Building your team

Pull together a fantastic team of volunteers to help your new unit run smoothly

You'll need enough volunteers to safely run the unit and to support each other.

Having a good number of volunteers also means you'll have a sustainable leadership team who can run both regular meetings and activities outside the meeting place.

How to find volunteers

Get our latest guidance about how to increase the number of volunteers in your new unit. 

Who should I include in my leadership team?

The team must have 1 or more unit leaders (or someone working towards completion of the leader development programme) who is qualified for the section, supported by other volunteers. Find out more about volunteer roles.

There aren’t mandatory adult leader to child ratios for unit meetings in your meeting place, except in the case of Rainbow units who must always have two adults at every meeting. But you'll need to make sure there are enough adult volunteers to comfortably run the unit and to allow your numbers to grow.

When you take part in activities outside your meeting place, different mandatory ratios apply for different sections. Find out about adult to child ratios.

You might like to give 1 person overall responsibility for your unit. Or, several people could share leadership roles. Give everyone who wants to help clear roles and responsibilities. You can split responsibilities according to what people like to do and where their skills lie. Think about the skills you need to run the unit - from activity organisation and unit administration to communicating with parents and leading girls on adventures.

If you’re new to guiding you may want regular involvement from your commissioner or other experienced Girlguiding volunteers. This can be a great way to build your confidence and get support.

Remember, there must always be at least 1 volunteer attending the unit meetings who has completed all their recruitment and vetting checks, including a criminal record disclosure check.

Make sure you know which checks each person in the team needs by reading our recruitment and vetting procedures.

You must also have at least one volunteer present who has completed a recognised first aid qualification. 

What qualifications do I need?

You don’t need to have completed Girlguiding’s leader development programme to run a meeting as long as your local commissioner is happy with the arrangements you have made. There should be at least 1 volunteer working towards the leader development programme as a leader-in-training though.

How do I recruit new team members?

There are lots of ways that you can recruit volunteers,  from talking to colleagues and friends, to running a full recruitment drive. The more people who join you, the more support you'll have when you start.

Take a look at our ideas for recruiting new volunteers for inspiration.

Once you've recruited new volunteers to your team, it’s important you’re able to support them to get the most out of guiding and stay involved.

Welcoming volunteers

Make your volunteers feel welcome and valued. Remember - you’re setting up the unit as a team. Check out our guidance on welcoming new volunteers. And your commissioner will be able to provide further support, guidance and tools to help volunteers settle in. 

Make sure you respond to enquiries quickly and consider all offers of help. If you’re all new to Girlguiding you can share questions and take them to your commissioner or buddy as a team.

Being flexible with volunteers

The key to creating a new and successful leadership team is flexibility. Flexible arrangements make it much easier for volunteers to combine guiding with their demanding home or work lives.

Using rotas, building roles around specific skills, and being creative with meeting times are all excellent ways to work flexibly with volunteers. Find more ways to offer flexible volunteering.

Working as a team

Once you have your team in place, you'll need to discuss which responsibilities people will take on and how you'll work together.

Take a look at more information about working with and managing a team, including how to thank your wonderful volunteers.

Guidance on managing your team

From preparing your team to managing conflict, develop your skills with our guidance on managing a team. 

Download the guidance