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Opportunity Catalog

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Volunteer Systems Project

What’s the buzz all about?  So, you’ve been hearing a lot about “the new system” “CEI” or “The Opportunity Catalog,” and maybe you’re wondering what it’s all about. Well, you may recall that GSNEO has been working really hard, along with councils around the country, to improve the way we do business.

The Goal…

It’s about all of us. The Customer Engagement Initiative (CEI) utilizes Salesforce technology, a pretty big cloud-based company with a lot of resources for membership registration and customer support. CEI involves the implementation of a new website that features the same powerful Girl Scout branding used throughout the country – but with the local content and resources you need; an amazing, user-friendly Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) that is designed to help K-5 troops communicate, plan and stay organized; a whole new Customer Care staff team that is prepared to answer almost all of your questions on the spot; and the Opportunity Catalog within CEI simplifies the process for girls and adults to find troops and volunteer opportunities in their community! These changes impact everything we do and every one of us through newly aligned people, processes, and systems.  

 

Opportunity Catalog FAQ’s

What is the Opportunity Catalog?

The Opportunity Catalog in an online listing of opportunities for girl and adult members.

It’s a lot like shopping online, something we’ve all done at some point, right? The Opportunity Catalog makes it easier for parents and caregivers to search for troop openings by zip code. It also makes it easier for troop leaders to advertise ways for family members to get involved in their troop. Troop leaders will receive an instant email notification (with contact information) when a new member joins the troop or a parent or caregiver expresses interest in volunteering.

How does the Opportunity Catalog work?

The Opportunity Catalog is easy to use!

First, troops decide how many girls they would like to have in the troop.  Then, we subtract the total number of girls currently in the troop from that number to determine the “girl vacancies.” So, let’s say a troop’s desired number of girls is (12), and currently there are (10) girls in the troop. That means there are (2) girl vacancies in the troop. Those two girl vacancies go on the Opportunity Catalog so that a parent or caregiver who is looking for a troop can see that there is space in the troop and can then select that vacancy online in the Opportunity Catalog.

It looks like this:

 

How do I know if a new girl joins my troop?

Great question! When a new girl joins a troop, the leader will get an email notification.

This email will prompt the leader to reach out and welcome the new Girl Scout to the troop. This connection is really important because it’s warm, and friendly, and gives the leader an opportunity to share important next steps, including meeting dates, times and location.

How do I add a girl to my troop?

If you would like to invite a friend to join the troop (girl or adult volunteer), just have them visit gsneo.org and click on “Join Today” or “Volunteer Now.”

The process will walk them right through becoming a member, completing the background check (for volunteers), and selecting the appropriate troop and/or volunteer opportunity. To make it easy for them to find your troop on the Opportunity Catalog make sure they have the troop number (all 5 digits), you might also mention that there is no space between the letters and numbers when they are looking for the troop (Ex: Troop12345). As long as there are vacancies in the troop, the new members will find them in the Opportunity Catalog and can easily join.

What information will be included in my Opportunity Catalog listing?

Since girls and volunteers will be looking for troops in their areas, the listing will include when and where your troop meets, the troop number, and troop age/grade level. We never list the exact location of a troop meeting, but do give a general sense of the location to help families select a troop that works best for their schedules and locations. If you meet at a person’s house or other private location, you may choose to identify a nearby intersection or landmark. You can also write a troop description, which allows you to share the interests and passions of your troop (such as camp or community service projects) so that girls with common interests can join! Pretty cool … right?

What if I don’t know the new girl who joins our troop? What about new volunteers?

Oh yeah, this is a perhaps the best part – you know, make new friends, and all that!

Since the system is searchable by zip code, we expect that most parents will enroll their daughter in the area where they live or near the school she attends. Because parents will select troops whose meeting dates and times fit their schedules, our hope is that more parents will also choose to volunteer. For new volunteers that are not parents, they have already gone through the background screening process. We also encourage you to reach out to the new volunteer to discuss his or her new role before the first meeting.

Please let your Community Membership Executive (CME) know if you have specific concerns.

I’m considering advertising in the Opportunity Catalog; what is the recommended troop size?

We recommend 12 girls per troop to provide a diverse, interactive experience for the girls.

