1 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
As good as our word
Our tone of voice guidelines
Version: March 2020
2 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
We’ll cover...
2 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
• Webpageforparents
• Webpageformembers
• Emailtomembers
• Fromanewsletter
• Fromanannualreport
• Fromacampaigningtoolkit
• Fromanapplicationpack
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
Our house style
Inclusive language
Punctuation
Look and layout
Glossary of common terms
Girlguiding messaging
Good writing checklist
A helping hand
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3 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Section 1
Our tone of voice
4 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Whenever we communicate for Girlguiding, we want to sound true to ourselves. We can do
this by using language that lets our personality and humanity come through. Our words should
consistentlyreectwhowearetoday.
We each give people an impression of the kind
of person we are through the words we use.
For example, youd have a different
view of someone who greeted you with this:
Than you would if
someone said this:
And it’s the same with organisations. The language we use when we communicate plays an
important role in the emotional connections people make with us. Or perhaps dont make
with us.
Theres another reason why our tone of voice is so important. It’s vital to get our messages
across clearly and consistently.
We want reading every Girlguiding communication to be a pleasant experience. Useful and
enjoyable. So we need to keep our intended readers in mind and think about how best to
communicate with them.
These guidelines will help you to write consistently in our tone of voice and house style. And
this in turn will help our messages hit home and our personality and values shine through.
Why tone of voice matters
Hello, its a pleasure
to meet you.
Hey,
how’s it going?
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
5 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
OuraimistogiveeveryonewhowritesforGirlguidingthecondencetocommunicateina
waythatreectsourpersonalityasayouthcharityintoday’sworld:
We’re credible – a solid organisation with a long and much-loved pedigree
We’re adventurous – full of fun and constantly adapting to help young women step
condentlyintotheirfutures
We’re welcoming – we embrace all girls and young women. Their voices, dreams and
worries are our guiding light
To bring who we are to life whenever we communicate, our tone of voice has three
characteristics:
1. Straight talking – we tell it like it is
2. Enthusiastic – our writing has a spring in its step and a twinkle in its eye
3. In tune – were empathetic and helpful
Lets look at each of these in more detail.
1. Were straight talking
Werehonestandstraightforward.Wegettothepointandsaywhatwemean.Wedontuff
things up or pad them out – or hide behind our own jargon. We tell it like it is - plain and
simple. And this openness builds trust and credibility.
Sounding like real people when we write helps us come across as approachable and down to
earth.
Being straight talking
reectsourvaluesofbeingempowering and inclusive. When our
messagesareclearandeasytofollow,thishelpseveryonetondtheinformationtheyneed
to get on with their day.
See techniques for sounding straight talking
Our tone of voice
6 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
2. Were enthusiastic
Girlguiding is full of adventures, big and small. We play together; we laugh together. We inspire
each other. We care about what we do, and this passion shows in the enthusiasm in our voice.
Wehaveopinions,andwesharethem.Werenotafraidtochallengeortotalkaboutdifcult
things, but we do this from a place of love and respect.
Were not standing still as an organisation; and our communications have a certain pace and
energythatreectsourdrive.
Sounding enthusiastichelpsusreectourvaluesofbeingchallenging, inspiring and fun.
See techniques for sounding enthusiastic
3. Were in tune
Were welcoming and approachable - and tuned in to peoples needs, especially young
peoples. We embrace all girls and young women. We listen; we empathise; we show we care.
We have each others backs. Were all in this together, and we like it that way.
So we always write with a clear sense of who were speaking to, and why what were saying
matters to them. We show people that we know how they feel – and make sure our
communicationsttheaudienceandthesituation.
Sounding in tunehelpsusreectourvaluesofbeingcaring and inclusive.
See techniques for sounding in tune
Whatever we write, and whoever our audience is, we want these three voice characteristics to
come through. Lets look at some techniques that will help us do this.
7 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
Sounding straight talking is about being:
Conversational
Open and honest
Refreshingly clear and simple
We dont take it too far. We never sound brusque, simplistic or rude.
How to sound straight talking
So instead of this…
Guiding within the United Kingdom is organised
into a number of geographical areas to provide
support, lines of two-way communication and
opportunities for young members, leaders and
commissioners to make decisions and take
responsibility.
We’d write
Were organised along geographical lines in the UK
to give our members clear lines of communication
and support, and plenty of chances to act.
Three ways to sound straight talking
1. Use everyday language
2. Get to the point
3. Imagine its a conversation
1. Use everyday language
We always want to sound approachable, and
to have a certain energy to our words. We
want to make readers feel like were talking
to them. So we write like people speak.
This means using everyday words instead of
formal language and Girlguiding jargon.
This applies to all of our communications –
even things about serious subjects, like
reports or job offers – and especially when
we talk about our campaigning work. Using
everyday language, instead ofcampaign-
speak, is an important way of making our
advocacy work feel accessible and inviting
to all of our members.
Instead of We say
amend change
assist help
contact get in touch
enquire ask
fundraising
raising money
provide give
8 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
2. Get to the point
We dont beat around the bush. Whatever our message, we get right to it – with a healthy dose
of empathy for the person at the other end.
Wealsorespectpeoplestimebybeingconcise.Thisgivesourwritingclarityandcondence.
We make every word count - if its not adding anything to the message or the tone, delete it.
3. Imagine it’s a conversation
Why does what youre writing matter to the other person? How might they feel about it? How
would you put it to them if they were sitting right in front of you? Start with this in mind.
We ask the occasional question and address people directly with ‘you. We use contractions (such
as ‘dont’ instead of ‘do not’ or ‘well’ instead of ‘we will) in writing, like we do in speech. And
wesometimesstartoursentenceswith‘and’or‘but’ifithelpstheowofwhatwerewriting.
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
So instead of this…
No matter what your guiding role, you will
be working with data.
This means its vital that you understand the
core principles of data protection, and know
how to implement them in everyday guiding.
So instead of this…
We continue to recommend that all girls and young women are
supported to attend the programme most appropriate for their
age however we recognise that for some members with
disabilities transitioning to the next stage of Girlguiding may
present additional challenges.
We might say
We know that adjusting to
the next stage of Girlguiding
can be challenging for
young people with
disabilities.
Wed write something like…
Do you know how to keep everyones data safe?
People trust us with their details and personal
information. So it’s vital to stay up to date on
how to keep data safe in your day-to-day
guiding work.
9 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
How to sound enthusiastic
Sounding enthusiastic is about being:
Condent
Bold
Energetic
Were careful not to go too far and sound brash, inappropriate or over the top. And
sounding enthusiastic doesnt just mean adding an exclamation mark.
So instead of this…
What makes guiding special?
We are for all girls.
We are for all girls and young women, whatever
their background and circumstances, offering them
fun, exciting activities and the chance to make
life-long friends.
We’d say
Were for all girls
Youre welcome here. Whoever you are.
And wherever youre from. Girlguiding is
for every girl and young woman who
wants to have adventures, learn, laugh
and make friends for life.
Three ways to sound enthusiastic
1. Keep sentences focused and pacy
2.Putpeoplerst,usingactivelanguage
3. Be yourself, and dont be afraid to show an opinion or use humour where it feels right
1. Keep sentences focused and pacy
Short, focused sentences will give your writing energy and clarity. Aim for no more than 15 to
20 words. Try to stick to one idea per sentence, as this helps to keep the meaning crystal
clear.Andputthemostimportantinformationrst.
Keepyourparagraphssnappy,too:aroundfourorvelinesmax.
Varying the length of your sentences can help give your writing pace and rhythm. And the
occasional short sentence can add impact. Like this.
10 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
2.Putpeoplerst,usingactivelanguage
Using active language (instead of passive) puts people front and centre. In practice, this means
thinking about who the ‘doer’ is in a sentence and starting with them. Your sentences will
sound livelier as a result, and youll naturally use a lot more words like ‘you, ‘we’ and ‘our.
Passive: A toolkit has been created…
Active: We’ve created a toolkit
3. Be yourself
We want to come across as real people when we communicate – authentic and likeable. Using
conversational language when we write will help to give our communications a human voice.
