One of the most powerful ways to tell a story is through video. Videos don’t just inform the viewer, they inspire them, they draw emotion, and they spark new ideas. Don’t Blink, a Minneapolis-based video production agency renowned for its creative storytelling, has had a remarkable partnership with Special Olympics Minnesota since 2016, telling our stories through video. Special Olympics Minnesota is honored to be a part of their impressive client roster that includes giants like Red Bull, Ford, MPR and Medtronic.

From athlete profiles to Unified Champion School videos, USA Games hype reels to Polar Plunge recaps, each video crafted by Don’t Blink showcases the essence of the Special Olympics Minnesota community. With great attention to detail and a genuine passion for what they do, Don’t Blink has elevated the organization’s storytelling abilities to new heights.

“Our partnership started back in 2016,” says Nate Maydole, Owner & Lead Creative at Don’t Blink. “A Special Olympics Minnesota staff member approached us to do a few video productions and the more we learned about the organization, the more we wanted to provide our skills to help elevate it. The work we get to do is extremely rewarding, as nothing can replace the joy of seeing athletes compete in sports that they love.”

Katie Howlett, Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Special Olympics Minnesota, attests to the transformative power of this relationship. “Our partnership with Don’t Blink is a game changer. They have made high-quality, professional videos accessible to our organization and have changed the way we tell stories. Don’t Blink showcases the significant impact that a small business can make when committed to giving back to its community.”

Don’t Blink’s commitment to giving back was evident when they accompanied Team Minnesota to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida. Don’t Blink captured the energy of the Games, the spirit of inclusion and the resilience that defines Special Olympics—and made unforgettable memories while doing so.

“I can honestly say I have never experienced something so absolutely positive like the Special Olympics USA Games,” says Content Creator Dominic Paczkowski. “It was competitive, but everyone was supportive of each other.

“Specifically, I remember talking to a coach for the Minnesota softball team. They were playing for third place. They were losing by a couple runs in the last inning, had runners in scoring position, and just needed one more hit to maybe win the game. They ended up hitting a pop fly to the outfield and it was caught, unfortunately losing them the game. However, the player that caught the ball to help their team win third place made her first catch ALL SEASON. And in a moment of defeat, there was also pride felt by the SOMN team for their opponent, as they cheered for the other team’s victory. That is what it’s all about.”

Parker Gorecki agrees: “My favorite experience filming for Special Olympics Minnesota was following the team down to USA Games. The energy on the bus and plane during travel was absolutely electric. People were chatting and so excited for the events to come.

“One of the teams we featured was interviewed before, during and after the Games. The shoot before was extremely fun, and I could see the passion these athletes have for their game. I remember following a runner around the bases and passing him slightly. I was expecting to get a great video of the team cheering for their teammate, which did come, but first they came up to me and asked how I could run so fast in sandals and if I wanted to be a pinch runner for them!”

Inclusion is a shared value between Special Olympics Minnesota and Don’t Blink. It’s at the forefront of each video and the cornerstone of the partnership as a whole.

“The most rewarding part of working with SOMN is the opportunity to tell impactful stories and promote their message of inclusivity,” says Addy Perkins, Content Producer. “It is incredible to see the positive impact of sports in people’s lives. Whether it is building confidence, fostering community, or igniting their competitive fire. I am proud that we play a part in highlighting inclusion and I always feel more connected to these projects.”

Parker says, “As a queer person, I have never experienced such acceptance and love from anyone but the Special Olympics Minnesota community. Everyone is respectful and welcoming! I feel 100% safe at SOMN events and know I have allies surrounding me.”

Don’t Blink’s partnership with Special Olympics Minnesota shows the profound impact that collaboration between businesses and nonprofits can have. We are incredibly thankful for the entire crew at Don’t Blink for continuing to showcase the talents of our athletes and for helping us spread our mission of inclusion!

“We greatly appreciate Special Olympics Minnesota for letting us flex our creative muscles in the work that we do,” says Nate. “It has been an amazing outlet to showcase the different skills that our team has. Plus, it has built some really fantastic internal relationships amongst our team that wouldn’t have happened without their support in our process.”

Check out some of their work for Special Olympics Minnesota: