Polar Plunge FAQ’s

General Event Information

The Polar Plunge is an icy dip into the frigid waters of Montana and is a fun and exciting way to support Special Olympics.  Over $300,000 is raised each year in Montana with hundreds of brave souls making a splash!  It's primarily organized, promoted, and conducted by law enforcement through their affiliation with the Law Enforcement Torch Run® to benefit Special Olympics Montana.
Proceeds from the Polar Plunge go directly to Special Olympics Montana.  60% of the net funds benefit local Special Olympics Montana athletes while 40% of the net funds raised support Special Olympics Montana year-round sports training and competition. It's a myth that some of the money is earmarked for hypothermia research.
Anyone who is in good health can participate in the Polar Plunge.  Plungers will need to raise at least the minimum amount in order to earn the "privilege" to plunge.  Plungers under 18 years old will need a Plunge waiver signed by their parent/guardian.
Individual Plungers need to raise at least $125, unless otherwise specified. Participants raising higher amounts are eligible for greater incentives.  The more you raise, the more you get!  All money raised benefits Special Olympics Montana athletes!
We want only people in good health to participate as Plungers. No one with heart disease may plunge. We have personnel in the water at all times and medical personnel and ambulances are present. The actual plunge is a jump into icy water only to chest deep and quickly returning back to dry land. Swimming is optional. There are warming facilities and/or a hot tub available.
It helps! But remember, our Plungers are doing this to benefit Special Olympics Montana athletes. If you're not into winter water sports, then give generously when a plunger asks for your pledge and donation; and be sure to show up and cheer them on.
The easiest way is to register on-line at www.somt.org/plunge.  Registration will also be accepted at the Plunge. You may also download the registration form online and send to: Special Olympics Montana 710 1st Ave N Great Falls, MT  59401 Fax (406) 454-9043 tsappington@somt.org www.somt.org/plunge

Plunger Information

Any pledges you have can be turned in at the Registration area on Plunge Day. This includes cash, checks, and money orders. Credit card donations are also accepted at Registration.  You can also turn in your pledges during one of the early Plunge Registration Days (see individual plunge for date and location).  All pledges need to be collected before Plunge Day.
We will have a few incentives items available at the Plunge. If you do not receive your Plunge incentives at the Plunge, please visit  www.somt.org/plunge to order your incentive item within two weeks after the event.
There is no pressure to fully submerge yourself.  We leave it up to the comfort level of the individual.  Some choose to go all the way under, while others just dip their big toe!  They are all Plungers in our book!
While we do not have any age restrictions, participants under the age of 18 must have written consent from a parent or legal guardian.  Over the years, many young children have participated quite safely and we defer to the parents on what makes the most sense for their family.  Remember, Plunging can mean dipping a hand or a big toe, which is plenty of cold water for a little one!
For the comfort of our Plungers, we provide large changing areas for Men & Women. These are located near the Plunge-Zone. Please note that the event committee or Special Olympics Montana are responsible for personal belongings left inside the changing area that are lost or stolen during the event. Leave items at your own risk.
Pretty much whatever you want, within the following guidelines: No wetsuits or drysuits allowed. Wearing shoes is strongly encouraged – the ground is very cold. Costumes are encouraged but remember bulky materials can be dangerous to the wearer. Choose your plunge-attire knowing that you will be cold and your fingers will possibly be numb, so loose-fitting and easy off clothes are best. Bring a robe, blankets, towels or jackets to wear while waiting to plunge. Lewd or indecent bathing suits or outfits are not permitted. Please remember that this is a family event. Participants who disregard this policy will be asked to cover up, or will be escorted from the area.
Gee, that question is asked a lot and the answer is absolutely not. It takes real men, women, and high school students (yes, we have great youth who raise money) to do this. Wearing a wetsuit is cheating.
The most fun you’ll ever have in the water in the middle of winter! You should expect a large crowd and lots of energy.
We have secured photographers to capture the plunge on film.  All photos will be posted to www.somt.smugmug.com as soon as we receive them at Special Olympics Montana.  You can view, print, download and share your 15-minutes of fame.
No problem!  You can still be a part of the fun!  Simply register as a Chicken, raise pledges and receive incentives just like a regular plunger - except NO going into the icy water.
Absolutely NOT!  We are sure you have a great swan dive but safety is our number one concern.  The water is shallow and there are divers in the water.
While we try to order enough incentives to supply all plungers; we cannot always guarantee they will be on hand.  If you do not receive your official plunge incentive the day of the plunge, they will be available afterwards.  Visit www.somt.org/plunge to order your incentive item within two weeks after the event. 

Registration Information

The easiest way is to register on-Line at www.somt.org/plunge.  Registration will also be accepted at the Plunge. You may also download the registration form online and send to: Special Olympics Montana 710 1st Ave N Great Falls, MT  59401 Fax (406) 454-9043 tsappington@somt.org www.somt.org/plunge
If you simply want to let us know that you are no longer attending, there is no need. We expect a certain % of no-shows each year and plan accordingly. If you paid the minimum $125 contribution to Special Olympics Montana, we appreciate the donation, as do the 2,000 Special Olympics Montana athletes who will benefit from the funds raised at the Polar Plunge. Because it is a charitable contribution, it is non-refundable even if you are unable to participate.
Yes! SOMT is now offering Early Plunge Check-In at most Plunges.  Anyone is welcome to stop by during the times listed and turn in Plunge donations and pick up their Plunge packet. Early plunge check-in hours for each plunge will be noted on their respective webpage.

