Improving sign up for big challenge events

Sign Up Blog

When it comes to signing up for big challenge events, your charity is in a competitive market. Most charities have the same offer – ride for us, raise sponsorship and we’ll tell we love you all the way. Your potential fundraiser has a pretty big choice, so the benefit of choosing your charity over another needs to be crystal clear. Ideally within 10 seconds of arriving on the landing page.

To see what was out there, I decided to play make believe. I pretended I was the kind of person who would not only actively consider, but also be physically able to cycle 100 miles in one go. So I did a quick Google search for ‘RideLondon’. I clicked on the first three paid charity results I came across – Farm Africa, Shelter, and WWF.

Screen shot of Google search results for Ride London

Two of the ads emphasised the ‘Missed the ballot? Ride for us!’ angle, while Shelter’s headline said ‘Loved this year’s RideLondon?’, perhaps referring to 2015 as the event isn’t till July. I had two questions in my head – firstly, could they tell me bare essentials about the event in just a few seconds? Second, was it obvious how to sign up to ride for them?

I clicked on the ads to find out.

Farm Africa

Farm Africa's sign up page for Ride London

The Farm Africa landing page has a nice big image of a cyclist. Excellent, I’m one of them (in my mind!) I’m in the right place. It tells me the date, distance and location of the ride in a nice big font. I’ve got all the essentials in a few short seconds. There are two calls to action on the right – Enquire, and Sign Up Now. Not sure what the difference is, but it looks like I can sign up now. Hooray! If I do want to read more, I get just three sentences on how they’ll help me, and how I’ll be helping them. This distils the deal into a tidy little package.


Shelter's sign up page for Ride London

Shelter’s landing page also tells me RideLondon’s date, location and distance (which is ‘100 m’ – to a novice like me that suggests a much more manageable 100 metre cycle race). They also tell me the registration fee and sponsorship pledge up at the left of the page, the first place the typical user looks. This makes the deal even clearer. The nice big Sign Up button takes me straight to the form on the same page if I’m convinced already. If not, there’s longer information on what they’ll do for me, and what I’ll be doing for them. So I have a choice.

There’s also an email address and a phone number I can use if I’ve got my own place and just want to join their team. Clicking on the email address starts a blank email to their events email address. Why not pre-fill the subject line and even the email content to save your supporter a bit of time?


WWF's sign up page for Ride London

Finally to WWF’s RideLondon page. They lead with an image of two people who have already finished the race. They proudly display their medals. I like the positivity. But not a bike in sight. Am on the right event page? WWF also tell me the date, location, distance and type of race. But this crucial info is just in normal font size, so I’ve missed it. Although they do have an early bird offer! The registration fee is free until 1st March 2016 (it’s normally £25). I feel an increased sense of urgency. Their page uses nice big call to action buttons – can’t miss those. They urge me to Get a Guaranteed Place (ooh guaranteed, sounds promising) and Get a WWF Place. Although as an amateur, I’m not totally sure what the difference is. But look – a beautiful image of a ‘The Panda Made Me Do It’ cycling kit, including a fetching yellow jersey. I want it! Where do I sign up?

All these charities have their own approach to making the sign up process simple. And they need to. This is the internet, where other charities (and many more distractions) are a mere click away. Pages like these can make charities a lot of money. The investment in making the action you want supporters to take quick to sell and easy to complete will pay off many times over. Unfortunately I didn’t get as far as the actual form to sign up. After all this talk of cycling, I just needed a quiet sit down… 

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Matt Collins is managing director at digital marketing agency, Platypus Digital, and tweets @charitychap