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Frequently Asked Questions about Supporting Special Olympics

Thank you for your support of Special Olympics. Because of your support, more athletes with intellectual disabilities around the world are discovering the power of sports to change their lives.

Note: The questions and answers on this page apply to donations made in the United States. For answers to questions regarding donations made outside the United States, please contact the Special Olympics regional office nearest you.

Will I get a receipt for my donation?

Yes. When you make your donation online, you will see a confirmation page and receive an email confirmation, either one of which may be used as an official receipt (sometimes you may have to check your Junk folder to retrieve the receipt). If you mail in your contribution, we will send you a confirmation letter which you can expect within 2 – 3 weeks of your contribution. If you have any questions, please contact our Donor Services Department at 1-800-380-3071, or If you made your donation outside North America, please contact the Special Olympics regional office nearest you.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Special Olympics, Inc. is recognized as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 100% of your donation is tax-deductible. Our Federal Tax ID number or Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 52-0889518. Donations made outside the United States may not be tax deductible.

My donation has not processed. Why?

If your donation failed after completing the transaction, it is likely that information provided, such as the credit card identification number or address did not match exactly with what is on file at your bank. For further assistance, you may contact our Donor Services Department at 1-800-380-3071, or For a quicker response, please have the details of your transaction ready when you contact us.

How can I update my information or preferences?

If you would like to discontinue receiving mail from Special Olympics or receive less mail, please fill out this form. You may also contact our Donor Services Department at 1-800-380-3071, or and let us know about any changes to your information and preferences on how we communicate with you. In order for us to locate your record and expedite the changes you have requested, please be sure to provide complete information such as address or name we would have on file. Though we process the changes you request right away, please note that due to our production schedule it may take up to 6 – 8 weeks for your request to take effect in the mail.

How can I be sure you are using my support wisely?

How much of my donation goes to support program activities? Special Olympics strives to operate as efficiently as possible. A significant portion of our revenue comes from a broad base of donors, $10 and $20 dollars at a time. Every contribution makes an important difference. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, more people with intellectual disabilities have a chance to participate and experience the transformative powers of sports. More than 80 percent of our expenditures go to supporting program activities—including supporting local training and competition, developing education materials for our volunteer coaches, outreach to recruit more athletes, family support, and much more. Maintaining these high standards is a priority at Special Olympics. Learn more about our gift policy standards.

What credit cards does Special Olympics accept? How can I be sure my donation secure?

We accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa. Special Olympics takes every precaution to protect our donors’ information, please refer to our privacy policy. Companies we work with to process credit card transactions are among the most reputable in the field, trusted by major charities. SSL encryption and certificate services are utilized for communicating potentially sensitive data over the Internet. This method is the industry standard security protocol, which makes it extremely difficult for anyone else to intercept the credit card information you send to us. In addition to maintaining privacy and security controls over information you share with us, Special Olympics works to accurately process your contribution information. During business hours (M – F, 8:30am – 5pm ET) our Donor Services staff is available to answer questions about your financial donation at 1-800-380-3071, or

Can I donate in honor or memory of someone? Will you send a tribute card to the recipient?

Yes, donating in someone’s name is a meaningful way to celebrate a friend or remember a loved one. You can enter information in the “Donate in Tribute” section of this secure online donation form. Special Olympics will mail an embossed card to the honoree or their family letting them know that you made a donation to honor them. Cards are processed each business day but please allow 1 – 2 weeks for your honoree’s card to arrive in the mail. You can also choose to notify your honoree by sending them an ECard designed by Special Olympics athlete Andrew Weatherly.

Can I become a monthly contributor to Special Olympics?

Absolutely! Monthly giving is one of the best ways you can support Special Olympics, providing a reliable revenue stream for trainings and competitions. You can sign up using this secure online form. Your first donation will be processed right away and then each month on approximately the same date. You will receive confirmation when your contribution was processed. If you would like to make any changes to your monthly donation at any point or have any questions about monthly giving, please use the form below to request the changes or contact our Donor Services Department at 1-800-380-3071, or

Does Special Olympics accept a planned gift from a will, trust, or beneficiary designation?

