Strategies to Re-engage Athletes and Volunteers

Track athlete running

Special Olympics North Dakota

Client’s Industry: Non-profit

Client: Special Olympics North Dakota

Client Challenge

Since the onset of the pandemic, Special Olympics North Dakota (SOND) has experienced a significant decline in athlete participation, volunteer engagement, and coaching staff involvement. The purpose of this study is to better understand the reasons behind the hesitation of athletes and volunteers to return, explore ways to increase participation, evaluate current public awareness of SOND, and identify potential areas for improvement. SOND is dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities through sports training and competition.


Prime46 conducted and administered two online surveys to gather feedback from families, volunteers associated with SOND, and athletic directors from across the state of North Dakota. The surveys remained open for a duration of two weeks, and the collected responses were carefully analyzed to identify key themes and review verbatim comments.


This case study examines the challenges faced by SOND in maintaining athlete participation and community engagement during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Impact of the Pandemic
    • We diagnosed the results to determine the reasons for decreased participation and provided options for increasing participation.
  2. Improved Communication
    • We enhanced communication channels that helped bridge the gap between SOND and athletes/volunteers.
  3. Increase Coaching Staff
    • We found solutions that would help SOND expand their volunteer network.
  4. Community Awareness
    • We helped acknowledge the lack of awareness and general interest within local communication about volunteer opportunities in SOND.


To revitalize athlete participation and community engagement, SOND must understand the reasons for decreased participation and implement effective strategies. This includes enhancing communication, expanding sports offerings, and being responsive to stakeholder suggestions. By doing so, SOND can empower individuals with intellectual disabilities, promote inclusivity, and create a strong sense of belonging within the community. These actions will contribute to the revitalization of SOND, ensuring athletes feel valued, supported, and motivated to actively participate in the organization’s programs and events.

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