Spread the Word, Not the virus virtual activation kit

We know that physical and social distancing can be lonely. Spread The Word: Inclusion is working to provide opportunities for community and connection for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities, while continuing to work toward a more inclusive future.









Spread the word, not the virus

Spread The Word: Inclusion is committed to continue working toward a more inclusive future for all people with, and without, intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are living through new challenges and coming up with new solutions as we learn to stay connected in the time of social and physical distancing. The campaign remains committed to empowering grassroots leaders to change their communities, schools, and workplaces by taking action for inclusion. However, many of these actions must take place virtually now.

With Spread The Word, Not The Virus, we ask you to join us in fostering inclusion, community, and positivity from your own homes during this difficult time. Take part in our weekly challenges, host a virtual inclusion event, start planning ways to make your community more inclusive, stay connected with others, and #pledgetoinclude.

Make your pledge for inclusion today at www.spreadtheword.global/pledge





  • Inclusion doesn't stop for social distancing. We can all do our part to continue build a more inclusive world while staying safe.
  • By following guidelines and keeping your community safe, you are being inclusive of everyone in it.
  • Social distancing can feel lonely. We want to create opportunities for connection, collaboration, and growth in this difficult time.


  • Weekly inclusion challenges are posted @PledgeToInclude on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram every #spreadthewordwednesday, with bonus challenges every Friday.
  • If you missed a challenge, you can find them all here.


  • Each challenge will help you spread inclusion and connect with others in your community. Share what you're doing by tagging us @PledgeToInclude, then invite some friends to join you (virtually, of course)!
A social media challenge to create a video about inclusion in your life.

Virtual Event IDEAS

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), a group made up of over 200 million people, representing every country, belief system, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, and ethnicity. On a global scale, people with ID continue to be excluded and isolated from their peers in schools, workplaces, and communities. Below you will find a list of activation opportunities and ideas for how to make them work virtually.

Celebrate awareness days & months:

  • Autism acceptance/awareness month in April
  • Pride month in June
  • Share your story and your support on social media.
  • #PledgeToInclude people of every background, ability, race, gender, sexual orientation, belief system, and ethnicity. People with and without intellectual disabilities belong to countless communities and identities. Inclusion should be a part of all of them.

Brainstorm ways to help your community through this time:

  • Challenge friends to spread inclusion and positivity on social media and in their own homes! Suggest window or sidewalk art anyone can do at home, or kind messages to post on social media.
  • Organize grocery or meal delivery for neighbors who are unable to leave their homes.
  • Set up a weekly virtual game night and invite anyone who may be feeling lonely.

Create a virtual Week of Inclusion on social media with your school, workplace, club, team, or community. Partner with other organizations and make each day a unique celebration of inclusion.

Spirit Week looks a little different while social distancing. Have participants share a selfie!

You won't be able to sign the banner together at school, but you can still have a virtual pledge day! Make a fun plan for a zoom meeting and end with everyone taking the pledge at www.spreadtheword.global/pledge.

Plan For The Future


Host a virtual meeting with others from your school, workplace, or community to brainstorm ideas for how to make your community more inclusive for everyone. Start planning an inclusion event for when you're back together in person.

For Spread The Word: Inclusion day in 2020, students at Yorktown High School organized an inclusion celebration, led by their Special Olympics and Best Buddies organizations. They invited other clubs like Latinas Leading Tomorrrow and the GSA to join them and talk about inclusion.

Use this extra time at home to brainstorm some groups you might partner with for an event next year, or even for a virtual event. Set up a zoom meeting and start planning!


year round activation on social media

Social Media has proven to be a very effective way to raise awareness for Spread the Word. It allows people to engage in conversations that help change attitudes and drive people to pledge at www.spreadtheword.global. Follow us @PledgeToInclude on all social platforms. Here are some of the more robust social media channels that you can join for discussions, subscribe to videos, or follow conversations online:

Check out all of our available social media templates here. Be sure to use #PledgeToInclude when posting and tag us @PledgeToInclude.


Facebook is a simple, but effective engagement tool to Spread the Word about inclusion to your friends and family. You can activate on Facebook by visiting and liking our Spread the Word: Inclusion page at www.facebook.com/PledgetoInclude/

Our Spread the Word team will be posting articles, videos, and activation events. You can use these posts to re-share on your own pages – along with your own narrative on inclusion. Tell your story in your own status update and tag @PledgeToInclude.

