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Girl_Learning_Money_Skills

Troop Finances

How do girls become financially empowered women? Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), that’s how! Your Girl Scout troop should 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. If you have questions about managing troop finances, visit the Learning Portal.

With your guidance, girls will learn key money skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

Remember that all funds collected, raised, earned, or otherwise received in the name of and for the benefit of Girl Scouting must be used for the purposes of Girl Scouting. Funds are administered by the troop and do not belong to individuals.

Establishing a Troop Account

No matter how much your troop plans on saving or spending, 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 like a Girl Scout, and make sure another troop volunteer has a debit card accessible 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.
  • Ensure there are two unrelated signers on the account.
  • Keep troop funds in the bank before an activity or trip and pay for as many items as possible in advance of your departure.

Follow our council's financial policies and procedures for setting up an account: start by submitting a Bank Account Submission Form. Council-sponsored product program activities have specific banking and tracking procedures. 

Troop Disbanding and Unused Troop Funds

When a troop disbands, any unused Girl Scout money left in the account becomes the property of the council. Troop funds are not the property of any individual girl.

Before disbanding, ask your girls how they want to pay it forward: they may decide to donate any unused funds to their service unit or another troop or to pay for girl activities. Girl activities can include purchasing materials to support another organization through Take Action projects.

Please note: all unused troop funds can be mailed via check to the Chicago GSGCNWI Gathering Place. The troop number must be listed.

20 S. Clark St., Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60603
Fax: 312-750-0718.
Shop Extension: 6366

Fill out the Disbanding Troop Form to begin the process of closing the troop.

Customer Care Contacts
Our Customer Care team is ready to assist you! We will do our best to answer questions, connect you to specific staff members and help you find important resources. Email us at customercare@girlscoutsGSGCNWI.org, call 1-855-ILOVEGS (855-456-8347) ext. 6313 or chat with us online from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Just click on the Chat Now button!

Closing the Troop Account

When closing a troop account, be sure all checks and other debits have cleared the account before you close it.

Remember, you may have to close the account in person. Turn remaining funds over to a council staff member.

View GSGCNWI financial policies and procedures »
Take a look at the Finance Trainings in the Learning Portal »

Money-Earning Basics for Troops

Troops and Juliettes flex their financial muscles in two distinct ways:

  • The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other sales of Girl Scout–authorized products (such as calendars, magazines, or nuts and candy) organized by your council. All girl members are eligible to participate in two council-sponsored product program activities each year with volunteer supervision: the cookie program and one other council-authorized product program. Please remember, volunteers and Girl Scout council staff don’t sell cookies and other products—girls do.
  • Group money-earning activities organized by the troop (not by the council) that are planned and carried out by girls (in partnership with volunteers) and that earn money for the group. Please note: In order for a troop to request additional money-earning activities, a Troop Money Earning application must be completed and each girl in the troop must complete the minimum product program requirements:
    • Fall Product Program—a minimum of 12 candy/nut products OR four magazine subscriptions, OR a combination of both (6 candy/nut products and 2 magazine subscriptions)
    • Cookie Program—a minimum of 30 packages of cookies.

The guidelines in this section also apply to any troops or Juliette’s who are seeking to fund their Gold Award projects with money-earning activities.

Fill out the Troop Money Earning application to request approval for additional money-earning activities.

Participation Guidance
Girls’ participation in both council-sponsored product program activities and group money-earning projects is based upon the following:

  • Voluntary participation
  • Written permission of each girl’s parent or guardian
  • An understanding of (and ability to explain clearly to others) why the money is needed
  • An understanding that money earning should not exceed what the group needs to support its program activities
  • Observance of local ordinances related to involvement of children in money-earning activities as well as health and safety laws
  • Vigilance in protecting the personal safety of each girl
  • Arrangements for safeguarding the money

Additional Guidelines
Keep these specific guidelines—some of which are required by the Internal Revenue Service—in mind to ensure that sales are conducted with legal and financial integrity.

  • All rewards earned by girls through the product program activities must support Girl Scout program experiences (such as camp, travel, and program events, but not scholarships or financial credits toward outside organizations).
  • Rewards are based on sales ranges set by councils and may not be based on a dollar-per-dollar calculation.
  • Troops are encouraged to participate in council product programs as their primary money-earning activity; any group money earning shouldn’t compete with the Girl Scout Cookie Program or other council product programs.
  • Obtain written approval from your council before a group money-earning event: GSGCNWI ask that you submit a request for approval.
  • Girl Scouts discourages the use of games of chance. Any activity which could be considered a game of chance (raffles, contests, bingo) must be approved GSGCNWI and be conducted in compliance with all local and state laws.
  • Girl Scouts’ Blue Book policy forbids girls from the direct solicitation of cash. Girls can collect partial payment toward the purchase of a package of Girl Scout Cookies and other Girl Scout–authorized products through participation in council-approved product program  donation programs.
  • Girl Scouts forbids product demonstration parties where the use of the Girl Scout trademark increases revenue for another business, such as in-home product parties. Any business using the Girl Scout trademark or other Girl Scout intellectual property must seek authorization from GSUSA.
  • Group money-earning activities need to be suited to the ages and abilities of the girls and consistent with the principles of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
  • Money earned is for Girl Scout activities and is not to be retained by individuals. Girls can, however, be awarded incentives and/or may earn credits from their Girl Scout product programs. Funds acquired through group money-earning projects must be reported and accounted for by the group according to council procedures.
  • In the event that a volunteer has a bad debt exceeding 45 days after they have received notification, said volunteer will be immediately removed from her/his position by the council and will be sent to collections.
  • The project cannot be carried out during the blackout months of October, January, February and March.
  • The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other council-sponsored product sales are designed to unleash the entrepreneurial potential in your girls. From there, your troop may decide to earn additional funds on its own. Again, paperwork and approval are needed before any additional fundraising is considered.
Sample Money Earning Activities

Although you cannot resell products, groups may conduct other money-earning activities such as the following:

Collections/Drives

  • Used ink cartridges turned in for money
  • Christmas tree recycling

Food/Meal Events

  • 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(s)

  • 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

Please be aware:

  • GoFundMe and other crowdsourced funding platforms are not permitted.
  • The project must not endorse any business or involve the sale of commercial items.
  • The project cannot include a game of chance (raffle, drawing, silent auction) or direct solicitation of cash.
  • Items from Good Will, Savers, and other resale shops cannot be resold.

