There was an event outside the pandemic, across the country and around the world, almost every hour of the year. We not only had to make changes to keep our athletes safe but also to keep the community strong.
Crystal Hudson, director of digital fundraising and strategy for the Special Olympics, refers to the community of adults and children with learning disabilities who have participated in training and competition programs sponsored by non-profit organizations and health and athletics organizations. Founded in 1968 and perhaps best known for its Paralympic World Cup (not to be confused with the Paralympic Games).
We wanted to know how Special Olympics is adapted to serve that community digitally and what Martech tools are included in the toolbox.
New programs and new channels
One of the initiatives was the launch of online fitness programs, such as the School of Strength, in partnership with WWE. “It allows athletes to visit our site, watch videos, and exercise to stay healthy during that time.”
Efforts have also been made to create competitive virtual opportunities. “Some programs create virtual online games,” he said, “ways to measure a person’s output during certain activities and compare them to other athletes.”
Prior to the pandemic, personal involvement in local and international gambling events was personal. Digital engagement focused on website and email. “The site is the most centralized place for parents, coaches, athletes, supporters, and people looking for general information about our movement,” Hudson said.
Brightspot as a platform par excellence
The relationship between the Special Olympics and the Brightspot lasted several years, with David Gang and Lisa Beaudoin, co-founders of the Brightspot, strongly supporting the movement. In 2018, it was decided to improve the digital presence of the organization and transform the website into Brightspot Content Business Platform, a headless CMS (disabled).
“We redesigned the design, migrated the site – it was a lot of work, but it brought a lot of benefits,” he said. ‘We have a faster website, the loading time of our pages is much better. Before [Brightspot], we were not on a Google-compatible platform and increased our search traffic. The ability to publish content quickly: we have access to away. the news answers that we have never been able to do it before.
Special Olympics’ main site serves the global community, but in the US, local programs have their own sites. “We integrate with them; and we offer the opportunity to host Special Olympics, in partnership with Brightspot, and provide the same platform for our programs. The Special Olympics in Tennessee and Virginia took advantage of this.
Improving the web experience is a journey, not a destination. “We also redesigned and installed the system. It helps us every year, not only with the current website, but also to create new initiatives. We work together to launch the World Game websites.”
Contact us via social networks
Access to social networks also plays an important role in community engagement. The Hudson team works with the social media team to identify postings used by the community on social channels, which can then be reflected in the content of the website. (Both teams are part of the marketing and communications organization.)
“The things we put on the site are promoted through social promotion so people can learn more about our new initiatives,” Hudson said. ‘School of Strength was a perfect combination of two things: videos, quotes from WWE superstars, quotes from athletes who did it, with whom we share and come back, and he was an excellent traffic manager for the construction site.
Special Olympics selected Falcon.io for marketing and analysis on social media.
The journey of the donor and the volunteer
Hudson is also responsible for digital fundraising. Donors and volunteers are recruited through paid surveys and paid social and community services in their native language. “Go to a show, we will teach you about our movement and we will keep you involved in what we do at events – not locally; we will try to help you get in touch with your local show and find out what’s going on.
The Special Olympics changed a few games later. “We motivate people to volunteer, attend events or simply support events through donations.”
Hudson recently adopted a new solution to feed their audience, EveryAction, a CRM with targeted email features that also offer dedicated Olympic sites. EveryAction focuses on non-profit organizations and specializes in donor management.
“Come back to play”
“Everyone’s playing again,” Hudson says. “But we have to be safe, we have to make sure the athletes feel safe and stay healthy.”
The workouts carry out their individual plans, but the schedule remains unpredictable, of course. “Until then, we were absolutely committed to keeping athletes healthy through our online programs.”