Your Girl Scout troop will plan and finance its own activities, and you’ll coach your girls as they earn and manage troop funds. Troop activities are powered by proceeds earned through council-sponsored product program activities (such as the Girl Scout Cookie Program), group money-earning activities (council approved, of course), and any dues your troop may charge.
Remember that all funds collected, raised, earned, or otherwise received in the name of and for the benefit of Girl Scouting belong to the troop and must be used for the purposes of Girl Scouting. Funds are administered through the troop and do not belong to individuals.
No matter how much your troop plans to save or spend, you’ll need a safe place to deposit your troop dues, product program proceeds, and other funds. If you’ve stepped up to lead an existing troop, you may inherit a checking account, but with a new troop, you’ll want to open a new bank account.
Here are a few helpful tips you can take to the bank:
Be sure to find a bank that has free checking and low fees.
Designate a “troop treasurer,” that is, one person who is responsible for troop funds and for keeping a daily account of expenditures.
Ensure your account comes with a debit card that you can use during activities or trips. These transactions are easier to track at the end of the year.
Be prepared and make sure another troop volunteer has a debit card for the troop account in case the main card is lost.
Handle a lost troop debit card the same way you would a personal debit card: cancel it immediately.
Keep troop funds in the bank before an activity or trip and pay for as many items as possible in advance of your departure.
To open an account, you’ll need two signers (at least one must be the leader, co-leader, or troop treasurer).
Bring these items with you:
All Girl Scout troops disband eventually. Girls will age out and some troops decide to part ways. Troops are considered disbanded when their registration has expired, and they haven’t re-registered for six months. Whether your Girl Scout troop disbands (or ages out) follow these steps to take care of girls and troop finances.
Money-earning projects are projects that Girl Scout troops plan and organize to earn funds. They must be approved by your service unit or Girl Scouts San Diego, but unlike the cookie program and the fall product program, they are not sponsored by Girl Scouts San Diego. See the money-earning project application for project ideas and a helpful checklist.
These money-earners aren’t allowed:
In order to protect our organization’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, Girl Scouts do not participate in any money-earning activities that can be construed as unrelated business income. Contact email@example.com when in doubt.
Complete a Money-Earning Project application at least four weeks prior to the project date. Include these completed documents with your application:
If you expect the income from the project to exceed $500, send your application and completed documents to the council finance support specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org for pre-approval.
When you’ve wrapped up a money-earning project:
Complete the evaluation section of the Money-Earning Project Application and include it when you complete and submit your troop’s Annual Financial Report for the year. Don’t forget to reflect! Discuss the project with girls. Was the budget on target? What did they discover? With whom did they connect? In what way did they take action? What would they have done differently
Sample Money-Earning Activities
Cell phones for refurbishment
Used ink cartridges turned in for money
Christmas tree recycling
Lunch box auction (prepared lunch or meal auctioned off)
Themed meals, like a high tea or a build-your-own-taco bar, related to activities girls are planning; for instance, if girls are earning money for travel, they could tie the meal to their destination
Service-a-thon (people sponsor a girl doing service and funds go to support a trip or other activity)
Babysitting for holiday (New Year’s Eve) or council events
Raking leaves, weeding, cutting grass, shoveling snow, walking pets
Cooking class or other specialty class
The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other council-sponsored product programs are designed to unleash the entrepreneurial potential in your girls. From there, your troop may decide to earn additional funds on its own.
All troops are required to use the Troop Financial Tracking Worksheet to keep track of their income and spending. Track your Girl Scout troop’s financial data, including income, expenses, bank account balance, and product program money on this worksheet. Update the worksheet often—anytime your troop makes a financial transaction or receives funds. It’s the easy way to stay on top of financial reporting.
Generally, troop treasurers use the worksheet to record troop finances. Treasurers should provide an up-to-date worksheet to the troop leader or assistant leader to aid them in completing the Annual Financial Report. A copy of the Financial Tracking Worksheet will be required with the Annual Financial Report.
We get it—there’s something exciting about opening that first case of Girl Scout Cookies. However, before your girls take part in all the cookie program fun, it’s important they have a clear plan and purpose for their product program activities. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to facilitate girl-led financial planning, which may include the following steps for the girls:
Remember: It’s great for girls to have opportunities like the Girl Scout Cookie Program to earn funds that help them fulfill their goals. As a volunteer, try to help girls balance the money earning they do with opportunities to enjoy other activities that have less emphasis on earning and spending money. Take Action projects, for example, may not always require girls to spend a lot of money!
Financial Management and Product Program Abilities by Grade Level
As with other Girl Scout activities, girls build their financial and sales savvy as they get older. Every girl will be different, but here you’ll find some examples of the abilities and opportunities for progression of girls at each grade level.
As a nonprofit, Girl Scouts San Diego has legal obligations regarding donation solicitation. To protect our nonprofit status, all donations must be routed through the Girl Scout San Diego accounting department to ensure that donations are property recorded and accounted for. To satisfy Internal Revenue Service rules and sound accounting policy, all donations of $250 or more must be officially acknowledged by Girl Scouts San Diego.
Here’s how donations work:
If the donation is $249.99 or less, then your troop can accept the full donation. The donation is not tax deductible. The same donor cannot have a repeat donation in the same membership year.
If the donation is $250 or more, send the full donation to Girl Scouts San Diego. Donations of $250 or more must be received by council to comply with Internal Revenue Service laws. $249.99 will be sent back to your troop. Girl Scouts San Diego will send a tax receipt to the donor. The remaining funds will be used to benefit Girl Scout San Diego members and volunteers. Please have donors identify the troop along with their donation to ensure our accounting team is clear on which troop should receive the funds.
Receiving In-Kind Donations (supplies or equipment)
Organizations, businesses, and people can offer in-kind donations to a Girl Scout troop. These donations are usually equipment or supplies, like remnants from a fabric shop or paint from a home improvement store. It’s a good idea to get a receipt that shows the value of the in-kind donation. Make sure to include this value as income on your Troop/Group Annual Financial Report.
After you receive the donation, your troop is encouraged to send the donor/organization a thank you card. Girl Scouts may also invite donors to a troop meeting or ceremony, or work with the donor on a Take Action project.
Girl Scout troops can give some of their troop funds to organizations they want to support. The Girl Scout San Diego Campership Fund or Opportunity Fund, local or international service organizations, and environmental projects are options. All giving should be girl-led. Girls should discuss and vote on who will receive the funds and how much. Donations to Girl Scouts San Diego can be made here.
Local sponsors can help councils power innovative programs for Girl Scouts. Community organizations, businesses, religious organizations, and individuals may be sponsors and may provide group meeting places, volunteer their time, offer in-kind donations, provide activity materials, or loan equipment. Encourage your girls to celebrate a sponsor’s contribution to the troop by sending thank-you cards, inviting the sponsor to a meeting or ceremony, or working together on a Take Action project.
For information on working with a sponsor, consult your council, which can give you guidance on the availability of sponsors, recruiting guidelines, and any council policies or practices that must be followed. Your council may already have relationships with certain organizations or may know of some reasons not to collaborate with certain organizations.
When collaborating with any other organization, keep these additional guidelines in mind:
Avoid fundraising for other organizations. Girl Scouts are not allowed to solicit money on behalf of another organization when identifying themselves as Girl Scouts by wearing a uniform, a sash or vest, official pins, and so on. This includes participating in a walkathon or telethon while in uniform. However, you and your group can support another organization through Take Action projects. Girl Scouts as individuals are able to participate in whatever events they choose as long as they are not wearing anything that officially identifies them as Girl Scouts.
Steer clear of political fundraisers. When in an official Girl Scout capacity or in any way identifying yourselves as Girl Scouts, your group may not participate, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign or work on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office. Letter-writing campaigns are not allowed, nor is participating in a political rally, circulating a petition, or carrying a political banner.
Be respectful when collaborating with religious organizations. Girl Scout groups must respect the opinions and practices of religious partners, but no girl should be required to take part in any religious observance or practice of the sponsoring group.
Avoid selling or endorsing commercial products. A commercial product is any product sold at a retail location. Since 1939, girls and volunteers have not been allowed to endorse, provide a testimonial for, or sell such products.
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