Girl Scouts of Japan is a nationwide organization, consisting of 47 Local Councils and about 40,000 members. It is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts which is the largest voluntary Movement dedicated to girls and young women. The Girl Scouts organization supports and empowers girls and young women to achieve their fullest potential through non-formal education.
As a nationwide organization, Girl Scouts of Japan had challenges to maintain clear communication across members. With numerous groups and members of various ages, they needed an efficient and secure business system to ensure that all groups are aligned and that personal information about minors is kept secure. As the umbrella organization for local councils, their files contain personal information about the girls and young women in each troop and council, as well as the adults who act as their Leaders. With locations spread across the country, monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of activities is important. Troop Leaders and local council report back to Girl Scouts of Japan on attendance, events frequency, and other impact metrics to ensure their organization as effective as possible. With limited resources, they needed a solution that they could easily implement nationwide across their diverse local council locations.
With a “Girl Scouts spirit” of trying something new without fear, Girl Scouts of Japan has integrated the suite of Google for Nonprofits products to drive efficiency across their many local councils and groups. First, they started using Google Workspace to align business operations across their local councils. By embedding forms on their website, they are able to provide e-learning programs through Google Forms to Girl Scout members. E-learning program provided opportunity for wider range of members to learn knowledge on Girl Scouting and skills to develop Leadership. While the Girl Scouts program has existed for over a century, Girl Scouts of Japan has modernized their work by using Google Form quizzes to help girls and young women increase their knowledge and skills, while gaining badges from local councils around the country.
The staff at Girl Scouts of Japan has various levels of technical knowledge, and products like Forms and Sheets allow them to easily share information and get data summaries without manual inputs. Since they are an umbrella organization for local councils, Google Workspace allows them to share documents only with users who should have access for each local branch, allowing for improved privacy measures. Since files can now be shared across local councils, each troop can share best practices, team building activities, and other activities to further their work. With Gmail, their previous concerns with spam mail, malware, and other security issues have been reduced through Google’s privacy settings. By setting up Google Sites, various local councils and members can access relevant information like Troop Leader training and handbooks. This allows for real time updates and information to be quickly shared across the local councils and members supported by Girl Scouts of Japan.
Not only has Google for Nonprofits’ products resulted in improvements of internal business operations, but recently Girl Scouts Japan has leveraged Google for Nonprofits for external outreach and communications. With AdGrants and YouTube they are actively building an online presence to gain new members and share the incredible work and events held in each location. Their YouTube videos help illustrate the work they do to empower girls and young women including team-building activities, singalongs, and local summer camps.
To share information and ultimately increase the number of people attending their events, they use Google Maps to help non-members who are interested in Girl Scouting easily find events happening all over Japan. They also use Google Maps APIs available through the Earth Outreach program to provide a global view of their impact to current members, as well as potential new members. By combining Google Maps APIs and YouTube, they created a Virtual Tour of five Girl Scout facilities around the globe. This encourages a global perspective, and lets their members feel part of a larger community around the world.
The Google for Nonprofit tools not only help keep the Girl Scouts of Japan programs organized and efficient, but also help visualize their important work to encourage and empower girls and young women.
Rumiko Meguro, GSJ head office, PR and Fundraising team
As a large nation-wide organization, scaling efforts has been essential to success. Their e-learning program - content determined by a Google Form - allowed for over 7,000 members to be trained on anything from knowledge on Girl Scouting to life skills. From a financial standpoint, Google Workspace has allowed for higher quality security systems that can easily be implemented across multiple locations.
Using Google Workspace has improved their operational efficiency considerably. Previously, only some of the staff used Google products partly but Google Workspace had not been installed throughout the organization yet. So, they had to maintain multiple email accounts which could be a potential security risk. Once the organization migrated to Google Workspace each member of staff only had one account for all of their operational needs that they could access from anywhere - removing the risk of losing that employee’s documents if they left. Google Workspace allows them to manage their users in-house, making updates to their large organization’s staff quickly and efficiently. Previously, a staff member in charge of the org’s information and communication technology system had to request account change requests, such as adding new members or deleting a retired employee’s account, by asking the external vendor via spreadsheet. This allows them to spend less time on the core operations of their organization, and focus more time on their efforts expanding to reach more girls and young women and continue their program’s work.
Google for Nonprofits tools also widened the visibility of their organization and their efforts to support girls and young women and their development. Previously, their events were listed on a page on the website - covering dozens of events in a long list that attendees had to click through. With Google Maps they were able to embed a map on their website and update with events in real time. Each event is color coded, by month or theme (like “Girl Scouts Day”) to help people who are interested in Girl Scouting quickly find local events to attend. By integrating events on Google Maps and visualizing their location, they’ve increased event attendance with over 18,000 views on event information. Potential members no longer have to search to find their nearest meeting, but rather can easily pull up the map and find an opportunity to connect with one another.
Sharing the important work that they do and visualizing their impact on girls and young women is essential to the success of Girl Scouts of Japan. Ad Grants has improved their online presence, leading to over 3,000 monthly visitors to their website, causing a 500% increase in visitors in just two months. For global campaigns like “Stop the Violence” they created ads encouraging gender equality and protection from violence, to raise awareness and increase media coverage of the campaign in Japan. Similarly, their YouTube channel features a playlist of Girl Scouts playing the patty-cake “I’ll Think of You” - written by Kurt Schneider, as a team building activity. Many local councils and groups provided a video - with 43 contributions so far. These are used to show examples of activities Girl Scouts do, as well as drive potential new members to the website through cards and annotations. With over 20,000 views on some videos, YouTube has been a driver in displaying the work they do to support and empower girls and young women.
Girl Scouts of Japan has dozens of programs - from a self esteem program co-developed by WAGGGS and DOVE, to a Stop the Violence campaign to support reducing violence against women, to various camps and events around the country. The Google for Nonprofit tools not only help keep these programs organized and efficient, but also help visualize their important work to encourage and empower girls and young women.