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Tips for Getting Millennials and Gen Z'ers More Involved in Your Races

Millennials (ages 20-35) and Gen Z’ers (19 and under) are an underutilized resource, but their value should not be overlooked. Both these generations can be utilized as race participants or volunteers. Studies have found that these younger generations are more willing than ever to help charitable causes. So how do you engage with them?

  1. Promote your Out-Of-The-Box Races.

    • Instead of trying to get Millennials and Gen Z’ers to attend a traditional, straight-forward race, promote one of your more unusual races, like a color or zombie run. Not only are these races less intimidating for beginners, but they are more attractive to the younger crowd and can be enjoyed with friends and family.

  2. Provide Free Swag.

    • Who doesn’t love free stuff? Providing free beer at your event (21 and older) or a similar giveaway will attract a younger (and larger) crowd. Millennials and Gen Z’ers love energy drinks! For runners under 21, get a RedBull or Monster truck to come to your event. Small freebies can make a big difference.

  3. Interact on Social Media.

    • Technology is one of the best tools you can use to reach Millennials and Gen Z’ers. While Facebook has been the favorite for many years, give some of the other social media platforms a try. Working with a new tool you’re unfamiliar with can be intimidating, but with a little practice, it will benefit you in the long run. Instagram is booming and the ideal place to find Millennials and Gen Z’ers. You can easily target a specific audience with Instagram Ads. SnapChat GeoFilters are a great option for race day. When runners take selfies on SnapChat, you can have your event name as a SnapChat filter option in a specified geographic area. Millennials and Gen Z’ers are known for having FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), so seeing where and what their friends are doing on SnapChat is very influential. Americans spend over four hours per day on their phone, so take advantage of how valuable social media can be to reach your target audience. PRO TIP: With so many people on their phones, make sure that whatever information you put out there is mobile friendly.

  4. Offer an Incentive.

    • Your potential race participants/volunteers are being blasted with ads constantly, so competing for their attention is tough! Often times, Millennials and Gen Z’ers are willing to participate in a cause if they think they can make a difference, but adding something a little extra will really make your event stand out. Offer special prizes for race participants such as gift cards, t-shirts, medals etc. If you’re looking for volunteers to work your race, offer college credit, cash, volunteer hours, or a recommendation. Find out what’s valuable to your participants/volunteers and provide it as an incentive.

  5. Give Them a Purpose.

    • Millennials and Gen Z’ers need to be shown that what they are doing matters. During your social media campaign, make graphics and videos that show exactly how their volunteering will impact the cause. Find a creative way to show volunteers their contribution is vital to the event and will be beneficial to others, with only minimal commitment on their part. If you make a video, try to keep it under 30 seconds, anything longer will get lost in the endless stream of ads.

  6. Be Open and Honest.

    • People love helping causes that are close to them. Share your story and be honest about it; Millennials and Gen Z’ers appreciate transparency. Appeal to them with human interest stories that will get them interested in your cause. This is yet another great opportunity to create a video that explains who you are and why they should care.

What Millennials and Gen Z’ers lack in experience, they make up for in energy and eagerness. They are hungry to learn new skills and love building on their resume. Colleges and potential employers put a huge emphasis on volunteer work and extracurricular activities, so it’s the ideal opportunity for Millennials and Gen Z’ers to make themselves stand out in a sea of applicants. Focus on engaging with Millennials and Gen Z’ers on their level to get them to attend your events. Follow these tips and before you know it, you will find your races growing and these younger generations eager to attend!


About Innovative Timing Systems, LLC: Innovative Timing Systems, LLC is a privately-owned company, providing leading-edge sports timing solutions and race timing services through a network of over 500 locations around the world. ITS provides advanced chip technologies, race kiosks, large athlete displays, live web updates, automated race photos, social media integration and mobile apps. Founded in 2008, ITS is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri and has sales, support, and engineering facilities in numerous locations around the world.

About ITS YOUR RACE: ITS YOUR RACE is the leader in online event management. An all-inclusive endurance event platform, ITS YOUR RACE offers easy registration and results with custom features including sponsorships, advertising opportunities, GPS tracking, athlete photos, finisher certificates, fundraising, and more. Over 10,000 events have chosen ITS YOUR RACE.

Innovative Timing Systems is a registered trademark of Innovative Timing Systems, LLC. RaceTimes is a trademark of Innovative Timing Systems, LLC.

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