Careers Stories

Sr. Director – Development, Law Enforcement Torch Run


Position Overview

Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) seeks a dynamic, organized, effective leader to champion the organizations Partnership with Law Enforcement through the Law Enforcement Torch Run, generating significant revenue and public awareness for the mission and programs of SOILL.

The Senior Director – Development, Law Enforcement Torch Run will collaborate directly with senior organizational leadership to create and implement strategies to leverage Special Olympics’ partnership with Law Enforcement to raise funds and public awareness through fundraising events such as the Torch Run itself, Cop on a Rooftop, Plane Pull, golf tournaments, Tip a Cops and the Polar Plunge. Utilizing three direct reports, plus thousands of volunteer Law Enforcement officers throughout the state, this individual can expect to lead the charge for a wide variety of events year-round and be responsible for an annual revenue budget in excess of $4.4 million.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Meet or exceed annual financial goals as collectively established by the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Development Officer and Law Enforcement Torch Run leadership
  • Responsible for planning, coordinating, executing and evaluating all aspects of the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR), the single largest fundraising vehicle for Special Olympics Illinois
  • Oversee the recruitment, training and support of LETR agency/department coordinators and facilitate their orientation to the organization
  • Direct and collaborate with law enforcement representatives on local and statewide LETR fundraising events to increase revenue and participation
  • Lead efforts for a variety of revenue generating special events, including but not limited to: Plane Pull, Dunkin’ Donuts Cop on Rooftop, SUPER Plunge, Harley-Davidson motorcycle raffle
  • Coordinate and direct a variety of aspects for the LETR Polar Plunge, including marketing new initiatives, online registration and fundraising functionality, e-communications, and incentive fulfillment
  • Develop communications and collateral materials (event playbooks, toolkits, ) to support the various LETR fundraising events and initiatives
  • Collaborate with Chief Development Officer to identify, cultivate and secure new corporate sponsors for LETR and SOILL
  • Research, create and conduct presentations, as well as distribute e-communications, to a variety of internal and external groups for the purpose of educating constituents about Special Olympics Illinois and/or LETR, recruiting volunteers and new LETR departments, soliciting sponsors, conducting outreach initiatives and other assigned purposes


  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s preferred
  • 5+ years of professional experience in marketing, special events or non-profit fundraising, with demonstrated results in meeting and/or exceeding revenue goals
  • Strong background in event and volunteer management
  • Excellent planning, strategic thinking, problem solving and communications skills are essential
  • Ability to influence and engage a wide range of constituents and build long-term relationships
  • Experience managing budgets, tracking sponsor and event revenue, managing expenses and guiding event development
  • Meets all team deadlines and responsibilities, listens to others and values opinions, leads a team to meet goals, welcomes newcomers and promotes a team atmosphere
  • Ability to work independently without close oversight, but also a team player who productively engages with others at varying levels of seniority within and outside Special Olympics Illinois
  • Professional and resourceful style; the ability to take initiative and to manage multiple tasks and projects at a time
  • Excellent, adaptive computer skills including proficiency with Microsoft Office products; experience with Raiser’s Edge or other CRM platform preferred
  • High energy and passion for Special Olympics mission

Work Schedule

  • Based in the State Headquarters office in Normal, IL
  • Must have ability to travel statewide as position demands
  • Monday through Friday; position requires work and travel outside normal business hours
  • Frequent on-site management or attendance required at events, both outdoor and indoor
  • Reports to Chief Development Officer

To Apply

Duck Internship


General Responsibilities

Promotional Events

  • Assist in development of promotional schedule (concerts, festivals, sporting events, corporate events, etc.)
  • Ability to interact with event attendees, visitors, corporate staff, etc.
  • Must be comfortable handling sales function at promotional events
  • Establish communication with event volunteers if needed
  • Confirm all event details (date, time, contact information, etc.) in writing with volunteers and event staff
  • Complete event recap report
  • Prepare and send acknowledgements to volunteers and event staff
  • Serve as “Splash”, our duck mascot, at promotional events. This involves wearing branded costume and interacting with guests.

Financial Protocols

  • Prepare financial reconciliations for all duck adoptions generated by mail as well as at promotional events
  • Deposit funds as directed and transmit reports to finance department in the Normal office
  • Maintain accurate financial records in both paper and electronic formats
  • Track all personal expenses and receipts and submit expense report every other week

Other Duties

  • Data entry, mailings, mascot recruitment, costume maintenance
  • Track and report souvenir sales, keep updated inventory of merchandise and fulfill souvenir orders on a regular basis
  • Support Marketing & Development staff on an as-needed basis in other responsibilities as assigned
  • Set up sales opportunities for duck teams.

