The next generation of runners wants more out of a race than just running. With the mass participation sports event market becoming more and more competitive, event organisers need to set up their races to appeal to Generation Z – or risk being left in their dust.
Who are the next generation of runners?
Generation Z includes those born after 1996, and will by next year make up 30% of the world’s population. The love for running is said to start around the age of 20 as a response to health concerns, a search for peace of mind, or a way to spend more time outdoors. With half of Gen Z already in their 20s and the other half about to enter this age bracket, it’s no surprise that they will soon make up the largest group of runners next to millennials.
Despite taking criticism for being glued to their phones, Generation Z are also known as the ‘philanthro-kids’. Because they grew up immersed in technology and borderless social media, Gen Z are a globally engaged generation with a real awareness of world problems – and a real desire to solve them. By tapping into that drive to make the world a better place, charities and event organisers can greatly increase their impact.
What are Gen Z runners looking for in an event?
According to the Deloitte 2019 Millennial Survey 1, Gen Z, more than their parents, support companies with the same values. On the flipside, they won’t hesitate to ditch a brand when they disagree with its business practices. Brands with a clear social mission will benefit as long as they continue to live up to their values.
Trends in the running industry also show that Gen Z runners aren’t chasing medals above all else. Today’s typical race participant isn’t a regular athlete and cares more about making memories with friends than about setting personal records 4.
Businesses are taking notice. Of those surveyed, 73% had developed new products or changed existing ones to generate a positive societal impact 1. In the running event space in particular, there has also been a huge increase in the number of MOB (Mud, Obstacles and Beer) and other experiential events.
How can your race attract Gen Z runners?
To attract Gen Z runners, race organisers must meet a three-fold demand – social responsibility, social connectedness and a meaningful race experience. Adopting peer-to-peer fundraising as an integral part of the event satisfies all three. Peer-to-peer fundraising is where an individual creates a fundraising project using an online fundraising platform such as GivenGain and then asks their friends and family to support their chosen charity by donating to that project 5.
Fundraising has become a key part of today’s race events and this is a trend we see being repeated around the world. Organisers have discovered that supporting charities through their events doesn’t only make a positive social impact, it also spreads brand awareness and attracts more participants. Runners feel empowered when they can support a charity that expresses their values or that is connected to the local community in which the race takes place.
However, giving participants a one-off option to donate during registration, as many events do, doesn’t go far enough to satisfy Gen Z’s demand for social engagement. Taking the next step and enabling peer-to-peer fundraising gives runners a more memorable experience that is social and shareable – before, during and after race day. Encouraging social sharing in the run-up to the event also drives sign-ups and boosts the charities that your event is working with.
With no added cost for the event, why wouldn’t you want your participants to make a difference to some incredible charities, spread awareness of your event and keep returning year after year?
If you are an event organiser and want to know more about GivenGain’s free event fundraising platform and service, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or watch this short video for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoUjLpd0H_0.
- The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019 (https://www2.deloitte.com/be/en/pages/human-capital/articles/the-deloitte-global-millennial-survey-2019.html)
- Generational Giving (https://www.classy.org/blog/infographic-generational-giving/)
- The Future of Social: Gen Z (https://nonprofithub.org/social-media/future-social-gen-z/)
- Eventbrite: 3 Ways Participants Expect More From the Running Industry (https://www.eventbrite.com/blog/running-industry-participant-demands-ds00)
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: a mini guide for nonprofits (http://sofii.org/article/peer-to-peer-fundraising-mini-guide)