Special Olympics Australia

 Special Olympics Australia (SOA) is part of a global inclusion movement using sport, health education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities.  

Not to be confused with the Paralympics, which is for elite athletes, Special Olympics is a year-round, multi sports program for people with intellectual disabilities. SOA’s volunteers create accessible sports training, coaching and competition opportunities, which are offered week-in and week-out in local communities throughout Australia.  

NAB is currently the Principal Partner of Special Olympics Australia. 

During NAB’s Community Strategy Challenge with Special Olympics, held in July 2020, ABV facilitated a review of the organisation’s  business model, structure, processes and income streams with SOA staff and NAB volunteers. The aim for the team was to identify options and approaches for SOA to: 

  1. better position themselves as thought leaders, 
  1. increase their recurring revenue streams, and funding reserves, and; 
  1. better target, recruit and retain young people with an intellectual disability in their programs 

Following an extensive SWOT analysis and an examination of the current strategic direction, SOA’s business model was aligned to grow its core revenue and become a thought leader within the intellectual disability sector. 

This resulted in the expansion of the value proposition centred around athletes, the creation of a value proposition for volunteers (coaches, teachers, parents) and the introduction of new channels to deliver programs. 

These new initiatives are to be supported by a revitalised marketing strategy focused on targeted communication and creating brand awareness and a funding strategy supported by a clear value proposition for corporate partners and government grants. 

At the close of the group’s final presentation, Special Olympics Australia CEO, Corene Strauss expressed her overwhelming gratitude for the incredible work and talent that have contributed to the Community Strategy Challenge and its final report.  

‘This has been an incredible experience and way beyond what I expected,’ Corene said. ‘It’s revealing and also tells me as a leader, that we are on the right path and not alone in this journey. I cannot thank you enough.’ 

Post-challenge feedback from NAB’s participating staff included admiration for Special Olympics Australia, appreciation for ABV staff’s facilitation skills and commitment, and pride in NAB’s initiatives to support the community. Staff also acknowledged learning new skills that they would take back to their ‘day jobs’.  

The skilled volunteering program is a great way for NAB to give back to the community and support NFPs. I am very proud of the social enterprises that NAB supports in the community 

One of the highlights of the year for me 

I learnt how to approach problems differently and to allow time to brainstorm with colleagues rather than trying to jump in and solve a problem 

I picked up some amazing facilitation skills and have a deeper conceptual understanding of how to create a high performing team environment 

It was a great experience working with a cross-skilled team from all parts of NAB to see the talent and experience within NAB and to learn from others that you normally don't get a chance to work with. 

We spent a long time in discovery and learning before starting to work to solve the problem and this was invaluable not just for the project but in building my understanding and appreciation for the issues faced by NFPs in today’s economic and political climate.

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