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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.

Enabling parents, young people and potential volunteers to find a Scout Group to join is an important part of the organisation’s growth. In particular, this means enabling parents to find a Scout Group that meets their needs in terms of location and day of the week. They can then select a Group to contact through the Group finder, before providing basic contact details for follow up by a local volunteer.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since January 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 service user, I need to be able to quickly find a group in my area that meets my availability and location criteria
  • As a service user, I need to be able to contact the Scouts so that I can sign up to join
  • As a potential volunteer, I need to be able to fill in a simple form to express my interest so that I can find out more about joining the Scouts as a volunteer in my local area
  • As a volunteer recruiter, I need to receive the details provided in the form so that I can make contact with the parent or the potential volunteer to provide them with more information about Scout Groups in my area and how to join

Software and tools used


Mapbox is a mapping and location tool for developers that provides precise location data to build better navigation and search platforms. Mapbox is available across a number of platforms, including web and mobile. The solution will be particularly pertinent to larger charities, or charities working across multiple locations.


Mapbox offers a free subscription with limited functionality. For more advanced functionality, Mapbox offers a variety of paid subscriptions, which you can view here.


Mapbox has been designed for developers, so you will need to have developer knowledge within your organisation (or to onboard someone with this knowledge) to use it.

Mapbox allows charities to create sophisticated maps for free.

Mapbox allows you to create the map using your own brand colours so it looks like it’s part of your website.


Sendgrid is an automated emailing service developed by Twilio that provides a range of solutions to enable charities to create custom supporter communications. Features include email automation, signup forms, email design and list management capabilities.


A basic subscription to Sendgrid is free but does come with certain limits on functionality. Pricing information is available here.


You will need to have some developer knowledge in order to implement Sendgrid, therefore a worker without development skills could not use this easily without receiving the proper training.

The price is quite reasonable considering the solution’s advanced and powerful functionality.

Sendgrid can allow you to send more customisable emails.

Recipe steps

1. Understand the problem

Think about what the purpose of having this map is and how it will help to solve a problem within your charity.

Concentrate on the minimum viable product.

Consider your personas – are they service users or volunteers, or will both need to use the service? Think about what their individual needs are and their journey to interacting with a group.

2. Safeguarding

Consider what the safeguarding and data protection implications are – make sure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Ensure that you spend time securing buy-in for the project from a safeguarding lead within your organisation.

Consider what sharing information about the location of groups might mean for your organisation and how you can mitigate any risks.

3. Work out data flows

Understand where your data is held – this could be within your CRM or another data repository.

Make sure that the data from local units and groups is kept updated and plan how this will be done.

Make sure you have clean core data, especially if you are a large organisation.

4. Start prototyping

Test low fidelity wireframes at the beginning of this design process and conduct user testing at this stage.

You can do shorter and smaller sprints of user testing. Think about how you can talk to a small group of people to iron out any issues.

Continue user testing once you have higher resolution wireframes. Continue including your users during these earlier stages of implementation.

5. Work with a digital agency

Decide what technology you will need to build this service.

Your digital agency can scope out the build of the front and back end.

6. Conduct further testing

Test your product further with stakeholders whilst running user testing in parallel.

Your volunteers can provide their feedback on any issues within your platform that can be ironed out, that wouldn’t have been addressed by users.

Continue conversations with your head of safeguarding through development to ensure that safeguarding is built into project design.

7. Take the service live

Double-check the data flows, especially before pushing the map live.

Go to key stakeholders and ensure that they can double-check the data too.

Use data that you have collected through monitoring and measuring the map to continue iterating your service.


Really think about the purpose of this project. Don’t assume what you think users might want of you and this service, but really think about the ‘why’ before you start on this journey.

A project like this takes a lot of time and maintenance, so it really has to add value to your service.

If you are given a budget, use 50% of this to create the minimum viable product and perhaps use the other to iterate with it. Think about how you might need to deliver your service in a different way as time progresses.


Do a data impact assessment to mitigate the risks associated with safeguarding, data protection and GDPR.

You’re using technology that can only predominantly be used by developers, so if you want to iterate it, you have to use developers for this. In your decision making, think about the sustainability of your product after you’ve created your MVP.

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 27th, 2021. Last updated August 6th, 2021