How One Custom Software Solution Powers Special Olympics Volunteers Across the Globe

Developing custom software is an exciting opportunity to transform your business or organization. What’s even more exciting? When your project ends up positively impacting an ecosystem of sister organizations.

That’s exactly what happened when Special Olympics Indiana came to AxiaTP in 2015 ready to make a big digital transformation.

The Leap to Custom Software

Like many Special Olympics branches, Special Olympics Indiana (SOI) relies on substantial volunteer efforts. Thousands of coaches and volunteers help run 20+ Olympic-type sports events for more than 18,000 participating children and adult athletes with intellectual disabilities. 

But managing critical volunteer data for volunteers across the state—including the status of required background checks—can be overwhelming, especially when relying on paper applications and manual data input. 

That’s why SOI was ready for a big change: a custom software solution that could help them seamlessly collect and manage the data they need while speeding up their processes.

A New Need Emerges

More than 2,000 miles away, Special Olympics Oregon (SOO) had a problem. 

Unlike SOI, they’d already been using their own software to manage volunteer data for approximately 20 years. 

But the software was created by one developer and not backed by the support of a team, a situation that created a challenge when they parted ways with their longtime developer. 

“There was no one to fix the little bugs in our program, and it just needed to be updated. It was a bit archaic,” said LouAnne Tabada, Senior Director of Program and Volunteer Services.

One Solution for All

Back in Indiana, SOI was seeing big results with their new Volunteer Management System developed by the AxiaTP custom software development team. 

The digital transition helped them cut countless hours of required manpower, speeding up the background check process and how quickly new volunteers moved through their required training.

The software’s new dashboard gave them more power than ever to view, sort and filter, and export data. With new software technology in place, they had tools to continue growing and making an impact. 

And they didn’t keep it a secret.

SOI’s Volunteer Management System became a solution other state Special Olympics programs could utilize to modernize their efforts—states like Oregon.

An Empowering Transition

Unlike those programs needing to transition from manual to digital, Oregon was ready to hit the ground running with the Volunteer Management System. While the software already performed many of the tasks they were used to, it also gave them new improvements that save countless hours. 

One of the big highlights for the Oregon team was having training modules hosted within the system. This not only created a better experience for volunteers, but also an easier one for staff to see who has completed training and who hasn’t. The system is also set up to make training module updates and additions easier than ever.

But the Oregon team was also looking for some additions to the software. While some were specific to their team and unique processes, many made sense for all Special Olympics programs using the Volunteer Management System. This meant a software update for all.

“AxiaTP is great because a lot of the upgrades they pay for and perform, and then we pay for some that are more specific to Oregon,” Tabada explained.

With a new, trusted development partner, SOO felt empowered to explore new ways to improve their current software and systems, including a previously built team registration software.

Part of the Family

Investing in custom software has been a journey for the Special Olympics Oregon team, but having an established company on their side to back their needs has provided peace of mind.

Tabada values the relationship they’ve been able to build with AxiaTP, not only as service providers, but as people.

“The AxiaTP team is so wonderful to work with. They know we’re a nonprofit, they love Special Olympics, and you know they do everything they can to help us save a dime,” she said.

You feel very comfortable with them and like they’re part of your team. They’re part of our team at Special Olympics, part of our family.”

Learn more about the Volunteer Management System that our custom software development team created in Special Olympics Indiana’s case study.