Writing about Girlguiding
Learn about our house style and how to use it when you write
Putting together a flyer? Writing a publication for your area?
Make sure what you're producing is consistent with writing across our organisation by sticking to the Girlguiding house style.
Key things to remember
Whether you're creating a poster, a press release or a long-form publication, remember to:
- Review our key messages and ensure your writing reflects them
- Check your spelling
- Check your grammar
- Assign another person to proofread your work.
Poor spelling and grammar reflect negatively on us as a charity, so make time to check and check again.
Describing Girlguiding and what we do
- Always refer to us as Girlguiding unless in a business, financial or legal context
- Remember: Girlguiding is singular - eg Girlguiding is..., Girlguiding believes...
- Say ‘the charity’ instead of ‘the organisation’ wherever possible, unless it affects the meaning of the sentence
- Never abbreviate Girlguiding to GG, or The Guide Association to GA
- Girlguiding describes who we are - guiding describes what we do. As an activity, guiding does not have a capital letter
- Our girls and volunteers should be described as 'members of Girlguiding'
The use of capital letters
Over the years we’ve been using more and more capital letters in all our publications and online communications. This meant that our style developed into something that was really difficult to read and not accessible to all our members and everyone we communicate with.
It also made our communications look dated, formal and even slightly legalistic. We’re not removing them, we’re changing how we use them and how frequently. If in doubt, use lower case. Here are some examples:
Use capitals for:
- Names of things, such as:
- Organisations: Girlguiding, Save the Children
- Events and awards: Go for Gold, the Laurel award
- Places: Northern Ireland, Wales
- Branded products or things: Post-It Notes, Brownies, Gift Aid
- Abbreviations such as WAGGGS, BBC and RNIB
Use lower case for:
- Things in general:
- units, branches, members, volunteers, advisers
- Jobs and roles (leader, chairperson, coordinator, founder, badge secretary, Girlguiding qualified trainer) unless the title precedes or is the name (the Queen, Pope Francis).
- The word ‘the’ before a name (unless it’s part of the name): the Country Code vs The Senior Section
- Administrative areas: region, county, district [one way to distinguish these from the geographical meaning is to preface them with Girlguiding]
- The government, local authority, the police
- guiding – when referring to the activity
Abbreviations and acronyms
Remember that some of your readers, such as those outside of guiding, may not be familiar with our abbreviations and acronyms. Always spell them out the first time, with the abbreviation or acronym in brackets, and then use instead of full term for further mentions.
BGO – British Girlguiding Overseas
GFF – the Guide Friendship Fund
GO – Guiding Organiser, the membership database
ISGF – the International Scout and Guide Fellowship
LaSER – London and South East England Region
SSAGO – the Student Scout and Guide Organisation
WAGGGS – the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Our house style
As well as making sure your spelling and grammar are correct, follow this simple style guide to ensure consistency across all writing at Girlguiding:
- Use a single space after a full stop, not double.
- Use single quotation marks. For quotes within quotes use double quotation mark.
- There is no need for the comma before the final ‘and’ in a simple list: 'We saw elephants, giraffes and zebras...'.
- But it can help the reader, for example in longer sentences. 'Brownies can take part in abseiling, archery, water sports such as canoeing and kayaking, and climbing.'
- Eg, ie and etc should be written without a full stop.
- Dates should always be written date first, month second, without any letters - 30 January or 28 to 30 January.
- Times should be written without a decimal point unless needed - like 7pm, 8pm, 9.40pm.
- Write one to ten as words. 11 and numbers above can be written as numerals.
- Italicise all Girlguiding publications and badges - guiding..., Globalistic.
Download our full writing guidelines
Need more detail on how to write about us? Take a look at our comprehensive writing guidelines.