Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more information on registration, fundraising, donations and event day details here! Still have questions? Call us at 312-527-3743 or email


1. What is the minimum amount I need to fundraise to participate?

Plungers must raise $200, while High School Plungers (18 years and younger) must raise $100 to participate and take the plunge.

2. How old do you have to be to Plunge?

While we do not have any age restrictions, participants under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian agree to the waiver, giving consent to participate.

3. Can I cancel my registration for the Chicago Polar Plunge?

Once you have signed up for the Chicago Polar Plunge, you are unable to cancel your registration. We encourage you to continue fundraising for our superstar, Special Olympics Chicago athletes.

4. How do I change my t-shirt size, wave time, and any additional information in my account?

You cannot change your t-shirt size, wave time, team, etc. from within your personal account. However, our team is happy to help! Email us at and we can edit the information for you. 

5. Can I pick up my wristband and t-shirt before the event on March 5, 2023?

Yes!  We encourage you to beat the rush and pick up your wristband and t-shirt at one of our pre-registration times!

Friday, March 3 from 3:-6:30pm

Saturday, March 4 from 10am-2pm

Sunday, March 5 from 8-10am

Location: North Avenue Beach

6. How can my friends, family and coworkers support the Chicago Polar Plunge?

There are many different ways to support the Chicago Polar Plunge, benefiting the athletes of Special Olympics Chicago. Create a team, be a corporate sponsor, volunteer and/or promote the Plunge! 

Event Day

1What time is the Chicago Polar Plunge?

Registration is open from 8:00-10:30 AM on Sunday, March 5. The speaking program begins at 9:45 AM and the first wave of plungers begins at 10:00 AM.  Please arrive at the plunge at least 30 minutes before your scheduled wave time. 

Pre Registration will be open on Friday, March 3 from 3-6 PM and Saturday, March 4 from 10-2 PM. We encourage you to pick up your wristband and t-shirt at pre-registration to skip the line on Sunday, March 5!

*Teams of 20 or more plungers are required to pick-up their wristbands and t-shirts during pre-registration

2. Where should I park?

Free parking is available at the Lincoln Park Zoo’s parking lot on Sunday, March 5. The lot is located at Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive (2400 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614). We also recommend taking CTA or being dropped off at North Avenue Beach.

3. Can I change before or after taking the Plunge?

Yes! The boathouse has restrooms available to all Plungers before and after the event, as well as changing rooms throughout the beach. Please note: Special Olympics Chicago is not responsible for lost or stolen personal belongings. Please leave all items at your own risk.

4. What should I bring with me to Plunge?

We encourage you to bring all necessary items to keep you warm and dry after you take the plunge. We recommend bringing a bag that has a warm change of clothes, shoes, and an extra towel. As far as what to wear into the water, less is better. Shoes are REQUIRED to take the plunge.

5. I am a first-time plunger. What should I expect?

Expect to have an absolute blast! You should also expect a very large crowd and lots of energy. The actual plunge is short and sweet, but you may have to wait in line before you jump in the water. No diving is permitted, as the water is too shallow. You can listen to music, buy Plunge merchandise, and mingle with thousands of fellow Plungers and spectators.

6. Is gear check available while I take the Plunge?

Please bring your bags and dry items with you as you enter the warming corrals. Our volunteers will direct you to leave your bags on a tarp. After you take the plunge and exit the water, your bags will be waiting for you right where you left it on the dry tarp. Volunteers will help you locate your bags too.

7. Will my team be able to jump in together?

Yes, we understand the importance of plunging together, but your safety is our first priority. Depending on the size of your team, your group will be able to plunge together or may need to split into smaller groups.

8. Will Chicago Polar Plunge merchandise be available for purchase at the event?

Yes, merchandise will be available on Plunge Day!

9. Is there any charge to get into the event if I am just coming to cheer on a plunger or team?

No! Spectators are welcome to attend the Chicago Polar Plunge and watch Plungers, free of charge. But, if you’d like to donate, please do so ahead of time online.

10. Is there a lost and found?

Yes! The lost and found will be located in the Registration Tent.

11. What is the event cancellation policy?

We reserve the right to delay, shorten, or in rare circumstances, cancel the event due to inclement weather or a natural disaster. The safety of participants, spectators, and volunteers is always our first priority. Staff will consult the local weather and law enforcement to ensure conditions are safe for the event. We will make all possible attempts by email, website, and social media to inform participants of any updates.


1. What do I do with cash and check donations?

To make an offline donation by mail, please clearly print your information on THIS FORM and send it to:

Special Olympics Chicago

2 E 8 Street

Suite 2M

Chicago, IL 60605

2. Who should checks be made out to?

Checks should be made out to Special Children's Charities. Use our offline donation form, which includes the name of the Individual Plunger or Team so we can log the donation to the correct page. 

3. Does Special Olympics Chicago issue refunds?

Charitable contributions are non-refundable. Even in the case of a no-show Plunger, all donations are considered charitable contributions, therefore, are also non-refundable.

4. How do I get my donation matched?

Check to see if your company matches gifts to Special Olympics Chicago by reaching out to your Human Resources department. Donate online, by check, or cash and be sure to get a tax-deductible receipt as proof of your donation. Obtain a matching gift form from your company’s Human Resources office. Complete the donor and gift information portion of the matching gift form and send it to:

Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities

2 E 8 Street

Suite 2M

Chicago, IL 60605

EIN: 23-7026774 OR email

5. What is a donation with an “unverified” status and how does it affect my fundraising?

An “unverified” donation is a donation that someone intends on giving you but we have not received it yet (usually cash/checks).  Once we receive the cash/checks, we verify them and they show up in your thermometer total.  Another type of “unverified” donation may be a corporate matching gift where one of your donors has answered that they work for a company that will match their donation.  It does NOT mean that they have submitted it.  Once we receive a confirmation that the match has been submitted, we will verify it.  So, if you have an unverified matching gift in your donations, encourage your donor(s) to submit their match! …. they can email their confirmation to and we will get it verified so it will count towards your total!

Fundraising: Individuals & Team Members

1. Can I join a team after I register?

If you’d like to move your individual fundraising page to another team, email us at and we would be happy to help! 

2. How do I customize my individual fundraising page?

Login to your account. In the upper right-hand corner, click on the "My Fundraising Tools" dropdown menu. Select "Edit My Page" and begin making changes to your individual fundraising page. You can also click on the "Edit My Page" button in the lower left hand corner.

3. Can I invite friends, family and supporters to join me at the Plunge via QGiv?

If you want friends, family and supporters to join your team and participate in the 2023 Chicago Polar Plunge presented by Jackson, share your team fundraising link with them! They can "Join Your Team" directly from the page and be guided to register under your campaign.  

4. How do I promote my campaign on social networks?

Utilize the resources within your QGiv account! QGiv makes it easy to share your fundraiser on Facebook & Twitter, as well as send a fundraising email to potential team members and donors.

5. Can I access reports with my donor’s information to thank them?

Login in to your account. In the upper right hand corner, click on the "My Fundraising Tools" dropdown menu. Click on "Donation Center" to view all of your donors, their donation amount and have the option to contact them.