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Contributed by
The Scouts


The Scouts provide 480,000 young people aged between 6 and 25 with skills for life through their network of Scout Groups, which are all led and run by volunteers.

The Scouts programme planner helps volunteers to create fun and engaging programmes based off of their badge framework. Instead of using paper methods to map out what activities they want to do, they can use digital methods to plan out the activities they want to run.

Volunteers can sift through ideas on the planner, click activities they want to include, and add them to their plan. Activity ideas can be filtered by needs, such as timeframe, group size, and choosing an activity that will help users achieve particular badges.

The planner is mainly used by volunteers who are relatively new to the Scouts to give them activity ideas as they start to lead sessions.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since November 2019.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe The Scouts’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a volunteer involved in programme planning, I need to create a balanced and fun programme
  • As a volunteer, I need to find activities that match the badge requirements so that young people can earn badges
  • As a volunteer, I need to refer to the programme during the session or at a later stage, so I can share with supporting volunteers or review as and when I need to

Software and tools used


Vue.js is an open-source front end JavaScript framework for building user interfaces and single-page applications.

The Scouts used a digital agency and freelance developers to build a planner into their website using this software.


Open-source software, Vue.js is free to use. However, there will be costs associated with hiring a digital agency or freelancer to use it.


The Scouts found the planner important because volunteers can pull the information about the activity and find it in one place. You can export a PDF of this page to take offline.

The planner was built bespoke, as it can be very difficult to find something like this ‘off the shelf’. If you want to improve the planner, then it has to go through development.

The Scouts built this planner on the basis of Scouts meeting face-to-face. It can be hard to adapt the planner to suit virtual activities.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics helps to track the way volunteers use the planner to understand popular activities and how the Scouts can ensure they provide more ideas that are relevant and interesting for volunteers to use.


Google Analytics is free to use.


The Scouts required a bespoke use of Google Analytics and therefore it took some time and effort to set up.

You should be thoughtful about exactly what data you want to receive so that you’re not overwhelmed with data that actually doesn’t come in handy.

Recipe steps

1. Focus on user needs

Commission research to get some user experience and service design information to help understand how volunteers plan programmes.

Find user needs from this research to inform your work.

2. Narrow down objectives

If you offer many activities, narrow down the activities that you’ll provide on the planner to those that best suit the user.

Focus on what group of volunteers will need this planner. For example, will the planner suit new volunteers who have just joined and are unsure about what activities to hold?

3. Conduct sprints

Conduct user testing with low-res wireframes and use feedback to implement into your design before testing high-res wireframes.

Get sign-off from your stakeholders following this user testing.

4. Develop the planner

Use a digital agency to work this planner into your website.

When approaching a digital agency, you need to be clear about what you want to achieve. This is more important than defining what you expect to be delivered.

Make sure you’re clear about what the user goals are and what the business goals are, but also be open to changing processes.

Have a clear product owner who has the autonomy to make decisions and works closely with the digital agency.

5. Gather feedback once live

Continue testing the service with volunteers to inform the iteration of your service.

Use data through the likes of Google Analytics to understand what parts of the planner are the most useful for volunteers.

Have conversations with volunteers and line managers about their thoughts and ideas for improvement with the planner.


Think about the user and hone down the needs that you’ll be able to cater to. You want to make sure the planner is not messy or confusing with too many options.

Be honest and open about the skills and resources you have in-house when working with a digital agency.


Not everyone has to use this, so it’s a fairly low risk service.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Rachel Wilkinson, Digital Product Manager


Many thanks to The Scouts for contributing this recipe.


This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and The Scouts and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on April 29th, 2021. Last updated August 6th, 2021