proven to be the turning point for the Ultra team. They met their $1 million benchmark with an increase in donations by 14% over the previous years’ averages. They also surpassed their estimate for this year’s registered participants by 29%. They are now well equipped to continue building their event with the essential tools needed for success for years to come. Way to go Bromont Ultra team!