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Core Functions: Fundraising
Securing adequate resources is vital to the success of a Local Club. Clubs are encouraged to fundraise in order to create sustainable programs and improve the quality of sports training and competition opportunities for athletes. There are many ways to raise funds: sponsorships, grants, letter writing campaigns, special events, etc.

Below are steps to follow in organizing a fundraising event.

Step 1

Contact the Special Olympics National/State Program office to guide you through fundraising policies, procedures and ideas.

Step 2

Develop a fundraising proposal and event plan. Create a simple expense/revenue budget to justify fundraising event. Identify objectives, develop a timeline of tasks. Sign the letter of intent to donate or donation agreements.

Step 3

Recruit, train and manage volunteers: Assign manageable tasks, train, as needed, monitor progress and make timely adjustments.

Step 4


Step 5

Reconcile finances. Track all event expenses, receipts and revenue. Deposit money fundraised into an authorized Special Olympics account within 5 days after the event.

Step 6

Thank supporters and sponsors. Thank, track, and continue to engage your supporters and sponsors (invite to further events).

Step 7

Evaluate event. Identify what went well and what could be improved.


  • Raise funds for Local Club activities, not for a particular athlete. Fundraising activities organized by a particular athlete or family need to be approved by the Local Club.
  • Fundraising events cannot have any direct affiliation with tobacco, cannabis, vaping or alcohol products.
  • All funds raised for Special Olympics must be used for Special Olympics activities and managed according to the financial procedures of the National/State Program.
Before organizing any fundraising events using Special Olympics logo and brand, ensure all local legal requirements are met (e.g. if a club has charitable status and/or accreditation).
The more funds your club has the more it can do in your community! Fundraising is the process that your club undertakes to secure additional funds for special activities such as events, regional/overseas trips, and new programs or projects. Here are the top 3 things to help your Club achieve its fundraising goals.

Form a Fundraising Committee

The fundraising committee serves two purposes:
  1. It ensures an ongoing focus on fundraising (the clubs that are most successful in fundraising are those that plan at least 12 months in advance), and
  2. It shares the load in terms of who is doing the work.

Develop & Maintain Relationships with Local Businesses

Potential individual and peer-to-peer funders are everywhere in your community – but you need to connect and form a relationship if you want them to support your club. Think about your club management team network, community groups or small local businesses that you could reach out to or partner with for fundraising.

Get Help from National/ State Program

There is a wide range of government or philanthropic agencies that provide grants to support the work of community service organizations such as Special Olympics clubs. You need to understand funder needs and their criteria for providing funding. Coordinate with your National/State Program for support in research and applying for grants.

It’s as simple as 1 – 2 – 3!

It’s not really. That’s why we’ve provided a more detailed walk through in the next pages…

Putting it into practice…

Below is further information on the three important aspects of managing your club’s finances.

Form a Fundraising Committee


    • What expertise, experience and connections do you need on your fundraising committee?
    • Who do you know that would be a real asset to your club’s fundraising committee?


    • Be clear & specific on what the fundraising committee will do and how they’ll do it.
    • Create a fundraising committee of people who have great skills & networks.


  • Develop a fundraising plan & regularly review fundraising activities to ensure you are getting the best value for your time and effort.

Develop & Maintain Relationships with Local Businesses


      • Who are the funders in your community?
      • How can you connect with them?
      • What’s your club’s story to inspire funders to give support?


      • Make a list of all the potential funders in your community.
      • Solicit small donations (gift cards, products)
      • Explain Special Olympics mission, share personal stories and testimonies.
      • Provide periodic updates to donors to show value added from their support.


    • Even at an early stage, start to invite people to your events, thank them, and keep them informed on club work. Fundraising is all about relationships.

    Get Help from National/State Program


      • Who can fund your club?
      • What would a funder want in return for funding your club?
      • Do you have all the info you need to engage with a potential funder?


      • National/State Program staff can support with identifying potential grant opportunities and funders and understanding their needs, restrictions and timelines
      • There might be an existing partnership at national or international level with a company in your community


    • Connect with National/State Program to get help developing a fundraising plan, researching and matching funders’ needs.

    Check the links in the next page for practical examples.


    Fundraising Fundamentals Guide by Good Sports

    Australian Sports Foundation Grassroots Fundraising Tool Kit


    • Consider participating in already established fundraising organized by your National/State Program. Check with them to learn about national or international partnerships with global companies represented in your community.
    • Never be afraid to ask. Potential donors will not give until they are asked. Invite an athlete to assist with the “ask”, or someone who knows the potential donor well.
    • Ask your National/State Program for help with putting together grant applications, fundraising submissions or presentations for potential funders.
    • Organize a silent auction, Special Olympics festival to raise awareness and fundraise for your local club.
    • Consider mainstream sports organizations, local businesses, other non-profit & inter-governmental organizations (e.g. Lions Club, Red Cross), community groups and schools as potential supporters.
    • Consider mainstream sports organizations, local businesses, other non-profit & inter-governmental organizations (e.g. Lions Club, Red Cross), community groups and schools as potential supporters.


    Find a Special Olympics National / State Program Near You

    About Special Olympics

    • Event Ideas
      • Fundraising sports activities (community runs, walks)
      • Raffles/auctions
      • Special functions(e.g. dinners, lunches and dances)
      • Auctions
    Fitness Challenges and People with ID