Transforming the volunteer experience for Scouts

Experience: Design and prototyping, Research and strategy

The Scout Association is one of the UK’s largest youth charities, offering fun and adventure to over 450,000 young people across the country while developing the practical, employability and character skills they need to succeed in life. As part of a wider digital transformation project, the Scouts wanted to develop a new digital platform to help volunteers donate their time and support them as they enable the Association’s wide variety of activities.

 

Young people in the Scouts take part in an exciting programme of activities from kayaking to coding. They develop character skills like resilience, initiative and tenacity; employability skills such as leadership, teamwork and problem solving; and practical skills like cooking and first aid. This is made possible by the efforts of over 150,000 adult volunteers, who are supported by around 350 staff at the Scouts’ headquarters. The Scouts wanted to completely redesign the online volunteer experience to improve engagement and retention, and create a program planning tool to support volunteers, including Scout leaders, to develop a balanced range of activities, challenges and experiences for young people to enjoy.

The Scout Association engaged Manifesto to build the product vision and strategy through UX and design, creating new digital experience and planning tool, co-locating with the Scout’s digital team and working in close collaboration with volunteers to iteratively design the new journeys.

 

What we did

Seeking to provide a truly collaborative approach, in which Manifesto would join and augment the Scouts’ in-house digital team, our strategists, UX and UI designers were co-located at the Scouts’ throughout the process.

 

Developing a product vision and strategy

We kicked off the process with an in-depth period of discovery, research and immersion, which included holding a number of workshops with various stakeholders within the organisation. Through these workshops the combined team was able to produce a vision for the product, personas and user journeys, guidelines for digital implementation of the brand, initial product sketches, content taxonomies, and a product roadmap and backlog. They also produced a delivery plan which made use of the sprint model to iteratively develop user experiences and journeys with feedback from real volunteers.

 

Co-designing the product with volunteers

Volunteers are one of the most important audiences for the Scouts. Utilising their knowledge and insight was crucial. To do this, we embarked upon an iterative UX and design process, creating a comprehensive testing strategy to gather feedback from various levels of the volunteer community at every stage. This involved testing wireframes, prototypes and designs with real volunteers to gauge the effectiveness of different design approaches, features (such as the programme planner) and user journeys, helping us iterate over successful designs to ensure that the new product was useable, useful and valuable to volunteers.

As we mapped the customer experience and developed a design toolkit, pattern library and key page templates, we also subjected our work to multiple rounds of stakeholder review to ensure that the final product met the internal needs of the The Scout Association.

 

Aligning a complex, multi-partner build process

Our combined Manifesto-Scouts UX and design team formed just one part of a wider sprint team which included not only the Scouts’ in-house front-end development team but an external team of developers working on the product’s back end. To ensure that the work of these many partners remained aligned, we followed our favoured sprint model which saw all teams reconvene at regular intervals to review the work of the last sprint and plan the work for the next. 

How it went

We handed over a complete set of designs, wireframes and prototypes, all comprehensively tested and well-received by the volunteer community. Throughout the extensive user testing the general consensus was very positive, with many from the movement expressing appreciation at being so closely involved in the design process.

This was the delivery of the first phase of a wider digital transformation programme at The Scout Association. The Scouts will continue listening to their volunteer network, gathering feedback and developing the product to meet their needs. Following this phase, the next priority will be improving the onboarding experience for volunteers, before moving on to other key audiences, including Beavers, Cubs and Scouts themselves.

 

How this helps us on your project

Our aim is to act as a genuine partner to your organisation, gaining a full understanding of your vision, ambitions, objectives and audiences to recommend activities that will develop insight and deliver value for money. Our extensive UX and UI design experience has been amassed over the course of many successful partnerships in both the private and not-for-profit sectors.

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