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Building Deep Inclusion through Awareness

Nonprofit Marketing Case Study

Project Summary

During this project, we worked with stakeholders at one of the most recognized nonprofit brands in the world to shape messaging with integrated content and communications services.

The Market

Beyond Support Services

An estimated 117,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live in Washington state. Critical support, from healthcare to employment, falls to a team of family, educators, and medical professionals. True inclusion is about more than support services, though. It's about driving quality of life through achievement and shared experiences.

The Client

Special Olympics is the leading advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Washington State. It offers a vital path to building fulfilling, purposeful lives on, and off the field-of-play.

The Challenge

Bridging the Awareness Gap

Every year, Speical Olympics Washington needs to activate thousands of public and private partners, volunteers, donors, and advocates to deliver statewide programming. Being able to tell a story about how that participation impacts its constituents' lives, communicating their struggles as well as their successes, in a compelling manner is a critical aspect of bringing them all to the table.

The Strategy

Bridging the Communications Gap

Our strategy would create an authentic connection between the organization's patrons and its constituents through storytelling that featured athletes achievements and resources that powered them.

Aggregating Many Voices

As a nonprofit, Special Olympics communications leader worked with a range of internal resources, as well as independent contractors and agencies over the years . It wanted a nonprofit marketing team that could deliver best-in-class capabilities without the massive commitment of resources it took to manage them.

Catalyst's integrated marketing solution was a perfect fit. Our project team included strategic, creative, technical, and operations support ranging from graphic design retainers to project-based communications support. Our range of capabilities allowed the organization to spend more time executing on its mission and less managing service providers.

A Unique Project-Based Service Stack


Our team developed brand materials for the organization itself as well as a range of events, from seasonal competitions to annual fundraisers. The assets have been used to align messaging across various departments, sub-chapters, community partners, and media organizations.


We have scoped and developed thousands of creative materials communicating the organization's mission and principles, core programs, and calls-to-action. They include static and rich media like graphics, videos, webinars, pitch decks, and more.


Our digital marketing support has included custom website design, development, and maintenance, PPC advertising, and a range of consulting services. Our work helped integrate and bring its online marketing efforts up to speed with current technology.


We embedded with the organization to shape and deliver messaging through social media, email marketing, and public relations channels. Work included managing the organization's editorial calendar and more focused campaign-based initiatives.


Our team supported the organizations most high-profile yearly fundraising campaigns with retail and wild posting. Other direct mail and street campaigns helped drive tactical goals such as volunteer and athlete recruitment.


Catalyst's integrated project team embedded within the organization. During that time, we collaborated directly with department heads as well as dozens of other organizational stakeholders and partners.

The project team, led by a dedicated project manager, facilitated managed services, as well as tactical, and agency-of-record relationships. They included ongoing collaboration through regular sprint meetings, chat, email, and video conferencing.


A Half Decade Partnership

Catalyst worked in-depth with Special Olympic Washington to grow awareness of the organization's mission and drive its three most important KPIs: Participation, volunteers, and donations.


Tactical campaigns supporting events and competitions


Unique communications delivered to multiple audiences


Raised in marketing supported fundraisers and initiatives

"The Catalyst team is amazing to work with. They're responsive, invested in our success and always able to provide insightful feedback on our overall communications strategy."


Jaymelina Esmele

Director of Marketing

Related Work See All Work

Continuing a 50 Year US Youth Soccer Legacy

Washington Youth Soccer knew that success was about more than fulfilling its mission. It meant shaping a compelling story about it's value, impact, and benefit.

Life Lessons Developed on the Links

To grow, The First Tee needed to communicate the value of sports mentorship for young people. It meant telling real stories from the course.

Building Deep Inclusion through Awareness

As one of the state's largest nonprofits, Special Olympics Washington had a lot to say, but needed to keep a managable internal communications footprint.

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