The Economics of Florence Forth

With the launch of registration, we’ve had several people ask about the economics of Florence Forth.  Where do race proceeds go?  How much does it cost to put on a race?  Let’s answer some of those questions.

All Florence Forth proceeds support the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance.

All race proceeds support the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance.  The AE Alliance is an international group of patients, families and doctors with a mission to speed diagnosis, improve treatment and find a cure for AE.  The AE Alliance is a 501c3 organization based in Durham, NC.

In 2014, Florence Forth net proceeds were just above $40,000.  Race proceeds were used to host the first International Symposium on Autoimmune Encephalitis. The symposium brought together 24 international medical experts to develop a consensus definition and diagnostic criteria for AE.  A recent AE Alliance blog post highlighted the symposium discussion.  The blog also provides links to a more detailed report.

A Labor of Love

Florence Forth Volunteering at Bull City Race Fest
Florence Forth Volunteering at Bull City Race Fest

Organizing a road race is a labor of love.  Florence Forth is no exception.  It takes a dedicated team of volunteers, many working for months before race day, to get us to the starting line.  And then there are the 120+ volunteers who make race day run smoothly.

Volunteers help raise sponsorship support from local businesses.  We walk door to door gathering signatures for the city permit.  This weekend, 27 volunteers raised funds and awareness for Florence Forth by working a water station at the bull city race fest – handing out water to several thousand runners!

Florence Forth Budget Overview

Road races cost money.  Through sponsorship assistance and in-kind donations, we have been able to direct the majority of race registration dollars to the work of the AE Alliance.  Below is a quick breakdown of the Florence Forth budget.

The primary race expenses are covered by cash sponsorships and in-kind donations.  These two income streams covered all of the race’s fixed costs.  These fixed costs are items independent of the number of runners who register: police, marketing, portajohns, awards, insurance, etc.  For example, we need the same number of police for 200 runners as for 2000.

The other expenses in a race are considered variable costs.  These variable costs increase proportionally to the number of runners and include race t-shirts and chip timing services.  Our variable costs last year were about $11 per runner.  That leaves the remaining registration fees and all team fundraising contributions providing the net proceeds.  In 2014, net proceeds equaled $40,248.

Our goal for 2015 is to more than double net proceeds to $100,000.  That’s a big goal.   With our fixed costs fixed, the economics of Florence Forth tells us that together we can do this!