FAQs

Event Questions:

What is the Polar Plunge?

The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge is a unique opportunity for individuals, organizations and businesses to support Special Olympics athletes by jumping into Illinois’ icy waters.  In 2022, Special Olympics Illinois will be hosting their annual Polar Plunge with options to Plunge OUR Way or Plunge YOUR Way.

How old do you have to be to Plunge?

There is no age requirement to participate in the Polar Plunge. Young children are welcome to participate, but that decision is left to the sole discretion of the child’s parent or guardian.  For individuals under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must agree to the Terms and Conditions during the online registration process and/or sign the event participant waiver.

What is the minimum amount that I need to raise to participate in the event?

All Plungers must raise a minimum of $100.

What incentives are available to participants who raise more than the minimum $100?

Incentives will be available for Plungers at the $250, $500 and $1,000 fundraising thresholds. Check back soon for more information.

What is a Plunge OUR Way?

Again this year, it is not WHERE you plunge, or HOW you plunge, but THAT you plunge! If you choose to Plunge OUR Way, you will be attending one of the many in-person Polar Plunges hosted directly by Special Olympics Illinois. For more information about Plunge OUR Way, click here.

What is a Plunge YOUR Way?

Taking the Plunge YOUR Way can be a snowball or water balloon fights at home; hosting a (safe) gathering with friends, family, or coworkers; or something we haven’t even thought of yet. Either way you choose to Plunge, it is so COOL that you have committed to be bold and get cold for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois! For more information about Plunge YOUR Way, click here.

Please note, Plunge Your Way plungers will also sign up via the registration page for their local Plunge. You will have the option to select which WAY you will Plunge during registration. *Please be safe with your Plunge Your Way choices. Special Olympics Illinois is not responsible for any injuries that occur while participating in the Plunge Your Way option. Learn more here.*

Are the Plunge incentives or sweatshirts available for purchase?

We do not sell any of our Plunge incentives because we feel it is a privilege for those who participate and have earned the various incentive levels.

What is your refund policy?

Donations made to the Polar Plunge are charitable contributions and nonrefundable.

When and how will I receive my sweatshirt?

All plungers who raise $100 will receive a 2022 Polar Plunge sweatshirt. Plungers who reach their $100 minimum by the Guaranteed Sweatshirt Deadline for their specific plunge will have the opportunity to pick up their sweatshirts the week of the Plunge OUR Way events. All other participants will receive their sweatshirt in April.

Plunge DateGuaranteed Sweatshirt Deadline
Feb 19 – 20, 2022January 31, 2022
Feb 26 – 27, 2022February 7, 2022
March 5 – 6, 2022February 14, 2022
March 12 – 13, 2022February 21, 2022
March 19 – 20, 2022February 28, 2022

How do I submit offline donations?

  • For cash donations under $100, plungers should deposit the cash into their bank account and make a donation via their Donor Drive fundraising page.
  • For cash donations over $100, plungers should exchange donations into a money order or cashier check. Then complete this Offline Donation Tracking Form and mail it along with the money order to the address below. Ensure you include complete donor information so that a tax letter can be sent to your donor.
  • Check donations should be mailed along with a completed Offline Donation Tracking Form to the address below:

Mail offline donations to:

Special Olympics Illinois
Attn: Polar Plunge
605 East Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

I have a donor who wants to write a check. Who should they make it payable to?

All checks should be made payable to Special Olympics Illinois. Donations of $100 with complete donor information will receive a tax letter from Special Olympics Illinois.

I have a group of people that want to Plunge together. Can we form a team?

Yes! Forming a team is a great way to motivate one another to raise more money for Special Olympics Illinois. When registering, select the “Create a Team” option.

Can my team still plunge together?

Teams can decide whether to Plunge OUR Way or Plunge YOUR Way together or a hybrid of both! We encourage all participants to adhere to CDC and IDHP guidelines when gathering in groups.

Participant Account:

How do I register via the online system?

Click here to view our step-by-step registration instructions.

Do all team members’ need to register online?

Yes. All plungers must register online. Individuals under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian with them when they register as they must agree to our Terms and Conditions and/or sign and return the event participant waiver prior to plunging. If you are unable to register online, please contact your local Plunge Director for offline registration options

I accidentally registered twice. What should I do?

In order to properly track your online donations, it is best that you only have one online registration record per Plunge location.  If you accidentally registered twice, contact your Plunge Director or email polarplunge@soill.org.  Please include your Plunge location, the two email addresses you registered under and which of those accounts you would like to keep. We will take care of the issue and email you back once the correction has been made.

I forgot my username and/or password, what do I do?

Your username is the email address you used during registration. If you do not remember what email you used, contact your Plunge Director or email polarplunge@soill.org with your full name and past Plunge location.  If you forgot your password, utilize the Forgot Password option under the Login section of your fundraising page.

Can team members share an online donation?

Donations made online cannot be split between team members.

How do I find my friend’s Plunge page to make a donation?

You can search for Plungers by utilizing our Support a Plunger feature.

Will I be able to see pictures from the Plunge online after the event?

Yes! Pictures and videos received from Plungers will be view-able from our Special Olympics Illinois Flickr account.

How do I send emails to ask for donations, ask others to join my team or thank donors?

The Message Center tool through our Plunge system can be helpful, but we can’t guarantee that the email won’t go to your recipient’s spam folder. To be sure your emails are being received, we recommend you send requests through your own personal email account.

If you prefer to use the Plunge website: Log into your account by visiting your fundraising page and clicking Login in the top right corner. Select Messages in the top toolbar.  Here you can send emails out asking for a donation, thank a donor for supporting your efforts or create a personalized email. Choose or enter email addresses, edit the default text however you’d like, then Send Email. Again, please be aware that the emails can sometimes go to recipients’ spam/junk folders.

I don’t want to use the online fundraising program. Can I still participate?

Yes! While we encourage you to register online, but individuals are able to register for the Polar Plunge offline by completing this Offline Registration Form. This form along with a minimum of $100 in donations must be received by Special Olympics Illinois no later than March 21.

Offline Registration paperwork, waiver and donations should be mailed to:

Special Olympics Illinois
Attn: Polar Plunge/ participant’s name
605 East Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

If mailing donations, make sure to exchange all cash into a money order.  Also, make sure to complete and include an Offline Donation Tracking Form so we can be sure to credit your efforts correctly.  Any questions please contact your Plunge Director or email polarplunge@soill.org.

Donation & Fundraising Questions:

Who should checks be written out to?

Checks can be written out to Special Olympics Illinois or SOILL.

Are donations tax deductible?

Yes! Our tax ID/EIN number is 36-2922811.

How do I track my offline donations?

We have created an Offline Donation Tracking form to help you track your cash and check donations. Don’t forget to record all your donor information (name, address, city, state, zip) so that we can issue a tax letter.

My company offers matching gifts. How does that work towards my total?

Matching gifts are a great way to raise additional funds for your Plunge. As long as we receive the matching gift paperwork BEFORE the donation deadline (March 21, 2022), you will receive credit for the donation towards your fundraising total and incentive levels.

Follow the steps below to see if your gift is eligible for a matching gift:

  • Check our matching gift list to see if your company matches gifts to Special Olympics Illinois and review the guidelines. If you don’t see your company listed, reach out to your Human Resources office to see if they offer a matching gift program.
  • Donate online, by check or cash and make sure to get a gift receipt as proof of your donation. Individuals looking to donate to the Polar Plunge can do so at plungeillinois.com.
  • There are two common ways to submit the matching gift request:
    • Click on your company’s intranet link provided in the search results on our page. Log-in and submit your request electronically.
    • Download your company’s matching gift verification form using the link provided in the search results. Print it, fill it out and send it to us at:

Special Olympics Illinois
Attn: Matching Gifts
605 East Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

*For assistance with online matching, email us at matchinggifts@soill.org

Will my supporters automatically receive a receipt or do I need to request one?

Special Olympics Illinois automatically generates receipts for anyone who contributes $100 or more by check, money order, or cash and for whom we have complete and accurate contact information (name and mailing address).  You can track and submit your offline donor information by using this Tracking Sheet. All donations that are made online via credit card automatically receive a donation receipt via email for any amount.  For offline donations that are less than $100, please provide one yourself by using our downloadable Donor Receipts Form.

Can I utilize social media or other fundraising platforms to raise funds towards my Plunge efforts?

All online fundraising should be done through the provided Fundraising Page created during the registration process. *Funds raised through third-party pages (Go Fund Me, Facebook Donations, etc.) cannot be credited towards your fundraising efforts* due to a lack of information provided by those companies when distributing funds raised.

I can’t collect all my donations before the Plunge. What do I do?

As long as you have the minimum $100 by the time of the Plunge, you’ll be able to Plunge with us.  Any donations received by March 21, 2022 will be applied to your fundraising efforts and go towards receiving your Plunge Incentives.  To submit donations after the event please complete this Offline Donation Tracking Form and mail items to:

Special Olympics Illinois
Attn: Polar Plunge
605 East Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

*Please be safe with your Plunge YOUR Way choices. Special Olympics Illinois is not responsible for any injuries that occur while participating in the Plunge Your Way option. Learn more here.*