Researching for the future

Here's a taster of the research that's informing the new strategy for 2020+

22 May 2019

To make our plan for 2020 and beyond as good as it can be for all members of Girlguiding, it needs to reflect changes in the youth sector and the wider world. So, we’ve been busy doing some in-depth research. Ten pieces to be precise. Lots of work has been going on behind the scenes, all around Girlguiding, to better understand what’s happening inside our organisation and how the world is changing around us.

Some of the research isn’t finished yet, but here’s a glimpse of our findings so far. We’ll be using all the research to inform the new strategy. So it reflects what’s best for girls living in a modern world.

Let’s take a look at what we’ve found so far…


You all probably have a sense of the impact Girlguiding has on your girls, but how do we measure that? This piece of research is looking at the charity and youth sectors, and inside Girlguiding too. Here’s a taster of what’s been found:

  • We’re good at recording data about what we achieve, but today it’s important for charities to be able to prove the impact we have – the difference we make to the lives of girls.
  • Improving the way we measure our impact will allow us to communicate the value of Girlguiding for girls, volunteers and for society. And it will help us gain funding and support, and show potential girls, parents and volunteers why they should join us.

Youth sector

Girlguiding is one of the biggest youth organisations in the UK. So it’s important that we understand the issues, challenges and also the opportunities open to youth organisations today. Girlguiding has a real opportunity to help change more girls’ lives for the better.


Our culture is ‘how we do and think things here’, and we looked at it via a survey you filled out. Knowing our culture can give us some helpful insights into what’s important to us. The survey showed that we generally act like an extended family and like any family this can come with positives and negatives. We want to develop our culture so it works best for all of us – so we can all continue to deliver our best for girls, and make sure volunteers have a rewarding experience.

Youth participation

Involving young people in decision-making is now a central part of how youth organisations work. And Girlguiding is no different – we know that lots of volunteers already involve girls in decision making, whether that’s deciding what activity to do or where to go on camp. There are also lots of fantastic projects going on where young people are at the centre. But we can always do more. We’ve had tons of you let us know what you think our goal should be when it comes to involving young people. “Girlguiding is girl-led” means different things to different people, so to make the most of our youth participation in Girlguiding we need to be on the same page about our aims. If we want girls to really feel ownership over the organisation, we need to create clear opportunities for them to have their say.

Girls’ lives

We’ve been asking girls about their lives in our Girls’ Attitudes Survey and in Future Girl. And we’ve been looking at external reports as well. We know girls are facing new and further-reaching pressures than ever before, and a lot of these are hard for adults to understand. Concerns about mental health and skills for their future are particularly on their minds. All this research has highlighted that even in the five years since the last strategy, girls lives are moving on at a pace. We need to delve deeper into issues that affect girls if we’re going to be able to respond to their changing needs and support them as they prepare for their futures.

Making guiding happen

What are all the little nuts and bolts that go into delivering guiding? And are there any missing? We’re looking into how everything we do fits together to deliver guiding on the ground. It’s quite complex and involves lots of people from volunteers, staff and our supporters from across the UK.

This is just a taster of what’s been going on. We’re also looking at other areas that will inform our plans for the next five years, including what influences how we grow as an organisation, how we’re structured and governed, our brand and the use of digital tools.

There’s still lots of work to be done before we share the evolving strategy. But by doing robust research like this we’re going to make sure that it’s an informed and workable strategy we can all be proud of and support. If you have any questions or would just like to know more, please contact the strategy team on [email protected]