Managing your waiting lists

Help as many young members to access Girlguiding as possible

We want to welcome as many young members to Girlguiding as possible.

Whether it’s existing members or new members, everyone needs to feel welcomed to guiding and waiting list management plays an important role in doing this. We should always make sure the approach is fair, inclusive and transparent to provide the best experience for girls possible.  

How to effectively manage your waiting list 

You can log your waiting list management process in GO. An effective process should look like this: 

  • Member contacts you with an initial enquiry.  
  • After 21 days, you will receive a reminder about the enquiry unless you’ve updated the enquiry to ‘contacted.’  
  • If there’s space in the unit, you can arrange a meeting.
  • If there isn’t any space in the unit yet or the girl is too young to join, you should add them to your waiting list. This is split into existing members and new members, and by whether they’re currently eligible to join or too young.

Remember, GO will automatically contact parents or carers every 6 months to check that they’re still happy for their child to stay on the waiting list. You can find more guidance on managing your waiting list when you sign into GO.

Deciding who has priority to join

Existing members have priority over new members waiting to join. This includes girls moving up to the next section or relocating to a different area – otherwise known as transitions and transfers.  

This applies to:  

  • Young members in your local Girlguiding area who are ready and old enough to move up from the younger section. 
  • Young members outside your local Girlguiding area who are ready and old enough to move up from the younger section. 
  • A young member from outside your local Girlguiding area who wants to transfer from another group of the same section. 
  • A young member who’s been part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.  

If a young member wants to transfer units, it can be hard to manage if local units are full. Take time to listen to why they want to transfer and work with other volunteers like your local commissioner to decide on the best option. 

Once you’ve given a space to existing members or if there aren’t any existing members on your waiting list, you can offer spaces to children waiting to join.  

As a leader, it’s up to you to manage the waiting lists of your unit. When prioritising new members, consider:  

  • Special circumstances, for example, if an older sibling is already a member or has been a member of the unit.  
  • Time on waiting list. This starts from the date their enquiry was created on GO. This date won’t change if a girl is transferred to another waiting list.

You could also consider children’s individual circumstances, and if they could benefit from being prioritised. This could include children in care, young carers, or those learning English.  

Also make sure you are upholding our equality and diversity policy. Our vision is an equal world where all girls can make a positive difference, be happy, safe and fulfil their potential. All volunteers have a responsibility to make Girlguiding accessible and inclusive for any age and ability. If you need further support on this, you can read more about how to make reasonable adjustments. 

Managing parent and carers’ expectations 

If your unit is unable to take in new girls, parents and carers may choose to find another unit with more spaces. You could support them by reaching out to other units, such as units that might be on the borderline with another county. Having this conversation with parents early on will help manage expectations and prevent girls from missing out on a great guiding experience. It also helps to have good communication with your local leaders and commissioners to make this process as easy as possible.   

Involving girls on the waiting list 

We want girls to know that they can do anything and that Girlguiding is here to support them with lots of fun experiences. And girls on waiting lists don't need to miss out! 

There are lots of ways to include girls and keep their enthusiasm for guiding alive. Plus, it might mean you gain some new parents or carers as volunteers too! 

  1. Invite girls to events. Girls don't have to be part of the unit to enjoy special opportunities like the large-scale county, district or division events. Providing you have the right consent forms completed by parents and carers, you can show girls what a memorable Girlguiding event looks like! Check out your local country and region website to find events near you.
  2. Run 'taster' sessions. Taster sessions are a great way for girls to get a feel for guiding and they can be online or in-person. You could introduce them to the section they’re joining, have a go at your unit’s favourite activities or use it as an opportunity for parents and carers to ask questions. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it shows off the impact of guiding. 
  3. Send parents and carers engaging updates. As well as your contact with parents and carers about their child’s waiting list progress, you can send them other interesting updates. Why not share the details of an exciting activity they can try at home?  You can even direct them to our activity finder or share local unit news to help them feel in the loop.
  4. Consider setting up a flexible unit. Flexible units allow girls to come along to weekend or monthly meetings until a space becomes available at a regular unit. It can also be great for families that have accessibility needs, can’t travel often or have other commitments, such as caring responsibilities. 

Using Our Plan data 

At the end of each quarter, HQ makes data reports using information from GO which is a useful tool for any volunteer managing waiting lists. It gives you a unit-level view of data in your area. It’s up to you and your volunteers how you use the Our Plan data but here are some ways that it might be helpful: 

  • For identifying waiting list trends. 
  • Seeing which units or sections need the most support. 
  • Checking which unit capacities need updating. 
  • Looking ahead at future spaces in units. 
  • Comparing districts and divisions in your area. 
  • Identifying opportunities for growth and seeing if new units could be opened.
  • Identifying areas that could benefit from a recruitment drive for either girls or volunteers.   

The Our Plan data is sent out to the country and region staff quarterly. Countries and regions can then decide how and when to share this data with counties. 

The key to managing waiting lists is to keep it consistent and inclusive so all girls feel welcomed. Remember, you can find more guidance in the help zone when you sign in to GO and talk to other unit leaders or your local commissioner if you need support.