We can also show a little of our own personality – perhaps with a colourful phrase, a story, or
even a little humour. Be yourself. Have fun (as long as its appropriate). People will know and
appreciate that youre a real person – and that you want to come across as one.
So instead of
The decision was made to review the structure of
the national staff team in order to ensure that staff
resource was concentrated on the priorities of the
new strategy.
So instead of
As part of Girlguidings commitment to
maintaining a safe space in guiding, disclosure
checkswillberenewedeveryveyears.We
are contacting you to notify you that your
disclosure check for your role(s) in guiding
needs to be renewed by Friday 21 May.
We’d say
We restructured our national
team to deliver our new strategy
effectively.
We might write
From time to time we have to do things in
Girlguiding that might not be particularly
enjoyable, but that are necessary to keep our
girls safe. One of these is renewing our
disclosurecheckseveryveyears.
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
11 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
Sounding in tune is about being:
Welcoming
Approachable
Thoughtful
We take care to never come across as overly familiar, patronising or gushy.
How to sound in tune
Three ways to sound in tune
1. Acknowledge why things matter using warmth and empathy
2.Show,insteadoftelling-withstories,realvoicesandspecicexamples
3.Helppeoplendkeyinfothroughgoodsignposting:clearheadings,lists,linksandcallstoaction
1. Acknowledge why things matter using warmth and empathy
We show our readers we understand them by acknowledging what they’re likely to be thinking
orfeeling,wherewecan.Butwerecarefulnottomakeassumptions–itsanebalance.
We also focus on the impact of what were talking about on our audience. For example, if
were explaining a change in safety processes to parents/carers, we say clearly whats
changing and why and how it will help.
Not only does this make it clear that we can see things from their point of view, but it also
helps us make sure were writing in a way thats meaningful and appropriate to our audience.
So instead of
Girlguiding offers fun, challenge and adventure to
our young members in the UK. We know that young
people thrive in safe surroundings so Girlguiding
takes the safety of girls and young women very
seriously and has an excellent reputation for
providing a safe environment for members to enjoy
both indoor and outdoor activities.
We might say
Safety is at the heart of everything we do.
So you can rest easy knowing that when
you wave your young one goodbye on her
next camping trip or weekly unit meeting,
shes in safe hands. Because we know that
when girls feel safe, they feel brave enough
to do things they never thought they could.
12 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
2. Show, instead of telling
Wealwayswanttoreectandcelebratethefun,variedandinclusiveexperienceof
Girlguiding. One of the best ways to do this is to paint a picture of what Girlguiding is like – to
usedescriptionandevocativelanguagetomakethingsspecicandrealforouraudience.So
instead of talking about something in the abstract, we give examples, tell stories and bring
the real voices of our guides and volunteers to the forefront.
3.Helppeoplendkeyinfothroughgoodsignposting
Think up front about the essential things you want your reader to know. Then make these stand
out by putting them in places people will easily see them: at the starts of sentences and
paragraphs – and in titles, headings, links and lists.
If youre writing something longer and more complicated, its also useful to ‘layer’ your
information – moving from a summary of the key points through to more detail. This gives
people the option to read to the level of detail they need.
It also helps us keep our communications as accessible as possible for people with learning
disabilities.
See the next page for an example:
So instead of this…
Being a guide is all about having the
space to try new things. Through taking
part in a range of different activities
with girls their own age, Guides
developself-condenceandmakelots
of new friends.
We might write
We run, slide, climb, row, walk, paddle, skip and
whizz our way through challenging activities. We
laugh all the way and encourage each other to keep
on going, ignore the mud on our faces, and never
mind which one of us capsizes the canoe or
stumbles on the slack line.
13 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 1: Our tone of voice
Why tone of voice matters
Our tone of voice
How to sound straight talking
How to sound enthusiastic
How to sound in tune
Back to contents page
So instead of writing this…
Your units trial invoice is now live.
You have until noon on Tuesday 7
March to check it. If the number or
names of the girls shown on your
invoice is incorrect please amend
their records on GO! or speak to your
commissioner if the volunteer
records need changing. Youll be able
to view the updated invoice from
10am the following day and the
ofcialinvoicewillbereadyfor
you to download from noon on
Thursday 9 March.
Wed write something like this…
Your unit’s trial invoice is ready for you.
• Pleasecheckyourinvoicebeforenoonon
Tuesday 7 March.
• Ifyouspotanythingthatneedscorrecting,
update the girls’ records on GO or speak to your
commissioner about volunteer details straight
away.
• Youcanrecheckyourcorrectedinvoiceany
time from 10am the next day.
• Yourofcialinvoicewillbereadytodownload
at noon on Thursday 9 March.
14 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Section 2
Our voice in action
15 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
While we always want to sound straight talking, enthusiastic and in tune, we may sometimes
wantto‘ex’ourtone,dependingonwhatwerewritingandwhowerewritingto.Wecan
do this by putting more emphasis on one or two of the characteristics, while toning down
others.
For example, in emails to members we might want to dial up the straight talking and in
tune elements of how we sound. While on our website and social media, we can be more
enthusiastic to help us capture peoples attention.
The following examples will help you see how we can apply our tone of voice to different
types of writing.
Flexing our tone
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
All the ‘before’ examples in this guide are genuine examples from Girlguiding communications.
16 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Whatever inspires your daughter,
whatever her interests,
Girlguiding offers the chance
to develop her potential
Who does your daughter want to be when she grows up?
Whethershealreadyhasaclearidea,orifsheisstilllookingtondout,we’llbetheretosupportbothofyou
on the journey.
When your daughter becomes a Rainbow, Brownie, Guide or Ranger she will join a group of girls her own age and
will be led by our carefully trained and dedicated volunteers. Whatever inspires your daughter, whatever her
passions and interests, Girlguiding offers her the chance to develop her potential, make friends and have fun.
For example, through regular group meetings or at special events and trips she might:
Conquer her fears on the abseil tower
Gainaleadershipqualication
Try out new games and sports
Attendherrsteversleepover
Support other girls to learnaboutbodycondence
Campaign for the rights of girls all over the world
Putupherrsttent
Go canoeing
Go on an international adventure
Learn skills that will boost her CV
Do a musical performance
Try her hand at car maintenance
Orgotoherrsteverfestival,our girls-only event Wellies and Wristbands.
Girlguiding is unique
We offer a safe, welcoming girl-only space for girls and young women to try new things, help other people
and discover their passions and talents. All while having fun with a group of ready-made friends!
We’re dedicated to girls leading the way - they choose activities, challenges and events that inspire them,
and our volunteers support them to make it happen. Because girls shape and lead everything we do, we
know that we’re offering the best opportunities and experiences for girls today.
HOW GUIDING
BENEFITS GIRLS
Webpage for parents – original version
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
Is this kind of language
likely to engage or
create emotion?
Hasn’t this point already
been made on this
page?
We need to make sure
every word and phrase is
adding something – is
this one? (Would we
expect people to be
uncarefully trained? And
aren’t volunteers by
definition dedicated?)
Slightly odd wording in
‘support other girls to
learn about’ – does this
mean to teach other
girls?
Speaking directly to
parents, which is good –
but where’s the energy in
develop her potential’?
And using ‘daughter’ may
exclude some people
(carers)
How many people join
Girlguiding to help with
career choices? This
seems a slightly odd
angle to focus on…
Feels a bit repetitive
– haven’t we read this
before?
The underlying message
here is a good one. But
the sentences could do
with more energy and
pace
Do we need this level of
detail here?
Do we want people to
leave this page at this
point? This link also takes
us to an Activity finder
page, not to a page
about games and sports
as you’d expect
View toned-up version
17 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Webpage for parents – toned-up version
Adventures for life
Whether she joins as a bright-eyed little Rainbow, in her teens or in between, she’ll learn, laugh, play, grow
and make friends in Girlguiding.
On our guiding programmes, she might…
Try her hand at new games and sports
Putupherrsttent
Learn to keep a car running like a dream
Hearherfavouritebandsatherrsteverfestival,our girls-only event Wellies and Wristbands
Splash out in a canoe or kayak
Connect with girls in other countries and have an international adventure
Learn what it takes to be a leader
And much, much more.
Girlguiding is...
Shaped by girls
We give them a safe and welcoming space to grow and have fun. Alongside other girls and skilled volunteer
leaders, she’ll be able to choose the activities she loves doing and to try new things. Girls set their own
direction, and they give us ours. That’s why we’ve refreshed our programme and activities, based on what
girls have told us, to help them thrive in today’s world.
Home > Information for parents > Guiding’s good for girls
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
GUIDING’S
GOOD FOR GIRLS
What she’ll get out of guiding
Short, energetic heading
Short, impactful
sentence
We’re still speaking to
parents here
To the point, clear and
inviting
Concise and compelling
heading that focuses
on a key thing that girls
get out of guiding
Everyday, descriptive
language gives this
sentence energy and
clarity
A shorter, more
manageable list that still
paints a picture of the
variety of activities
View original version
18 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Girlguiding’s public liability insurance gives you cover
for guiding activities
It protects Girlguiding and our members against claims of negligence by Girlguiding, or persons acting on
Girlguiding’s behalf, that causes damage to third party property or injury to third parties. The cover includes
the cost of legal action.
Who is covered?
The policy covers Girlguiding members, or anyone acting on behalf of Girlguiding, while taking part in a
recognised guiding activity. As a member, you do not have to be in guiding wear for our policy to cover you,
but you must adhere to all rules and policies associated with the activity - otherwise any claim may be
invalidated.
The policy is in respect of acts by members of Girlguiding and does not cover acts of members of other
organisations when participating in joint activities. These people should have their own public liability
insurance.
Details of our policy
There is an excess of £100 in respect of third party property damage.
All our members can be considered third parties.
You can show that you are covered by displaying the publicliabilityinsurancecerticate.
Why might I need to show I am covered?
Itisusefultohavethecerticateavailableformanyaspectsofrunningyourunit.Somemeetingplaces
requireacopyofthepublicliabilityinsurancecerticatebeforelettingyouhire.Also,youmightneedto
showthecerticateifyouareholdingastandatanevent.
Webpage for members – original version
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
It’s a small detail…but
we can only learn more
if we’ve already learned
something. We don’t
really need ‘more’ in
this phrase
Does this paragraph
sound like Girlguiding
or like something out of
an insurance policy? It’s
long and full of jargon…
The formal wording (‘in
respect of acts’) is
affecting clarity and
tone
The voice on this page is
switching back and forth
from Girlguiding’s (our
policy) to the reader’s
(I need to)
PUBLIC LIABILITY
INSURANCE
Learn more about our
public liability insurance
policy for members and
what it covers
The cost of legal action
for who?
A missing contraction
(‘don’t) gives this a
formal, slightly stiff tone
Does this phrase add
anything? Isn’t the page
speaking to members?
So what does this really
mean for members?
Why not simply say ‘for’?
View toned-up version
19 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
WE’VE GOT
YOU COVERED
How we insure our members
against public liability
Accidents do happen…
Eventothebestofus.Sowehavepublicliabilityinsurancetoprotectus–andyou–ifsomeone
(a ‘third party’) makes a claim for damages or injury caused by negligence. The policy covers legal
costs, too.
Who is covered?
Any member of Girlguiding who’s acting on our behalf on a guiding activity. You don’t have to be wearing
a guiding uniform to be covered. But you do have to be working in line with our rules and policies for the
insurance to be valid.
Members of other organisations joining us in activities should have their own insurance.
Make sure everyone’s protected
If you’re hiring a venue, check that the venue owner has their own public liability cover for up to £5
million.Youmayneedtosignahireagreementtoconrmcover.
If you’re holding a joint event, make sure the other organisation has a similar level of public liability
insurance to Girlguiding.
When you’re running an activity, always check that the activity provider has public liability cover for up
to £5 million.
Good to know…
There’s a £100 excess payable for third-party property damage claims.
Any member can be considered a third party – in other words, you could make a claim if, say, your
property is damaged during a Girlguiding activity.
You can downloadacerticate to prove that you’re covered by public liability insurance. This might be
useful when you’re hiring a venue or a stand at an event.
Webpage for members – toned-up version
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
Snappy and reassuring
Clear and to the point –
if you click on this you
know what you’re going
to be reading
Down to earth, inclusive
start to the page
Natural, everyday
language helps make
messages easy to follow
A clear heading that’s
also a call to action
Immediately brings the
reader into the picture
(you), instead of talking
about them as if they
aren’t there (members)
Keeps language
conversational, but
provides legal term where
necessary
More helpful link wording
View original version
20 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
NoticationofDisclosureCheckRequired
Dear <name>
As part of Girlguiding’s commitment to maintaining a safe space in guiding, disclosure checks will be renewed
everyveyears.Wearecontactingyoutonotifyyouthatyourdisclosurecheckforyourrole(s)inguidingneeds
to be renewed by <date>.
PleasecontactyourcommissionerorlocalIDveriertomakearrangementsforanewdisclosurechecktobe
undertaken.YoucanndtheircontactdetailsusingtheAreaContactDetailsreportonGO!.Ifyouhavenot
undertaken a re-check within the next two months, you will be sent another reminder email.
We encourage all volunteers to undertake a new disclosure check as soon as possible to ensure that you can
continue in your role in guiding. If you have changed your role then please speak to your local commissioner who
will ensure your GO! Record is updated. At this current time you are still able to attend residential events and
unit meetings as relevant.
Whencompletingadisclosurere-checkyouwillbeaskedtoshowformsofidenticationtoalocalIDverier.You
canndthefulllistofidenticationyoucanuseatthis link. You will never be asked to send these by post and
theIDverierwillnotkeepacopyofthesedocuments.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the organisation and if you have any questions about undertaking a
disclosure re-check, please visit our FAQs on our website here.
Kind regards,
Membership and Recruitment Department
Email to members – original version
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
What are these phrases
adding?
Isn’t this from a real
person?
Do we need such a
formal sign-on in an
email?
How will this subject line
make people feel? For
some, it might seem
rather scary and
offputting…
Without line spaces
between paragraphs,
this email looks like one
heavy block of text
Why don’t we just say
‘our’? Using the
organisation’s name has
a distancing effect
Better to use more
specific, clear link
wording: ‘this link’ could
lead anywhere
Does this phrase really
add anything?
Renewed by who?
(Passive verbs cloud
meaning)
This phrase could put
people off – it sounds
vague and potentially
time-consuming
Does the tone here feel
like Girlguiding or like a
corporate communication?
Things like missing
contractions (‘you’ve’)
and formal, passive
language (‘undertaken’,
‘you will be sent’) all add
to the tone
This is very useful info,
but it’s slightly buried at
this point in the email
Asked by who? (Passive
language takes people
out of the picture)
Quite a long sentence
(and another vague link)
View toned-up version
21 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
It’s time to renew your disclosure check
Hello <name>
From time to time we have to do things in Girlguiding that might not be particularly enjoyable, but that are
necessarytokeepourgirlssafe.Oneoftheseisrenewingdisclosurecheckseveryveyears.
Please renew your disclosure check by <date> so that you can continue your Girlguiding activities
uninterrupted. Here’s what you need to do:
1. ContactyourcommissionerorlocalIDverier–you’llndtheirdetailsonGOunderAreacontactdetails.
2. They’ll talk you through the next steps, one of which will be to show us new ID documents.
Thanks so much for helping us with this important paperwork. Once it’s done, you’ll be all clear to enjoy
Girlguidingforanotherveyears.
If you have any questions at all about this, please come back to me or ask your commissioner.
Many thanks
<name>
Membership team
Email to members – toned-up version
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
A clear, more energetic
subject heading
A much warmer and
more natural way to
start an email
Very honest and down
to earth – you can hear
someone saying this
Acknowledges the effort
this will involve – and
takes the time to thank
people. Much more ‘in
tune’
Gives this a human face
A less bureaucratic-
sounding team name
I know what I’m going to
find if I click on this link
Another reminder of the
benefits
Conversational language
makes this sound much
more real and heartfelt
The main call to action is
bolded to stand out – and
is closely linked to the
benefit of doing this
Actions are clearly laid
out – and seem much
less daunting
View original version
22 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Reaching new heights
The fantastic courses at Blackland
Farm will empower you to keep
leadingwithcondence
You’re probably aware that Blackland
Farm offers great activities for young girls,
but did you know about the variety of
opportunities for adults too? The instructors
at Blackland Farm excel in helping people
to enhance their leadership skills – and offer
trainingcoursesandqualicationsthatare
recognised by national governing bodies.
Whether you want to boost your personal
development or be able to offer even more
activities to your unit, there’s something
to suit everyone. For example, there are
trainingcoursesforleadersincamping,rst
aid and navigation. Or, if you’re keen to
broaden your horizons, there’s everything
from archery instruction and British Canoe
Union courses to Girlguiding Level 1 climbing
and abseiling. Blackland Farm can also offer
bespoke sessions if you fancy trying your
hand at some more unusual activities, such
as tractor driving or safely using a chainsaw!
The instructors will discuss your aims and
the outcomes you hope to achieve before
you make a start, to ensure that you learn
inawaythatsuitsandbenetsyoumost.
Visit girlguiding.org.uk/adventure-made-
easy to learn more about leadership
training opportunities for adults
From a newsletter – original version
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
Quite a lot to to take in
at a glance
If everything is in one
long, dense paragraph,
it’s harder for key
messages to stand out
What does this really
mean? Will people know
what these ‘national
governing bodies’ are?
We’re involving the reader
(with ‘you’ and the
question), but we could
be more concise here
Because it’s so long, this
sentence gets tangled up
with its punctuation
Why not include the
reader in this instead of
talking about them in the
third person? (For adults)
View toned-up version
23 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Learning without limits
Add new strings to your bow
at Blackland Farm
Blackland Farm isn’t just for girls. We have
courses galore that will give you new skills
toleadwithcondence.Areyouaftera
qualicationthat’snationallyrecognised?
We’ve got you covered. Want to develop
your personal or leaderships skills? Covered.
Looking to learn new things to add to your
unit’s activities? Look no further.
We offer training in everything from
camping,rstaidandnavigationtoarchery,
canoeing, climbing and abseiling – and can
even teach things like tractor driving and
using a chainsaw. And we tailor our training
to your individual aims and learning style
to make sure you get the most out of your
time.
Learn more about the training you can do
at girlguiding.org.uk/adventure-made-easy
From a newsletter – toned-up version
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
Much more engaging
and energetic heading
Short, focused sentences
give this pace and punch.
Colourful phrases like
‘courses galore’ make it
sound lively
Examples are more
concisely worded and
easier to grasp
A heading that’s closer to
the subject matter
Pulls the reader in (and
structures the messaging)
through questions
The conversational
language makes this more
concise and confident
A clear, inviting call to
action
The paragraphs help break
up the information and
make the whole thing
much more reader-friendly
View original version
24 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
From an annual report - original version
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
Long, complex sentences
like these create a heavy
tone and are taxing on
readers
Another long, heavy
sentence
We’re saying very
positive things here –
can we do it in a more
concise and energetic
way? Do we need to
make the point about
staging the roll-out
again?
Would this sound more
confident without ‘very’?
No need for full stops at
the ends of these phrases
Are these different
enough to merit using
both words?
Why not simply ‘review’?
Making points like these
more concise will make
them clearer and give
them more impact
2018 was another year of change in Girlguiding,
with new quality standards and a completely
redeveloped programme for young members, as
well as new guidance and training for volunteers
on safeguarding, managing information and GDPR
compliance, and using our new programme.
We saw a drop in the percentage of girls and
young women who would recommend guiding to a
friend, but at 86% our net promoter score remains
very strong. We anticipate that this will rise again
in 2019 as our brand new youth programme beds
in and young members experience the full range
of innovative, exciting and stretching activities
within it.
Keeping girls safe is our top priority and following
the renewal of our safeguarding training
programme ‘A Safe Space’ in 2017 we have
continued to roll this out, as part of a three-
year staged plan, to all our 100,000+ volunteers.
By the end of 2018, 35% of our volunteers had
completed level 1, 29% level 2, 36% level 3, and
35% of commissioners level 4. That equates to over
40,000 volunteers trained in the most up-to-date
safeguarding practices during 2018. The size of
our adult membership base means that refreshed
mandatory training is rolled out in stages over
multiple years and we are delighted to report that
we are on track to train 75% of our adult volunteers
by the end of 2020 in line with our target.
What we will achieve in 2019
•Continuethestagedroll-outofsafeguarding
training programme to volunteers.
•Developandupdateourrstaidtraininginline
with new policies and procedures.
•Furtherdevelopourofferforthe18-to-30age
group.
•Conductareviewofprevioussafeguardingcases
to ensure we learn from the past.
•Delivernewresourcesthatwillhelpleadersto
support girls who are experiencing mental health
issues.
•Implementalearninganddevelopmentstrategy
thatwillhelpvolunteerstofeelmorecondent
and comfortable in their roles and support high
quality guiding.
View toned-up version
25 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
From an annual report - toned-up version
In 2019, we’ll:
•Continuerollingoutoursafeguardingtraining
programme to volunteers
•Updateourrstaidtraininginlinewithnew
policies and procedures
•Enhanceourofferfor18-to30-year-olds
•Reviewprevioussafeguardingcasestomake
sure we learn from the past
•Bringinnewresourcestohelpleadersto
support girls experiencing mental health issues
•Introducealearninganddevelopmentstrategy
to support better guiding by helping volunteers
feelmorecondentandcomfortableintheir
roles
Breaking this out as a
shorter, summary
sentence gives it
impact and energy
The rest of this
information is easier to
follow in more focused,
shorter sentences
We’ve put the main
point first and the
supporting figure at
the end
Another short sentence
with impact
A more concise and
positive intro phrase
More natural language
gives this a more positive
energy
Removing unnecessary
detail helps the main
points come through
More straight talking
language makes these
easier to follow
2018 was another year of change in Girlguiding.
We brought in new quality standards and
a completely redeveloped programme for
young members. And we introduced guidance
and volunteer training on using this new
programme, as well as safeguarding, managing
information and GDPR compliance.
Although we saw a drop in the percentage of
girls and young women who would recommend
guiding to a friend, our net promoter score is
still strong at 86%. We expect to see an uplift
in 2019, as our young members start to
enjoy the full range of innovative, exciting
and stretching activities in our brand-new
programme.
Keeping girls safe is our top priority. We’ve
continued to roll out our safeguarding training
programme ‘A Safe Space’ to all our 100,000+
volunteers, as part of a three-year staged
plan. By the end of 2018, 35% of our volunteers
hadnishedlevel1,29%level2,36%level3,
and 35% of commissioners level 4. That’s over
40,000 volunteers trained in 2018 in the most
up-to-date safeguarding practices. And we’re
on track to train 75% of our adult volunteers by
the end of 2020, in line with our target.
View original version
26 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
From a campaigning toolkit - original version
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
A few rules about your project
Your project has to help at least one person
other than yourself.
Your project should aim to make change to
something in the wider world, outside of
Girlguiding
Your project should be line with Girlguiding’s
values and policies.
Your project can involve fundraising as long
asthereareclearandjustiedreasonsfor
how this will help you achieve the aim of
your project, and it’s not the sole aim of your
project.
Your project can’t provide marketing for a
business.
Your project shouldn’t attack or involve being
abusive to other people or groups.
Onceyouhavedecidedonyourspecicissue
and solution you need to tell your Network
Coordinator and talk through next steps with
them before launching your project.
Talking about rules
sets a school teacher
like tone
‘Your project’ is
repeated nine times
here – could there be a
more streamlined way
of presenting this
information?
Do we need to say this,
if we’ve already
mentioned Girlguiding
values and policies? If
we do, could we put it
in a more positive way?
Language like ‘has to’
and ‘should’ add to the
slightly bossy feel
This kind of language
might be off-putting to
some people
Again, words like
‘launching’ could be
daunting for some people
View toned-up version
27 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
•Webpageforparents
•Webpageformembers 
•Emailtomembers
•Fromanewsletter
•Fromanannualreport
•Fromacampaigningtoolkit
•Fromanapplicationpack
Back to contents page
From a campaigning toolkit - toned-up version
Set your project up for success
It should:
Help at least one other person – hopefully lots
more!
Lead to some sort of change in the world
(beyond just Girlguiding)
Be in line with our values and policies
Things to check:
If you’re raising money, is this for good
reasons? This should only be part of what your
project is trying to achieve.
Are you helping a business to market itself?
Your project really shouldn’t be doing this.
As soon as you’re clear on your project’s focus
and goals, talk things over with your network
coordinator. She’ll help you with your planning,
so that you can go ahead and get started.
A more positive, helpful
heading
The information is
grouped logically to
avoid repetition
Questions help to engage
people and get them
thinking
The shift from ‘you need
to tell’ to ‘talk things over
makes this sound much
less daunting
Little conversational
asides like this sound
human and encouraging
View original version
28 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
• Webpage for parents
• Webpage for members
• Email to members
• From a newsletter
• From an annual report
• From a campaigning toolkit
• From an application pack
Back to contents page
From an application pack - original version
Out of line with the
Girlguiding
capitalisation principles
Using more direct and
everyday language
would help this sound
more human and
straight talking
Perhaps this should have
been mentioned before
now?
Referring to Girlguiding
in the third person
keeps people at arm’s
length
Does this need to be
specified to someone
we’re considering for
such a critical role?
Could be much more
concise
This is what jumps out at
the reader from this
sentence – do we really
want to emphasise a
negative in this way?
How to Apply
In order to express your interest in the role of Chair of the Finance
Committee, please send your CV with a covering letter of no more than
four sides of A4 outlining the following:
how you full the person specication
why you wish to be considered for the role of Chair of the Finance
Committee
Please give examples of your skills and knowledge. These may have
been gained from your work, or from volunteer roles inside or outside
of guiding.
(Please note those people employed by Girlguiding cannot apply for
a trustee position.)
Please send your CV, covering letter, reference details and
completed equal opportunities monitoring form by email to
hrvacancies@girlguiding.org.uk.
The closing date is Sunday 6 January 2019 at midnight.
Referees
Please provide by email details of two referees who should be able
to evidence your ability to work strategically at Board level and your
specialist knowledge in relation to the person specication above.
Girlguiding will take up references for relevant candidates following
the interview stage.
Registered charity number 306016
11
Chair of Finance Committee
Application pack
www.girlguiding.org.uk
Chair of Finance Committee
Application pack
View toned-up version
29 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Registered charity number 306016
11
Chair of Finance Committee
Application pack
www.girlguiding.org.uk
SECTION 2: Our voice in action
Flexing our tone
Before and after examples:
• Webpage for parents
• Webpage for members
• Email to members
• From a newsletter
• From an annual report
• From a campaigning toolkit
• From an application pack
Back to contents page
From an application pack - toned-up version
Involves the reader
Natural, more
conversational language
makes this clearer and
genuine
Being more concise and
straight talking makes all
of this much more
readable – and helps
Girlguiding come across
as a more authentic,
modern and open
organisation
Much more to the point
and inviting
Offered here as a
reminder and mentioned
at the start of the
application pack
If you’d like to apply…
Please send us your CV and a covering letter (four sides of A4 maximum)
explaining why you’re the right person to chair our Finance Committee,
including:
how you meet the requirements of this role – with specic examples
of relevant skills and knowledge
why you’re interested in contributing to Girlguiding in this way
Please give examples of your skills and knowledge. These may have
been gained from your work, or from volunteer roles inside or outside of
guiding.
(Reminder: trustee positions aren’t open to Girlguiding employees.)
Please email your CV, covering letter, reference details and completed
equal opportunities monitoring form to hrvacancies@girlguiding.org.uk
by midnight on Sunday 6 January 2019.
Referees
Please give us contact details for two referees who can verify that
you can work strategically at board level, as well as your specialist
knowledge relating to this role. We normally contact referees after the
interview stage.
View original version
Chair of Finance Committee
Application pack
30 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Section 3
Our style guidelines
31 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Whenever we write, we need to be consistent and error-free. Some people really notice the
details and expect us to get them right, so this guide will help you make sure youre always
using the right style for Girlguiding.
If you need to look something up that isnt included here, check the Guardian/Observer style
guide online:
theguardian.com/styleguide
This is our default guide for advice on how to handle things like punctuation, capitalisation,
spelling and grammar.
Writing with style
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
Our house style
Inclusive language
Punctuation
Look and layout
Glossary
Back to contents page
32 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Abbreviations and acronyms
Try not to use internal abbreviations in
external communications. Always think
about whether people will understand
them, and if theres a more natural way
to say it.
If you have to use an acronym that people
might not be familiar with, always spell it
outthersttimeandputtheabbreviation
in brackets, like this:
A note on plurals: to create a plural of an
acronym, simply add an ‘s’ to the end
without an apostrophe, as in ‘there are
several PDFs’.
Our house style
BGO British Girlguiding Overseas
GOLD Guiding Overseas Linked
with Development
LGBT Lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans
NYA National Youth Agency
WAGGGS World Association of Girl Guides
and Girl Scouts
A note on capitalisation: usually, when you
pronounce each letter of an acronym its
written in all capitals, like HIV. When you
say an acronym like a word it only takes
an initial capital, like ‘Aids.
However, Girlguiding acronyms that are
said like a word still appear in all capitals,
like ‘GOLD, ‘ICANDO’ and ‘WAGGGS. Only
use block capitals for acronyms like these
– otherwise, try to avoid them.
Here are some acronyms that we
frequently use at Girlguiding and what
they stand for.
We ask all volunteers to have a criminal
record check before working with our girls
– called the Disclosure and Barring Service
(DBS) check.
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
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Glossary
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33 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Capital letters
Capitals draw attention to a particular word, but they also make sentences slower to read and
are best minimised. We try to use them consistently and avoid overusing them. If in doubt, use
lower case.
Don’t capitalise:
Things in general (common nouns):
uniforms, insurance policy, training
materials, volunteers
Job roles in body copy:
Well be sending a free resource
pack to all unit leaders.
Our chief executive is Angela Salt
and our operations director is
Jonathan Whitehead.
Any word simply to make it feel more
important
The words we use to describe Girlguiding
areas, such as ‘regions, ‘counties, etc:
our Lanark district, our Tamworth division
Thewords‘award,‘badge,‘qualication’
or ‘team’ when naming one:
Laurel award
Mindfulness badge
– Leadershipqualication
Safeguarding team
Everyword,excepttherstone,in
headings, titles, labels, navigation, etc
Child safety information
Use initial capitals for:
Names of things (proper nouns)
Brands: Adidas, Twitter
– Places:London,Europe,
Waddow Hall
People: Prince William,
Beyon
Unique projects, events and
initiatives: Big Gig,
Future Girl
Publications: Girls Attitudes Survey
and The Guardian
Therstwordsonlyofheadings,
subheads, labels, banners and
navigation – not every word
Job titles on a business card or in
an email signature
Job titles in body copy when they
precede and form part of someones
name, or are immediately after it
betweencommas:ChiefExecutive
Angela Salt and Jonathan Whitehead,
Operations Director, attended the
meeting on behalf of Girlguiding.
If you want to check capitalisation for a particular Girlguiding term, go to our glossary.
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
Our house style
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Glossary
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34 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Conjunctions
Theres nothing wrong with starting
sentences with conjunctions like ‘and,
but’ and ‘or’. Its perfectly grammatically
correct and is more common these days
– in fact, it can be a useful way to add a
bit of energy to your writing. But use them
sparingly and make sure theyre followed
by complete sentences.
Contractions
Contractions like ‘its’ or ‘isnt’ shorten
two words by adding an apostrophe. We
use contractions to give our writing a more
natural, human tone – words like ‘Ive,
weve’ and ‘youll. The trick is to read
your text out loud to make sure it sounds
naturalandowsproperly.
Dates
We use this format for dates: day, month
thenyear.Wedontusesufxes(12th,
20th, 1st).
Its often helpful to say the day too – and
you only need to specify the year when its
not obvious:
Ifyoureusingdatesinatable,itsneto
abbreviate the longer names of months:
For decades, we talk about the 1990s, the
nineties or the ’90s, never the 1990s, and
make sure were consistent.
Email addresses
Write email addresses in lower case. If youre
writing an email address at the end of a
sentence,itsnetofollowitwithafullstop.
Hashtags #
Use initial capitals for each word in hashtags:
Headlines and headings
Onlytherstletteroftherstwordshould
be capitalised, unless its a proper noun.
ie and eg
Remember: ie means in other words, while
eg means for example. Its usually best to
write out these phrases instead of using
the abbreviations. If you do use the
abbreviation, no full stops are necessary.
#GirlsAttitudes
12 September 2019
12 Sept 2019
Thursday 12 September
How to use the brand
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
Our house style
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35 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Money
Use the £ symbol instead of writing out
the word ‘pounds. And dont use decimals
unless there are pence to include:
Numbers
Use words for one to ten, and write
numbers for 11 and above. (To remember
this, think11 plus.)
Dont mix the two in the same sentence:
If youre writing a headline or space is
limited (like in a table), then you can
write one to ten as digits.
We usually write ages in numbers and
hyphenate the compound:
Contrary to the above, for web writing it
is best practice to use digits for all
numbers.
Percentages
Use the symbol instead of spelling out the
word. They should be written as numerals:
Phone numbers
Break these after the area code:
Break UK mobile numbers into groups of
veandsixdigits:
Singular/plural
Girlguiding and The Guide Association take
a singular verb:
Spelling
We use British spelling (not American). If
in doubt, check the Guardian/Observer
online style guide or the Concise Oxford
English Dictionary: oxforddictionaries.com.
Instead of Use disabled
£45.00
£45
There are ten counties in Girlguiding Ulster.
There are 19 counties in our London and
SouthEastEnglandregion.
There are 4 men and 12 women on our
board of trustees.
12-year-olds
Instead of Use
50 per cent 50%
020 7834 6242
0161 941 2237
028 9042 5212
not 0289 042 5212 (Northern Ireland)
07XXX XXXXXX
Girlguiding is
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
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36 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Times
Write times like this:
Use the 12-hour clock (11pm) rather than
the 24-hour clock (23.00).
Websites
We dont include the ‘www’ when writing
website addresses:
Avoid giving links or breadcrumbs in
printed text, as these can easily become
outdated and impossible to follow.
Instead, say:
9.30am, 10pm
girlguiding.org.uk
search for <X> on our website
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
Our house style
Inclusive language
Punctuation
Look and layout
Glossary
Back to contents page
37 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
Our house style
Inclusive language
Punctuation
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Glossary
Back to contents page
Inclusive language
We want everyone to feel welcome and included at Girlguiding. So we try to avoid language that
denesorexcludesanyone–orthatmakesassumptionsaboutthem.Pleasetakethisadviceasa
guide to current good practice. Its by no means exhaustive, and language changes quickly.
General principles
Use the pronoun ‘they’ when gender
is unknown or mixed. If youre not
sure what pronoun to use when
referring to an individual, its always
best to ask them.
When describing someone with a
particular characteristic (such as
religionordisability),askyourselfrst
if you even need to mention it. Is it
relevant?
If it is relevant, take their lead if
possible and use the language they
use. If in doubt, check with them
– people appreciate this.
Itsalwaysbettertobespecicwhere
you can – try and use the correct
language but dont tiptoe around
something. Instead of ‘we want our
imagery to show diversity’, say ‘we
want our imagery to show racially
diverse people.
Dont use an adjective as a noun when
describing a persons characteristic.
For example, instead of ‘Muslims, say
Muslim girls.
Try not to make too many assumptions, or
you may exclude certain groups and people.
For example, it may not always be a parent
who takes a Rainbow to their meeting.
Beasspecicasyoucanwhentalking
about an individual or a community. For
example, say ‘the Bengali community’
rather than ‘the Asian community’.
When referring to the wider black, Asian
and minority ethnic group we use the
acronymBAME.Aswithallacronyms,think
about whether youll need to explain it
for your audience.
And when talking about socio-economic
barriers, say ‘lower income area’ or
areas of deprivation’ rather than
disadvantaged area.
38 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
Our house style
Inclusive language
Punctuation
Look and layout
Glossary
Back to contents page
More on inclusive language
The government guidelines on talking about disability:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/inclusive-communication/inclusive-language-words-to-
use-and-avoid-when-writing-about-disability
The Chartered Insurance Institutes inclusive language guidelines:
www.cii.co.uk/media/10120292/inclusive-language-guidelines.pdf
The inclusive language section of the NHS digital service manual:
https://beta.nhs.uk/service-manual/content/inclusive-language
Instead of Use…
disabled toilets/lifts
accessible toilets/lifts
elderly person/volunteer older person/volunteer
female woman/young woman/girl
a girl/young woman with disabilities a disabled girl/young woman
mum or parents parents/carers
additional needs disabilities and long-term conditions
39 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Ampersands (&)
Only use ampersands in brand names
(M&S), unless youre struggling with space
(for example, in a table). In normal
sentences, spell out the word ‘and.
Apostrophes
Apostrophes can be tricky. But theyre
important – getting this basic punctuation
wrong can irritate people.
We use an apostrophe for two reasons:
1.
To show that a letter or letters have
been left out: dont forget, I’m
afraid. See contractions.
2.
To show possession: this months
publication. If the owner is plural,
the apostrophe usually comes after
the ‘s. If the plural doesnt end in
an ‘s, you can treat it as singular.
So, the bees’ knees is talking about more
than one bee. And the bees knees? Just
the one bee.
Punctuation
There are two situations that can cause
problems, so watch out for them:
1.
Ordinary plurals dont need
apostrophes. ‘We sell apples and
pears’ is wrong.
2. Its or its? Its means it is or it has.
Its means belonging to it, which is
unusual because it shows possession
but doesnt need an apostrophe: the
companyiscondentaboutits
future.
Brackets
Use brackets (like this), not square
brackets [like this].
If youre putting a whole sentence into
brackets, put the full stop inside too. (This
is a full sentence in brackets, so it has its
full stop inside.)
If youre only putting part of a sentence
inside the brackets then you need to put
the full stop outside (like this).
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
Our house style
Inclusive language
Punctuation
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Glossary
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40 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Dashes
These can be used between parts of
sentences instead of commas or
semicolons. They add a little more
emphasis and can also be a useful way of
breaking up long sentences – but be
careful not to overuse them.
Exclamation marks
Use exclamation marks sparingly, as they
can give your writing a slightly hysterical
tone. (We dont throw in exclamation
marks as an easy way of sounding
enthusiastic.)
Wheneveryoundyourselfusingone,
always check how it reads without. Then
only use it if you think it adds an
important emphasis.
Full stops
We use these at the ends of sentences,
and that’s it.
Hyphens
When referring to young people by their
age, we hyphenate the compound:
And when two or more words join
together as a description before a noun,
its best to hyphenate them where theres
any chance of confusion:
Tip:whentherstwordendsin–ly,you
dont hyphenate the compound: specially
designed uniforms.
Quotations
Use single quotation marks. For quotes
within quotes use double quotation marks.
14-year-olds
The chief guide told the girls, ‘My mum
always used to say to me “you can be
whatever you want to be.
You need to make three monthly payments.
(three payments over three months)
You need to make three-monthly payments.
(one payment every three months)
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
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Inclusive language
Punctuation
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Glossary
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41 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Bold
Use bold sparingly to emphasise words,
numbers and dates. It’s a great way of
makingsomethingstandoutatrstglance,
so bold text is ideal for key information
such as URLs or email addresses.
Dont use bold too often, though. And
never use it for an entire paragraph – when
everything is in bold, nothing stands out.
Bold italic
Bold italic makes text hard to read, so stick
with bold alone.
Headings and subheadings
Dont use end punctuation, except when
you need a question mark. Dont use a full
stop at the end, and think long and hard
about using exclamation marks.
Use a capital letter only at the start and
lower case after that, except for proper nouns.
Look and layout
Italics
We put publication titles in italics, except
on our website.
Otherwise, use them sparingly – they
make writing look cluttered and are hard
to read online.
You can use them for a gentle emphasis.
Words in italic will stand out as important
when someone reads what youve written,
but they wont stand out at a glance like
bold. This means that italics are best for a
softer emphasis, like a note or reminder.
Links
We avoid using phrases like ‘click here
when linking. Instead we make our links
clearer and more meaningful so that they
stand out and indicate where they lead to.
What Adults Do in Guiding
What adults do in guiding
If you have any questions about
undertaking a disclosure re-check,
please visit our FAQs on our website
here.
Youllndmoreinformationabout
disclosure re-checks in our FAQs.
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
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42 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Lists/bullets
Introduce lists with a colon, and use bullet
points like this:
Start each item in the list with a capital
letter.
Start your lists off with bullets. Only use
numbers if youre listing a sequence or
starting your list off with a number phrase
(such as ‘Ten great reasons to join
Girlguiding’).
Spaces
Use a single space after a full stop. Like
this.
Use a single line between paragraphs.
There should be no space on either side of
a forward slash:
Item 1
Item 2
If the items in the list are full
sentences, put a full stop at the end,
just as you would on a normal
sentence.
If its not a full sentence, theres no
need for a full stop at the end.
And each list should be one or the
other, not a mixture of the two.
Instead of Use
and / or and/or
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Glossary
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43 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Our organisation is full of language thats unique to Girlguiding and the guiding movement.
We need to be mindful that this is our own very special jargon, and it can sometimes feel
exclusive. This glossary will help you write consistently for and about Girlguiding.
Glossary of common terms
1stResponse NotFirstResponse(ourrstaidtrainingscheme)
A
activities Use in relation to the programme only – when
referring to Future Girl say initiatives or
opportunities
activitycentres Lowercase;useforinternalaudiencesorafterrst
use of Girlguiding Activity Centres; we no longer
use TACs (training and activity centres)
activity theme Lower case
Adventure Made Easy Initial capitals and italics for publication
Adventurers Initial capital for the Future Girl topic
adviser Not advisor; lower case for role
Advocate; advocate Initial capital for the name of our panel, but
lower case for its members
Anglia region Initial capitals for place names; lower case on ‘region
annual subscription Lower case
area Lower case (a broad term for our districts,
regions, counties, countries and divisions)
A Safe Space Initial capitals for the name of our safeguarding
scheme; initial capitals and italics when referring
to the resource
Our style Comments
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
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44 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
assistant leader Lower case for the role
award Lower case when referring to awards in general
andwhengivingthenameofaspecicaward:
Laurel award
B
Baden-Powell Adventure Initial capitals for the name of this scheme
badge Lower case when talking about badges in general;
uppercasefortherstwordofthebadgename
eg Active response badge
badge secretary Lower case for the role
BAME Acronymfortalkingaboutpeoplewhoareblack,
Asian and minority ethnic
barbecue Not barbeque or BBQ
Barrier Breakers Initial capital for the Future Girl topic
Be Well Upper case for the name of the programme theme
Beaver Scouts; Beavers Initial capitals (Scouts aged 8-10)
Being Our Best Initial capitals (our strategic plan for 2015-19)
Big Gig Initial capitals for the name of this event
Blackland Farm Initial capitals
board of trustees; the board Lower case
branch associations; branches Lower case
Bronze award Initial capitals for name of the award, lower case
for the word ‘award
Our style Comments
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
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Glossary
Back to contents page
45 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Brownie; Brownies
Brownie buddy Initial capital on Brownie only
Brownie helper Initial capital on Brownie only
Brownie holiday Initial capital on Brownie only
Brownie unit Not Brownie pack
C
chief commissioner Lower case in body copy unless used as part of name
chief guide Lower case in body copy unless used as part of name
Climbing and Abseiling scheme Lower case on the word scheme
commissioner Lower case in body copy unless used as part of name
cooperate Not co-operate
coordinator Not co-ordinator
country; county Lower case, even when referring to the
Girlguiding area
Cub Scouts; Cubs Scouts aged 8-10
1
/
2
Girlguiding Cymru (Wales)
Our style Comments
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46 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
D
DBScheck;disclosurecheck • Eitherusetheabbreviation(standsforDisclosure
and Barring Service check) or the simple term
• Onlytheabbreviationusescapitals
• (UsedtobetheCRBcheck)
disabled person Instead of person with disabilities – see page 37
for more information
Discover, grow Lower case ‘grow; newsletter in italics
district Lower case, even when referring to
Girlguiding area
district assistant; district commissioner Lower case in body copy unless used as part of name
division Lower case
Doing Our Best Upper case for our standards for good guiding
DukeofEdinburghsAward Spelloutwithinitialcapsatrstmention,
thenDofE
E
e-card; e-learning; e-newsletter With hyphen
email One word, no hyphen
emergencyle Lowercase
ExplorerScouts;Explorers Scoutsaged14-18
ExpressMyself Uppercaseforthenameoftheprogrammetheme
Our style Comments
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Inclusive language
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47 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
F
fair trade Lower case and two words when describing
the general movement
Fairtrade One word with initial capital to refer to the
ofcialtrademarkedname
rstaid;rstaider Lowercase
FiveEssentials Initialcapitalsforthenameofourprinciples
Forum for Young Women Initial capitals for this externally run project
founders Used to refer to our founders,
Robert Baden-Powell and Agnes Baden-Powell;
lower case
Foxlease Initial capital for the place
Free Being Me Initial capitals for name of this jointly run
programme; the resource is also in italics
fundraising One word, lower case
Future Girl Initial capitals
Future Girl Acts Initial capitals for this week of action
G
Girlguiding • Girlguidingiswhoweare(nounandadjective)
• UseGirlguidingwhenreferringtothecharity
or our name
• Oneword,initialcapital;dontshortentoGG
or Guiding
Our style Comments
SECTION 3: Our style guidelines
Writing with style
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48 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Girlguiding Activity Centres Brand name for activity centres for external
audiences; initial capitals; dont abbreviate
Girlguiding HQ We no longer say CHQ or Commonwealth
Headquarters
Girlguiding UK Use only in a global context
Girlguiding shop We can also refer to this as our volunteer shop;
dont use the term trading
Girlguidingqualiedtrainer Lowercase;someonewhodeliverstrainingand
hastheirTrainerqualication
Girls’ Attitudes Survey Initial capitals (and italics for the publication);
dont use the abbreviation GAS externally
GO Initial caps for the name of our membership
system (Guiding Organiser)
Go for GOLD The selection event for GOLD
Going Away With Guiding Initial capitals and italics for the resource
Going Away With licence Initial capitals, except on the words licence
Going Away With scheme and scheme
GOLD Abbreviation for Guiding Overseas Linked
with Development
Gold award Initial capitals for name of the award, lower case
for the word ‘award
good turn Lower case
government Always lower case
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49 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Guide;Guides • Initialcapitalwhenreferringtothe
10-14-year-old section
• Useonlyinrelationtothemembersofthis
section – when referring to everyone say
all girls in Girlguiding’
TheGuideAssociation Thelegal/nancialentity–onlyusewhen
necessary: ‘please make cheques out to The
Guide Association
Guide camp permit Initial capital on Guide only
Guide International Service (GIS) Initial capitals for the name of this project
Guide Law
guiding • Guidingiswhatwedo(verb)
• Lowercase,exceptwhenitsinasentence
with Scouting (Guiding and Scouting) or a global
context (World Guiding)
Guiding Essentials Initial capitals, in italics
The Guiding Handbook Initial capitals, in italics
guiding magazine Lower case, in italics
H
Have Adventures Upper case for the name of the programme theme
home contact Lower case for the role and system
I
ICANDO All capitals for our activity centre in London
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50 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
innovate Lower case for the skills builder topic - see skills
builder for more info
interestbadges Uppercaseonrstwordonly;egFitnessinterest
badge, Book lover interest badge
InternationalScoutand Spelloutwithinitialcapsatrstmention,
Guide Fellowship (ISGF) then ISGF
International Womens Day Initial capitals and apostrophe before the ‘s
internet Lower case
J
jamboree Lower case, unless referring to the name of one
(Jamboree Denmark)
joint unit Lower case
K
Know Myself Upper case for the name of the programme theme
L
large bus permit Lower case
LaSER AbbreviationofLondonandSouthEastEngland
region
leader Lower case for role
leader in training Lower case; no hyphens
Leadershipqualication Initialcapitalsfornameofqualication;lower
casefortheword‘qualication
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51 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
leadership team Lower case
lend a hand Lower case
LGBT How we refer to the lesbian, gay, bisexual or
trans community
Little Giggle Upper case for the event
local authority Lower case
LondonandSouthEastEnglandregion Initialcapitalsforplacenames;lowercase
on‘region.OftenabbreviatedtoLaSER
Long Service award Initial capitals for name of award; lower case for
the word ‘award’
M
Magic and Mayhem Initial capitals for the name of the event
Marketing and Audience Initial capitals for the name of the team;
Engagementdepartment lowercasefortheword‘department’itself
members Lower case; avoid using externally: say volunteers
and girls instead
members’ area (on the website) Lower case with apostrophe
member organisation (of WAGGGS) Lower case
mentor Lower case for the role
mentoring Lower case
Midlands region Initial capitals for place names; lower case
on ‘region
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52 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
N
no one No hyphen, two words
NorthEastEnglandregion Initialcapitalsforplacenames;lowercase
NorthWestEnglandregion on‘region’
O
occasional helper Lower case
online design centre Lower case
online shop Instead of web shop
ordercode • Lowercase
• Girlguidingordercode,notTradingService
order code
• Putcodebeforepricewhendescribingitems
P
parent/carer Lower case; not parent/guardian
Patrol Initial capitals when talking about a
Guide grouping
Patrol sleepover
patron Lowercase;ourpatronisHMQueenElizabethII
Pax Lodge Initial capitals for place name
PeerEducation UppercasewhenreferringtotheGirlguiding
project; lower case if talking about it generally
peer educator Lower case for role
peer group residential events Lower case
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53 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Planet Protectors Initial capitals for the Future Girl topic
plastic promise All lower case unless in hashtag #PlasticPromise
programme Lower case
programme renewal Lower case
Promise Always capitalised when talking about the
Girlguiding Promise
Promise badge Initial capital for Promise (see note above),
but not for ‘badge’ itself
Promise celebration Not enrolment
Promise sign
Q
the Queen Always capitalised; we can initially say Her Majesty
The Queen, then HM the Queen or the Queen
on subsequent mentions
Queens Guide
Queens Guide award Initial capitals
R
Rainbow; Rainbows Initial capital when referring to section for
girls aged 5-7
Rainbow chat
Rainbow helper
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54 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Ranger; Rangers Initial caps when referring to section for ages 14-18
recognised volunteer
recruitment checks
region Always lower case
residential Lower case
Respect Makers Initial capitals for the Future Girl topic; no hyphen
S
Safeguarding team Initial capital for the name of the team;
lower case for the word ‘team’ itself
Girlguiding Scotland
Scouting Always capitalised; in sentences that refer to both,
Scouts guidingalwayscomesrstandisuppercase:
The Scout Association Guiding and Scouting
Scout Network The Scout section for 18-25-year-olds
Scouts The Scout section for 10
1
/
2
-14-year-olds
second Lower case when referring to the deputy leader
of a Patrol or Six
section Lower case
Self Believers Initial capitals for the Future Girl topic; no hyphen
Silver award Initial capitals for name of the award, lower case
for the word ‘award
Silver Fish award Initial capitals for name of award; lower case for
the word ‘award’
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55 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Six Initial capitals when talking about a Brownie
grouping
sixer Lower case for the role
skills builders Lower case; skills builder names have initial
capitalforrstwordonly:egFirstaidskills
builder, Innovate skills builder. Stages are in
upper case: eg Stage 1 Innovate skills builder
Skills For My Future Upper case for the name of the programme theme
Sparkle and Ice Initial capitals for the name of the event
socialservices Lowercaseunlessreferringtoaspecicbody:
Hertfordshire Social Services
SouthWestEnglandregion Initialcapitalsonplacebutnottheword
‘region’
survival skills Lower case for the unit meeting activity topic
T
Take Action Upper case for the name of the programme theme
taskandnishgroup Lowercase
Theme award Initial capitals for name of the award, lower case
for the word ‘award
they Use as a gender-neutral third-person pronoun
trainer Lower case; someone who delivers training but is
notGirlguidingqualied
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56 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Trainerqualication Initialcapitalsfornameofqualication;
lowercasefortheword‘qualication
training opportunities Lower case
trans (adj) Lower case, preferable to transgender;
dont use transsexual
Travelling Abroad training programme Initial caps only on the name of the module
trefoil Lower case
Trefoil Guild Initial capitals for name; lower case when talking
generally about individual guilds
trustee Lower case
tweet Lower case (for verb and noun)
Twisted Tech Initial capitals for the event name
Twitter Initial capital on the brand name
U
UK • England,Wales,ScotlandandNorthernIreland
• Avoidsaying‘thiscountry’or‘thisnation’when
you mean the UK
• Dontsay‘thecapital’or‘thenationalanthem’
without specifying which one
Girlguiding Ulster
unit
unit helper Lower case for role
unit leader Lower case for role; we dont say guider
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57 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
unit meeting Lower case
unit meeting activities Lower case; also for unit meeting activity topics:
eg survival skills
unit meeting activity cards Lower case
V
volunteer Lower case
volunteer shop Lower case; we can also say Girlguiding shop
W
Waddow Hall Not just Waddow
webpage One word
wellbeing One word
Wellies and Wristbands Initial capitals for event name
World badge
World Centres These are Our Chalet in Switzerland,
Our Cabaña in Mexico, Pax Lodge in the UK,
SangaminIndiaandKusariinAfrica
world chief guide Lower case in body copy unless using as part
of name
World Conference
World Flag
World Guiding Guiding has an initial capital in this context
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58 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
World Thinking Day Initial capitals
Y
young leader Lower case for role
YoungLeaderqualication Initialcapitalsfornameofqualication;lower
casefortheword‘qualication
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59 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Girlguiding messaging
Our vision
Anequalworldwhereallgirlscanmakeapositivedifference,behappyandsafe,andfull
their potential.
Our mission
Throughfun,friendship,challengeandadventureweempowergirlstondtheirvoice,
inspiring them to discover the best in themselves and to make a positive difference in
their community.
Who we are
In one sentence
Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK.
Short version
Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. We build girls
condenceandraisetheiraspirations.Wegivethemthechancetodiscovertheirfullpotential
and encourage them to be a powerful force for good. We give them a space to have fun.
Full version
Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. Thanks to the
dedication and support of 100,000 amazing volunteers, we are active in every part of the UK,
giving girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant
friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their
communities.Webuildgirls’condenceandraisetheiraspirations.Wegivethemthechance
to discover their full potential and encourage them to be a powerful force for good.
Our key messages
We are for all girls.
We give girls their own space.
We give girls a voice.
We change as the lives of girls change.
Girlguiding messaging
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60 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
Good writing checklist
Good writing checklist
Does the writing sound straight talking, enthusiastic and
in tune?
Is the language everyday and active, with plenty of you,
we, our, your, etc?
Does it sound conversational, like a real (likeable) person
talking?
Are sentences and paragraphs focused, concise and
manageable?
Have you focused on what matters (and why) to your audience?
Do the main points stand out?
Where possible, have you used descriptive language, examples
and real voices to paint a picture?
Are the details (such as capital letters and punctuation) in line
with our house style?
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61 Girlguiding tone of voice guidelines
A helping hand…
If you have any questions about our tone of
voice and writing style or would like to add a
term to our glossary, please get in touch with
M&AE@girlguiding.org.uk.
TheseguidelineswerecreatedwiththesupportofEnoughSaid.
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