Team Information

You can be a team of one or a team of a hundred.  For safety reasons, your entire team may not be able to plunge at one time.  The number of plungers that will jump in together will be determined that day by the plunge organizers.
Every team member must raise a minimum of $125.  If you have a team of 5, you will need to raise $625.  Earn the Top Team Award by raising more funds!
Yes.  We are aware that in some cases a family member or a company will issue one check that is intended to cover multiple team members. You will need to note which contributions are to be distributed among the team.
We are happy to work with teams to assist in promoting participation in this event. Visit each individual Plunge webpage to see what flyers are available.  Please contact Special Olympics Montana at tsappington@somt.org or (800) 242-6876 to request assistance.
Any pledges the team has collected can be turned in at the Registration area on Plunge Day.  You can also turn in your team pledges during one of the early Plunge check-in days (see individual plunge for date and location).  Each individual team member may check in individually or the Team Captain may collect all pledge forms, pledges and signed waivers for each team member and turn them in.  All pledges need to be collected before Plunge Day.

Donations & Fundraising

After you register online, you can create a personal fundraising webpage. Then email your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors asking them to support you by donating to your webpage.  It's fast and easy!  You can also download the pledge form to help you solicit and track your pledges.  Plungers must collect all pledges before the plunge and bring them to the Plunge.  All on-line donations are sent directly to Special Olympics Montana.
Checks should be made out to Special Olympics Montana, which can also be abbreviated as SOMT. Please include on the check the name of the Plunge and the Plunger’s name that is to be credited. Special Olympics Montana will send a receipt for donations $250 and over. If you wish for a receipt, please contact us.
Donations are accepted in all forms, so donors who do not wish to use the online system, can do the following: Call us at (800) 242-6876 and make a donation via the phone using a major credit card. Make a donation in check form and mail it to:  Special Olympics Montana 710 1st Ave N Great Falls, MT  59405 We do ask that any donations made in this manner clearly indicate the exact name of the Plunge and the Plunger that the contribution should be credited to.  If that information is not included, the donation will not be credited to any specific individual, but will instead be entered as a general donation.
Donations to the Plunge are accepted at any time of the year and simply need to be mailed or delivered to:  Special Olympics Montana Attn: 710 1st Ave N Great Falls, MT  59405 Please be sure that the name of the Plunge and the Plunger that the donations should be credited to is clearly indicated.
In every case that we have ever been asked this, Plunge participants find that their donors still want their contribution to go to Special Olympics Montana; so we encourage you to send the money in.  Donations to the Plunge are accepted at any time of the year and simply need to be mailed or delivered to: Special Olympics Montana Attn: 710 1st Ave N Great Falls, MT  59405 Please be sure that the name of the Plunge and the Plunger that the donations should be credited to is clearly indicated.
All donations should be turned in at Registration, even if you already went checked in early. A registration volunteer will collect the additional funds and that amount will be added to your event total post-Plunge.
Charitable contributions are non-refundable.  The minimum Plunge amount is considered a charitable contribution and is therefore non-refundable.
Plunge participants can enter donations themselves and those amounts will appear in real time in your fundraising scroll. To do this, simply log into your personal webpage and enter in as "offline donation". Special Olympics Montana is unable to enter them in for you.
Yes! The pledge form is located on our website at www.somt.org/plunge.
Yes, that is an excellent way to raise additional funds on behalf of your Plunge. All you need to do is complete a request with your employer. They will have us verify your donation and will send us the matching funds -- usually within 6 weeks, sometimes longer.
Special Olympics Montana automatically generates donation receipts for all donors who made contributions of $250 or more and we have complete and accurate contact information for (name, mailing address). Donation acknowledgements for contributions received in our office are generally mailed within 60 days of receipt.  However, you can request receipts by contacting us at tsappington@somt.org or calling (800) 242-6876.
Blank receipt forms are available for you to give back to donors upon receiving a contribution. They are located in the Plunge Tool-Kit online.
The number one rule in fundraising is - just ask!  Don't be afraid to ask and don't take rejections personally.  Not everyone can donate; simply go on to the next person. Start your fundraising by making a personal donation.  It's more convincing to others that you believe in what you are doing if you sponsor yourself.  Next create a list of people to ask.  Don't forget your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, your company, service clubs, businesses you patronize, hairdresser, vendors and more.... Now start asking!  Tell them what you are doing and why you are doing it.


Spectators are welcome to stand along the outside of the official “Plunge Zone” in order to watch the action; however, they will not be allowed entry into the Plunge Zone. For those Plungers who need photographic proof, we recommend taking a waterproof camera to the water with you and asking a fellow Plunger to capture the moment.  Photos will also be posted at www.somt.smugmug.com.
For the safety of all participants, spectators are not allowed to enter the Plunge Zone.  We know this is disappointing for supporters who want to see the action up close, but these crowds of spectators create a hazardous situation for Plungers who are trying to enter and exit the water quickly, only to find that they are being blocked – or worse, pushed back – by a large group of enthusiastic onlookers. One exception to this policy is that parents and chaperones of minors age 15 and under will be allowed into the Plunge Zone.
No! Spectators are welcome to the event free of charge.  But feel free to make a general donation on behalf of all of the brave souls taking the plunge at www.somt.org/plunge.