Are you a Girl Scout volunteer who loves to write? Are you looking to share your expertise with the greater Girl Scout community? Whether it’s lessons you’ve learned along the way, troop management tips, meeting inspiration, or something totally different, The Trailhead is the perfect platform for you to empower other volunteers by sharing your story. The best part is, all Trailhead contributors earn an exclusive The Trailhead fun patch!
Check out our contributor guidelines below and/or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d be happy to walk you through our process and brainstorm an article based on your experience as a volunteer!
GSNorCal’s The Trailhead Contributor Guidelines
The Trailhead is Girl Scouts of Northern California’s volunteer support blog! We write content to help, inspire, and inform our 30,000+ passionate volunteers. The goal of the blog is to create a community for our volunteers—one in which they can share their experience, gather helpful tips from GSNorCal’s topic experts, and learn from each other during their time with us.
Editorial Voice & Tone
We aim for a friendly, conversational tone in the pieces that we publish on The Trailhead. In a nutshell, we’re upbeat, positive, high-energy, punchy, and fun—just like the Girl Scouts we write about! For examples of this editorial voice in action, check out some of our favorite posts:
- How to Spot the Difference: Community Service Projects vs. Take Action Projects
- Tips for Communicating with Troop Parents
- How to Sell More Girl Scout Cookies: Tips from a 2,000+ Box Seller
Blog Post Requirements
- Topic: The topic should be fresh and relevant to GSNorCal volunteers. Ideally, you’ll be writing about a topic we haven’t covered before on The Trailhead, but, if not, you’ll be making sure to add your own spin to the topic, based upon your personal experience.
- Title: Your title should be clear and should convey exactly what your post is about. Use words or phrases that you imagine other volunteers would search for. If you don’t have a title, or need help improving yours, we’re happy to help!
- Word Count: All posts should be a minimum of 500 words—most posts are around 1,500 words, and the longer they are, the more helpful they tend to be for readers! For example, if you’re using lots of Girl Scout jargon, feel free to take some time to explain what the terms mean—new volunteers will thank you later for the additional clarification! However, quality is more important than quantity when it comes to the length of your post, so don’t feel like you need to add extra fluff just to meet a certain word count.
- Links: Include links whenever possible, but make sure they’re relevant and aren’t going to become outdated quickly—e.g. don’t link to an event that’s ending in a few weeks or a webpage that won’t be around next month.
- Citing Sources: If you’re using second-hand information from outside sources, please be sure to cite your sources so we can give credit where credit is due. Whenever you can, it’s helpful to include links to Girl Scout resources, such as related sections of Volunteer Essentials, trainings in our Volunteer Learning Portal, or www.gsnorcal.org webpages.
- “What to do next” Section: At the end of each post, we like to include a “What to do next” section to encourage readers to get involved and learn more about the topic. This brief list of bullet points can contain any actionable steps or helpful links, such as “Share this post with a friend”, “Share your story in the comments section below”, or “Read [this article/link].”
- Images: You’re free to use your own personal photos in your post (granted that you own them and that you have subjects’ permission). We’ll provide you with a link to Box where you can upload your photos—when possible, high quality photos work best. Please don’t pull any stock photography or images from Pinterest—we have a GSUSA stock photo library that we use so that we can make sure everything we use is Girl Scouts-owned.
- A Brief Bio + Headshot: At the end of every post, we include a short bio (written in third person) and photo of the author (ideally a solo square-sized photo)—it helps people connect with you as they read your post!
General Topic Suggestions
From new troop leaders to seasoned veteran volunteers, The Trailhead attracts all types of Girl Scout volunteers. When brainstorming a blog post topic, think about common volunteer experiences or hardships where you can help provide some insider knowledge and you-can-do-it positivity. Here are a few topic ideas that will help you think of a creative topic of your own!
- Tips for helping volunteers have organized/purposeful troop meetings
- Tips for working with parents on dues, communicating, volunteering, etc.
- How to plan [insert Girl Scout event, award, or ceremony here]
- A step-by-step of how your troop earned a specific Journey, badge, or award
- Reasons why you think every troop should [travel, go to camp, earn X award, etc.]
- Service unit-specific tips
- Tips or step-by-step instructions for doing something related to your expertise (travel, higher awards, STEM, outdoor skills, etc.)
- Tips for leading a certain age-level or types of girls – Daisies, Older Girls, shy, quiet, over-excited, distracted, etc.
- How to support diversity in your troop or Service Unit, especially own-voices pieces
How the Editing Process Works
- Your final draft(as a Word doc), post photos, bio, and headshot will be due for feedback and editing 2 weeks before your post is scheduled to publish.
- Once MarComm receives your post, we’ll do a round of edits to make sure what you’ve written is congruent with our brand voice and guidelines. We’ll send it back to you for your final approval OR request additional content pieces. When your post is complete and approved by you, we’ll schedule it for publishing.
- Finally, as a token of our appreciation, we’ll send you an awesome Trailhead-exclusive patch!