The Chicago Polar Plunge presented by Jackson may seem far off, but now is the perfect time to get started on fundraising!

3 months (December)

  • Instead of presents for the holidays, ask your family and friends to contribute to your Chicago Polar Plunge fundraising page or ask them to join your team and take the Plunge with you!

2 months (January)

  • Host a virtual fundraising event: Plan an event or activity where all your current and potential donors can come together and support your fundraising efforts. You can host a virtual bingo game, trivia night, or cocktail party. Ask your friends and family to donate to attend your event.
  • Send thank-you cards. Because supporters will be donating to your campaign at different times, don't forget to thank them promptly! Handwritten notes send a more personal message, letting your donors know you took the time to thank them.
  • Utilize matching gift programs. Matching gifts are an easy way to double or even triple your fundraising dollars! Check to see if your company matches gifts to Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children's Charities by reaching out to your Human Resources department. Check out the Matching Gift section for more information on where to send donations.

1 month (February)

  • Follow up with your contacts. Send a friendly reminder to anyone on your list who has not responded to your emails/letters. Include any updates to keep your donors aware and engaged. Continue to post on your social media platforms!
  • Ask your friends and family to forward your fundraising letter to their own networks. You can even give a small prize to the person who helped you get the most donations. Having smaller, internal incentives for your donors can encourage them to share and donate even more! 
    • Get a $5 Starbucks card and put supporters who donated more than $10 in a raffle to win.
    • Venmo your top donor "Coffee on me today! Thanks for donating to my cause!" 
    • Feature a family member or friend who donated to social media with a special shout-out.

Post-event (March–April)

  • Send thank-you notes. Send personal messages or emails to all of your donors, thanking them for helping you reach your goal and furthering Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children's Charities' mission of providing athletes with intellectual disabilities more opportunities. Share your experience–including your fundraising total and pictures of you/your team Plunging–from our free photo download link.


  • Stay organized! Keep good records of all offline donations (checks or cash) before sending them to Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children's Charities. That way, you will have an accurate and up-to-date record of both your online and offline donations. 
  • Check out our printable Offline Donation Form under the Resources Tab, available for supporters who would like to donate offline via check, money order, or credit card.