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Embedded Nonprofit Marketing Case Study.

Special Olympics Washington (SOWA) is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported entirely by individual, corporate and foundation contributions. Athletes participate at no cost to themselves or their families. More than 17,000 athletes participate in SOWA activities, and more than 8,000 volunteers give their time to the organization.

SOWA relies on its marketing efforts to increase athlete participation as well as the volunteerism and charitable contributions that fuel its mission. But the organization needed help doing this more effectively, in a way that both respected the needs of the various stakeholders and that remained in keeping with the organization’s overall marketing strategy and standards.


Trust is the single most important asset nonprofit organizations have. Your brand and word marks are important symbols of that trust and the more they’re diluted, the less likely donors and volunteers are to work with you. To help SOWA maintain the organization’s unique relationship with athletes, donors, and sponsors across nine state territories and hundreds of localized groups, 1205 build a brand book defining each component of the SOWA brand in detail.


Embedded marketing strategies can help deliver consistent video content without committing to a full production budget.

Hosting four yearly state games another four major fundraising events, sponsor callouts, athlete spotlights and more Special Olympics Washington has never short on stories to tell. Like most organizations without an onsite studio however building high quality video content into the organization’s marketing mix had always been a challenge.

1205 worked with SOWA to create a framework for consistently delivering video content by building it directly into the organization’s editorial calendar. We provided the guidance plan and script each video as well as the talend, equipment, and post production editing capabilities to deliver compelling multimedia content on the organization website as well as through social and email.

Social media is one of the most important ways that the organization communicates with athletes and their families, sponsor organizations, volunteers, and the community at large. It is often dynamic and moves quickly with the volume of posts averaging three to five per day and the marketing mix ranging from shared local press to native video content across five major platforms.

Black smartphone features facebook post on Special Olympics Washington facebook page with a collection of images from the Federal Way Community Center 5k walk/run in support of Special Olympics.
Black smartphone shows twitter social media posts from Special Olympics WA.
On Black smartphone background, an instagram post is featured from the summer games. A happy contestant holds a prize media smiling and giving a thumbs up.

When you send over a thousand communications every month to more than three dozen unique audiences, having access to a full-stack creative team means more than just professional design. It means having an embedded team of strategies, creatives, and PMs all working together to help tell your story with visual messaging including graphic, visual, and motion graphic design.


Recently SOWA launched a fifth yearly event to promote and celebrate inclusion. To promote it the organization needed original artwork and motion graphics to be used in the campaign’s out of home postering campaign, promotional video, email, and sponsor placements. As an embedded marketing client, SOWA was able to tap into 1205’s resources the same way they would an internal creative team. We helped scope the event, build calls to action, and deliver a developed plug and play creative plan.