This guide is intended to help start a Polar Plunge from scratch. A Polar Plunge is a complex event to start, manage and maintain. This guide includes helpful editable documents. They are a great resource that should be used to assist in planning and managing the Plunge.
If you have any questions or need help setting up your Polar Plunge, please email Susan Doggett or 704-358-1935 ext 160.
How to have a successful Polar Plunge: This document is the most comprehensive document available to you.
Learn how to:
- Find a location
- Pick a date
- Recruit Polar Plungers
- Manage the Plunge
Create a venue layout specific to your chosen location. Give a copy to the person in charge of the facility. This will help them better understand where you plan to have everything the day of the Plunge. Make sure you make a site visit before you create the venue layout. This gives you the opportunity to meet key staff and get a lay of the land.
Make sure to hand these to friends, family, co-workers, classmates, etc. Consider posting the flyer at your local YMCA or other gym.
- Sample virtual flyer: Please note that this customizable flyer will appear blank upon opening. To see the design, you must go to “File,” then click “Save As.” Choose “Download a Copy.” The graphic will be in the header section and should not be changed or altered. You will customize the information in the text box at the bottom of the page.
- Sample in-person Plunge flyers
The first thing that needs to happen is to form a Polar Plunge volunteer committee. The committee chairman should assign people to key positions. Everyone should have a specific responsibility.
View these spreadsheets outlining the committees:
Make sure to display flyers on your registration table the day of the event. Special Olympics North Carolina always needs volunteers! Also, have a volunteer interest sign-up sheet at the registration table. Consider having an iPad on site where potential volunteers can easily sign-up on the Special Olympics North Carolina website.
Seeking Prizes or Giveaways
It is important to keep a detailed list of all of the businesses you have visited asking for donations and prizes.
Once you know what prizes you have, make a detailed list of the prizes. Go ahead and ask your committee to help you decide how prizes will be distributed at the Polar Plunge. Will you do a raffle? What competitions will you have at the Polar Plunge?
Equipment and Logistics Planning
Create a detailed schedule of the day to help keep organized. This is helpful to you and your committee in lead up to and at the Polar Plunge.
Make sure to have all necessary equipment and supplies. During your site visit, scout where things like restrooms, changing rooms, electrical outlets, trash cans, etc. are located. Try to think of everything you might need.
There are important documents that you will need for your Plunge:
- Copies of venue layouts
- Volunteer opportunities flier
- Registration sheets (include name, phone, email, team name, amount donated)
- Logistics schedule
- Equipment list
- List of donors
- Emcee script (have at least 3 copies)
- Volunteer interest sign up sheet
- List of prizes
It is important to remember every participant’s safety during a Polar Plunge. Best Practices for your Polar Plunge outlines some best practices to keep your participants safe while having an amazing time and raising funds.
Marketing the Polar Plunge
Here you will find an outline of all the materials included in the 2023 Polar Plunge Season Toolkit for both in-person and virtual Polar Plunges. Local programs who are hosting in-person Plunges this year should refer to the In-Person Plunge Materials. Local programs who are only partaking in the Virtual Polar Plunge should refer to the Virtual Plunge Materials. All local programs should utilize the unique Classy links.
- Logos – This folder includes Polar Plunge logos only for local programs that filled out the form and indicated they would be having a virtual or in-person Polar Plunge. If you did not fill out the form, but would like to have a logo, please let me know.
- Unique Classy Links for Local Programs – This spreadsheet has two tabs, one for in-person Plunges and one for virtual Plunges. Double check that you are copying your Program’s link and not a Program next to it.
- In-Person Plunge Materials – Below is a list of what is included in this folder:
- Overall In-Person Plunge Toolkit
- Email copy and graphics
- Social media copy and graphics
- Virtual Plunge Materials – Below is a list of what is included in this folder:
- Overall Virtual Plunge Toolkit
- Customizable flyer template: Please note that customizable flyer will appear blank upon opening. To see the design, you must go to “File,” then click “Save As.” Choose “Download a Copy.” The graphic will be in the header section and should not be changed or altered. You will customize the information in the text box at the bottom of the page.
- Email copy and graphics
- Social media copy and graphics
During the Plunge
- Set up equipment
- Test electronics
- Rally the troops (aka volunteers)
- Make sure everyone understands their role
- As manager, don’t try to do everything
- Rely on your volunteers
- Be prepared to answer questions and deal with concerns from volunteers and participants
- Have a closing ceremony (refer to the DJ script)
- Give out prizes
- Say your final thank you’s (refer to the DJ script)
- Thank your volunteers
- Make sure you clean up and leave the facility as you found it
After The Plunge
It is important to follow up with thank you emails to your Plunge participants, donors, and your volunteer committee. The Polar Plunge is not possible without all of these people.
When emailing your volunteer committee, make sure to ask them how they think the event went. Do they have suggestions of what could be done better? What do they think went well? Their feedback is crucial to ensure that next year’s Plunge will be even better!
Keep in touch with local businesses that supported your Plunge by donating gift cards, prizes, etc.
You will need to have a strong relationship with local businesses for future Polar Plunges. Some of these businesses may even become sponsors or help with other Special Olympics events.
If you already know the date of next year’s Polar Plunge, go ahead and notify the facility of your intent to reserve the space for next year.
It is important to build and have a strong relationship with the facility. Consider giving key contacts at the facility a thank you gift. For example, give a Polar Plunge t-shirt or a framed photo collage of the Polar Plunge.