Required Qualifications

  • Strong multi-tasking and time management skills , detail oriented
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Must be comfortable handling sales function at promotional events
  • Outgoing personality, interact effectively with staff, volunteers, event attendees
  • Experience in Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook
  • Must have your own car and possess a valid driver’s license and good driving record; There will be use of company car/van at times
  • Must be comfortable driving/parking in downtown Chicago
  • Must be able to lift 40 lbs comfortably
  • Must be available some nights, weekends and for overtime if necessary

Work Schedule

  • Based out of Lombard, IL with evenings, weekends and overtime as the position demands.

How to Apply

Please submit resume and cover letter to Shelley Chenoweth Director, Corporate Partnerships, via email at, or mail to 500 Waters Edge, Suite 100, Lombard, IL.  No phone calls please.

Region B Internship


General Responsibilities

  • Assist Region Staff to plan and execute events ranging from sporting events to fundraisers. Customer service and flexibility required to promote events, assist with outreach, finance, games management and communicate with Special Olympics Illinois constituents
  • Event Management and Fundraising will be primary responsibilities for this position to assist with all sporting and fundraising events
  • Help with day-to-day office work such as filing, data entry and inventory

Required Qualifications

  • Internship must be taken for college credit
  • No experience necessary, but must be currently enrolled in or completing college or community college coursework
  • Must have a valid driver’s license
  • Must be able to lift over 40 lbs
  • Proficient in Word, Excel, Outlook and Publisher

Work Schedule

  • Start date in January through May. Full time frame is negotiable to fit hours needed for college course(s)
  • Based out of Lincolnshire, IL
  • Hours vary per week, with evenings and weekends as the position demands along with travel

How to Apply

Fill out the online application at and select “Region B Internship” when asked about “Applying for a Specific Position”.

Diversity and Inclusion Intern


This learning opportunity is intended to increase participation of minority groups who are underrepresented in the management of non-profit organizations.


  • Assist the Special Olympics Illinois program with driving diversity and inclusion initiatives through the achievement of specified goals
  • Follow Special Olympics Illinois established policies and procedures
  • Recruit eligible individuals for participation in Special Olympics as athletes and volunteers
  • Promote awareness of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their achievements through public forums


(one – two selected by intern and intern supervisor)

  • Research, secure meetings, and cultivate at least three minority volunteer groups for long-term participation
  • Research and recommend curriculum around best advertising practices targeting diverse populations
  • Research at least three potential speakers, three potential coaches, and at least three diverse athletes to lead a training on the subject of diversity and inclusion
  • Manage a training with above-mentioned speaker(s) at the July 25 – 27, 2017 Organizational Meeting in Normal, IL


  • Must have completed at least four semesters of college or community college courses
  • Experience with Special Olympics and/or therapeutic recreation, parks and recreation, sports management, marketing, event management, publication relations or other closely related field(s)
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Physical mobility required: must be able to climb stairs, assist in set-up and breakdown at events, stand and/or sit for long periods of time, lift items weighing up to 25 pounds, climb stairs to move equipment and load and unload vehicles
  • Extensive computer knowledge with Microsoft operating system and Microsoft applications
  • Ability to commute within Chicago city limits


  • Based in Chicago, IL
  • Approximately 9 hours per week with evenings and weekends as the position demands; overnight and travel required for July meeting in Normal, IL
  • Position may require intern to use school-issued materials, such as computers, library resources and copiers
  • Reports to Assistant Director – Area 3


  • Internship must be taken for a course credit
  • $11/hour
  • Non-exempt, part-time, temporary position with a culminating project and presentation


  • Send cover letter, resume, and references to by February 15, 2017; subject line should include your last name followed by “Diversity and Inclusion Internship Application”
  • Minority applicants are encouraged to apply

Key Volunteer Data Entry



  • Assist the Data Entry Department with athlete and volunteer data entry using word processing, spreadsheets and/or database commands
  • Create data directories/subdirectories for file and report generation retrieval purposes
  • Review discrepancies in data received and perform data verification in accordance with organizational procedures


  • Passion for helping individuals with special needs and/or intellectual disabilities
  • 2+ years’ experience in a similar role
  • Experience handling and processing highly confidential information
  • Database experience
  • Good critical thinking skills
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft operating systems and Microsoft applications
  • Knowledge of Excel Workbook applications
  • Close visual acuity is required; incumbents must be able to use a computer keyboard and look at a computer screen for extended periods of time


  • Unpaid, high-impact volunteer position
  • Key opportunities for impactful volunteering in other areas of the organization


  • Based out of Headquarters Office in Normal, IL
  • Reports to the Manager—Data Entry
  • Ongoing, non-temporary position
  • Flexible schedule


  • Send an email of interest and, if available, a cover letter, resume, and references to