Yes! Special Olympics accepts a wide range of planned or legacy gifts from individuals including bequests, charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts, and retirement assets. Making a planned gift to Special Olympics helps ensure our ability to respond to the challenges we will face in the future. To learn more about the various ways you can include Special Olympics as a part of your estate plan, please contact the Office of Bequests and Estate Gifts toll-free 1 (866) 690-3951 or at You may also visit our gifts and estate planning information on our website.

I would like to get more involved with Special Olympics, how can I do that?

Whether you are looking for a way to play sports, be inspired or have an impact in your community, getting involved with Special Olympics is a great way to have fun and give back. Please contact the Special Olympics office nearest you.

Will Special Olympics accept a matching gift from my company?

You can double or triple your support of Special Olympics athletes through your company's matching gift program. Find out if your company is among the thousands that will match your donation to Special Olympics, allowing your contribution to increase opportunity for exponentially more athletes with intellectual disabilities than you could imagine. You may also visit your personnel office to ask if they match charitable donations, obtain a matching gift form, fill it out completely and mail it along with your contribution to:

Special Olympics
Attn: Donor Development
2600 Virginia Avenue NW
11th Floor
Washington, DC 20037

Can I donate a vehicle to Special Olympics?

Yes, you can donate your car, truck, boat, motorcycle, SUV or even plane. Your generosity qualifies for a tax deduction and we’ll do all the heavy lifting. Call (888) 828-0022 or click here to get started!

I want to make a donation to sponsor someone in a local event, like a Polar Plunge®, but I don’t see the option for that on your donation page. How can I make sure my contribution is correctly credited to the event participant?

Most Special Olympics fundraising events like Polar Plunges® are managed locally, rather than through the International headquarters, and often there are special web pages set up specifically for Polar Plunges® and other pledge fundraisers. Please find a state program website to see whether they have an event donation page.

What is the Winners Circle?

The Special Olympics Winners Circle is our recognition society for donors contributing gifts of $100 or more. After an initial $100+ contribution, additional gifts made within the current Winners Circle year (July – June) are cumulative, with six different recognition levels.

$100-249 – Bronze
$250-499 – Silver
$500-999 – Gold
$1,000-$1,967 – Circle of Honor
$1,968-$4,999 – 1968 Team
$5,000+ – Leadership Circle

All Winners Circle members receive a Certificate of Appreciation. We hope you display it proudly because it signifies your compassion and leadership. At the Silver Level and above, you will also receive a beautifully detailed Lapel Pin and other benefits specific to your level of giving.

Why didn’t my gift count towards my Winners Circle membership?

Some gifts such as donations to special events like Polar Plunges and other local fundraising efforts are not currently included. Also, keep in mind our Winners Circle year is not the same as a calendar year. Rather, we use a July – June year so that year-end gifts—which for many donors are the largest—are included in your cumulative annual giving totals for more than just a few days! For further assistance, you may contact our Donor Services Department at 1-800-380-3071, or

Can I donate to Special Olympics through my Donor Advise Fund (DAF)?

Yes! A donor advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving program that allows you to combine the most favorable tax benefits with the flexibility to support your favorite causes. Your financial advisor, or fund manager, can help you get started recommending a grant to Special Olympics. Your fund manager handles all record-keeping, disbursements, and tax receipts. You can also use the convenient DAF link on this page and log in to your account to begin.

Can I donate to Special Olympics through my IRA via a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD)?

Yes! You can transfer funds from your IRA directly to Special Olympics. This is an effective way to have an immediate impact on creating a world of acceptance and inclusion. You may use this gift to satisfy the required minimum distribution from your IRA while reducing your taxable income, even if you don’t itemize. Visit this page to learn more.

I have a question about donating to Special Olympics that was not answered on this page.

Please contact our Donor Services Department at 1-800-380-3071, or To help us answer your inquiry, please provide your complete information and how we can reach you. If you have a general question, comment, or suggestion, please contact us via