When and how do I submit information so my troop can be included in the Opportunity Catalog?

Fill out the Troop Changes form to provide us with your troop size, meeting information, and location. We’ll add your troop to the Opportunity Catalog – and simply resubmit the same form if you need to update your listing. Please allow one week for processing. For immediate updates contact GSNEO Customer Care at 1-800-852-4474, your CME, or CustomerCare@GSNEO.org.

What am I committing to by adding my troop to the Opportunity Catalog?

The goal of the Opportunity Catalog is to help more girls who want to be in a Girl Scout troop find one. Because Girl Scouts is inclusive of all girls, once you commit to opening your troop up to new girls and volunteers, your troop must accept the new girl(s) who enroll until you reach the capacity you have selected for your troop.

What if I have an opening mid-year?

The Opportunity Catalog is updated regularly, so please let us know whenever you have changes to your meeting location or troop availability.

What if I don’t know whether or not my girls are returning in the fall?

We understand that figuring out the intentions of every girl in the spring is hard work, but think about it this way: If a girl’s membership is renewed in the spring, and she then decides not to return to the troop, she is still a Girl Scout! Being a Girl Scout has many benefits. She has access to discounted tickets and community events, she’ll get the GSNEO e-news and information about council-sponsored programs, and she can even work on her highest awards as an individually registered member.

It’s a best practice for the girls to decide and budget for a portion of their product sales proceeds to cover the annual membership fee for all the girls, and even the required volunteers. This methodology promotes financial independence; after all, the annual membership dues are a required expense.

What happens if girls don’t renew by September 30?

First, renewal is an important annual task that needs to be completed in the spring, preferably in April. Second, if the members of your troop participated in the product sale(s), they have most likely earned the funds needed to renew their membership for the next year. Please consider renewing girls who are undecided. Oftentimes, girls will return after a busy fall season of extracurricular activities.

If any of the existing members do not renew by September 30, their spots will be opened up to anyone looking for a troop in your area. For example: if the troops desired number of girls is (12), and the troop has (12) but (2) girls don’t renew before September 30, then the troop will have (2) girl vacancies on the Opportunity Catalog beginning October 1.

But don’t despair – any girls who are currently in the troop can renew well into the new membership year. Please encourage them to complete their registration before other girls fill their spots. Returning girls have until March 1 to renew to the troop, even if there are no spots available. This is a consideration for the troop leadership team. If lapsed girls return after October 1, they may overfill the troop. Here’s the solution… don’t let any members lapse!

Can I opt out of the Opportunity Catalog?

Admittedly, this question is a tough one because it indicates there may be fears or concerns about this new process. Our hope is to help you overcome those concerns, so let us know more about how you’re feeling and we’ll talk about it! The short answer though, is no – all girls and volunteers join and find their troop or volunteer role through the Opportunity Catalog. So, if you’re open to new members you can’t “opt out” of the Opportunity Catalog.

When we explore this question with volunteers, we hear that troop leaders are afraid to display opportunities because they want to use discretion about who they let in the troop. We hear this comment a lot, so we know that this is a real concern, but here’s the thing: Girl Scouting is open to all girls. We really shouldn’t pick and choose who gets to be in a troop – it’s just not what we stand for. We know that sometimes the reason for wanting to “screen” girls is because of another underlying issue; perhaps it’s known that the girl exhibits behavioral issues at school or the family doesn’t have the best reputation in the community. Sometimes it’s because the troop is affiliated with a particular organization and wishes for its members to belong to the affiliate (this happens a lot in church affiliated troops). Let’s team up on these things – you’re not in this alone. For every fear, we have a story of hope; a girl who finally finds a place where she has a sense of belonging and is accepted, a family that fits in for the first time. It’s what we’re about; friendly, helpful, considerate, caring – a safe place, for all girls – we know you agree.

Are there any changes in the immediate future?

Yes, yes, yes…The CEI system and its processes are evolving every day – improvements are the constant change.

Our intention is that every change leads to improvement. We expect that sometime in the next calendar year K-5 troops will be able to update their own troop information via the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). When that happens we won’t need the Troop Changes form anymore. You’ll be able to update your desired number of girls and the troop meeting time, place, etc… at least that’s our expectation today – the future is yet to be seen!