Post a message and share a photo encouraging your friends to take the inclusion pledge:

"I pledge #friendship through my words and actions. Will you (@ _____)? Pledge now at www.spreadtheword.global to create communities of respect for people with intellectual disabilities and #PledgetoInclude

“I just pledged to make the world a more accepting and inclusive place for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I hope you will pledge too! #PledgetoInclude www.spreadtheword.global

“Join our movement! Pledge for Inclusion! #PledgetoInclude spreadtheword.global


Twitter is an engaging social media channel to share your thoughts on how you plan to spread inclusion. Twitter is most effective when you use hashtags in order to help build the movement. You can activate on Twitter by:

Visiting and following @SpecialOlympics and @BestBuddies utilizing the #PledgetoInclude hashtag when tweeting about the Spread the Word: Inclusion campaign.

A few sample tweets to help you Spread the Word:

  • "I pledge #Inclusion through my words & actions. Will you? Pledge now to create communities of respect for people with disabilities spreadtheword.global "
  • "Language affects attitude. Attitudes impact action. Make your pledge to choose respectful people-first language spreadtheword.global "
  • “I took a pledge for #Inclusion, and you can too! Just go to spreadtheword.global to help respect the unique abilities of everyone #PledgetoInclude”
  • "Be a Fan of Inclusion. Help create opportunities for inclusive activities in your school or community #PledgetoInclude spreadtheword.global/ "
  • "I pledged! Eliminate exclusionary actions and pledge. Stand up for yourself and others by pledging #Inclusion! spreadtheword.global "

When you see positive tweets in support of Special Olympics, Best Buddies, or Inclusion, retweet them and thank the originating handle and follow them.

Tweet at your favorite celebrities and ask them to support Spread the Word.


Instagram is a social media platform dedicated mostly to sharing ideas via pictures. Instagram, like Twitter, is very effective when using hashtags and tagging other accounts to build the campaign. To engage on Instagram, you can:

Follow Spread the Word: Inclusion Instagram account and post photos sharing:

  • 1) Your thoughts on inclusion
  • 2) Experience participating in an inclusive event
  • 3) Time organizing and carrying out one of many Spread the Word: Inclusion activation opportunities
  • 4) You stories of inclusion in videos
  • Make sure to include the hashtag #PledgeToInclude and tag us @PledgeToInclude
  • Tag your friends, family, and local news reporters to Spread the Word!

Other tips

Engage on other platforms. Share your stories of inclusion in blogs, TikToks, or videos.

Send us your story at spreadtheword@specialolympics.org or submit your photos and videos at https://www.dropbox.com/request/srbW03xjoKWqxJypv69Z

There are conversations taking place every day about inclusion, people with intellectual disabilities, sports, or friendship.

  1. Find a subject that interests you and engage in those online communities and conversations and help spread the word about this campaign in those communities.
  2. Keep the interactions respectful and forward moving by always encouraging people to join us and learn more.

Online safety and well-being

Whenever you see media items posted on any site like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. it is likely there will be negative comments toward our efforts.

  1. Use those comments as an opportunity to engage the person in conversation.
  2. Offer thoughtful counterpoints to their arguments!
  3. Lead with kindness and invite the person to join you in taking the pledge to include at spreadtheword.global.

In a time when many people are spending more time online, it is important to practice internet safety and lead with compassion and understanding. If you see bullying or negative comments online, try not to let it get you down. Instead, respond with positivity and information, or hide negative accounts from your feed. Here are some tips for responding to hurtful comments online:

  • Prepare a few lines of text expressing your feelings and why inclusive words and actions matter to you. Have it ready to engage in positive conversation. We cannot effect change without confronting the attitudes we hope to change.
  • Arm yourself with your honest feelings and a well-thought-out statement of compassion. Try to foster understanding.
  • Most people will respond to this positively. Those who don’t, brush it off! It's likely they’ve heard your message and it sticks with them, maybe they pledge to include next year! You know why you care about inclusion, so keep going.
  • Your safety and comfort is important. If you uncomfortable responding to a negative comment, or if someone does not respond well, it is always okay to mute, unfollow, or block a page.

Here are some additional resources for online safety and well-being:



Special Olympics: Coronavirus Outbreak - What You Need To Know

Best Buddies Virtual Friendship Walk

Fun Activities To Do At Home

School of Strength Online Workouts

Spread the Word: Inclusion

To find all of the editable resources, our Spread the Word logos, and campaign photos please visit our Dropbox link below: