Research Toolkit

May 22, 2012

The research toolkit is designed to distill more than 10 years and thousands of pages of Special Olympics research data into user-friendly statistics and talking points that can be quickly integrated into a grant application, press release, letter to a policymaker, marketing brochure, or other communications piece.  Many programs have successfully used Special Olympics data to help secure funding and communicate the urgent need for Special Olympics to numerous audiences.


  • Nearly all Special Olympics athletes (more than 90%) from all countries studied benefited from increased self-esteem and self confidence after participating. 
  • There is a strong connection between Special Olympics participation and healthy physical activity. 
  • Participation in Young Athletes also benefits parents of athletes, most notably by raising expectations for their children, providing a network of support of other families with similar issues and simply giving them an opportunity to enjoy watching their children participate.

Why incorporate data into communications?

Special Olympics has many stories that illustrate its impact, but objective data can be used to strengthen these stories.  In many cases, this data can make the difference between a nice story and a winning proposal. More and more donors and partners, for example, want evidence that their investment in Special Olympics is truly making a difference. Research data gives them that evidence. The same is true for a media pitch. Journalism is a competitive environment. Reporters have many organizations providing them with information, and use of data can be an effective hook that makes a Special Olympics story stand out from others. 

Check out the program research toolkit on this site.

Info by Category

  • The Scope of Need section includes information on the attitudes and perceptions of the public towards people with intellectual disabilities and the health status of Special Olympics athletes.
  • The Scope of Special Olympics section includes demographics information on athletes and information about visibility and corporate partnering.
  • The Impact of Special Olympics section includes specifics on how Special Olympics changes the lives of its athletes, families, and the community at large.
  • The Special Olympics Initiatives section includes data on specific initiatives such as Unified Sports, Youth Athletes, and Healthy Athletes. 

What data is available?

In addition, data is presented in charts and tables that are easy and quick to read. In the online version, these charts are also available to download and can be freely used in communications.
View more information about the research toolkit in this overview presentation in PDF Format.

Advancing the Movement with Data