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.

Help Your Troop Reach Its Financial Goals

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.

REMEMBER that groups must participate in the cookie and fall product programs before they can organize another additional money-earning project. As a volunteer, you can facilitate girl-led financial planning, which may include the following steps for the girls:

  1. Set goals for money-earning activities. What do girls hope to accomplish through this activity? In addition to earning money, what skills do they hope to build? What leadership opportunities present themselves?
  2. Create a budget. Use a budget worksheet that includes both expenses (the cost of supplies, admission to events, travel, and so on) and available income (the group’s account balance, projected cookie proceeds, and so on).
  3. Determine how much the group needs to earn. Subtract expenses from available income to determine how much money your group needs to earn.
  4. Make a plan. The group can brainstorm and make decisions about its financial plans. Will cookie and other product programs—if approached proactively and energetically—earn enough money to meet the group’s goals? If not, which group money-earning activities might offset the difference? Will more than one group money-earning activity be necessary to achieve the group’s financial goals? In this planning stage, engage the girls through the Girl Scout processes (girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning) and consider the value of any potential activity. Have them weigh feasibility, implementation, and safety factors.
  5. Write it out. Once the group has decided on its financial plan, describe it in writing. If the plan involves a group money-earning activity, fill out an application for approval from your council and submit it along with the budget worksheet the girls created.
    1. Obtain written approval by the council at least 4 weeks prior to the event. Money-Earning Activity | English Online | Para someter en español, comuníquese con Lupe Santos, 855-ILOVEGS, extensión 9259 para obtener asistencia.

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.

Girl Scout Daisies 
The group volunteer handles money, keeps financial records, and does all group budgeting.
Parents/guardians may decide they will contribute to the cost of activities.
Girls can participate in Girl Scout cookie activities and other council-sponsored product sales.
Daisies are always paired with a volunteer when selling anything. Girls do the asking and deliver the product, but volunteers handle the money and keep the girls secure.
Girls should be given the opportunity to practice identifying money and counting back change with an adult during each transaction.
Girl Scout Brownies
The group volunteer handles money, keeps financial records, and shares some of the group-budgeting responsibilities.
Girls discuss the cost of activities (supplies, fees, transportation, rentals, and so on) with guidance from their volunteer(s).
Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales.
Girls may decide to pay dues to contribute to the cost of activities.
Girl Scout Juniors 
The group volunteer retains overall responsibility for long-term budgeting and record-keeping, but shares or delegates all other financial responsibilities.
Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales.
Girls decide on group dues, if any. Dues are collected by girls and recorded by a group treasurer (selected by the girls).
Girls budget for the short-term needs of the group, on the basis of plans and income from the group dues.
Girls budget for more long-term activities, such as overnight trips, group camping, and special events. 
Girls budget for Take Action projects, including the Girl Scout Bronze Award, if they are pursuing it.
Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors 
Girls estimate costs based on plans.
Girls determine the amount of group dues (if any) and the scope of money-earning projects.
Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales.
Girls carry out budgeting, planning, and group money-earning projects.
Girls budget for extended travel, Take Action projects, and leadership projects.
Girls may be involved in seeking donations for Take Action projects, with council approval.
Girls keep their own financial records and give reports to parents and group volunteers.
Girls budget for Take Action projects, including the Girl Scout Silver or Gold Awards, if they are pursuing them.
Fundraising

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI)
The council’s fund development department works with board members, individuals, alumnae, volunteers, family foundations, corporations, foundations, government entities, organizations and United Way partners to raise funds and awareness for Girl Scouts locally.

Funding sources include, but are not limited to, Family Partnership gifts, public and private gifts and grants, United Way allocations, product program revenue and program fees. Council funding provides council-wide programs, training, support, facilities, maintenance and efficiently run Girl Scout activities.

GSGCNWI is a non-profit entity recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt charitable organization. As a charitable organization, our council can accept tax-deductible donations made to the council and provide donors with the necessary donor acknowledgment.

While a troop is a part of the council, a troop or service unit does not qualify as a non-profit organization with a unique charitable identification number.

Troop
Troop dues are a main source of income for the troop treasury. Each troop sets its own timeline for collection based on its needs and plans for the year. Earnings from the Girl Scout Cookie and fall product programs, as well as troop money-earning activities, help the treasury grow.

Money belongs to the troop as a whole; it is not distributed to individual girls. Money is held in a troop bank account. Troop money supports activities planned by Girl Scouts in partnership with trained adult leaders. The money is often used for service project materials, field trips, badge work, craft supplies, and recognition.

Troop and Service Unit Procedures

  • Solicited Cash Contributions: Per GSUSA’s Blue Book of Basic Documents, girl members may not engage in any direct solicitation for money. Adult members in their Girl Scout capacities may not solicit financial contributions for purposes other than Girl Scouting. Adults may engage in combined fundraising efforts authorized by the Girl Scout council and in which the local council is a beneficiary.
  • Unsolicited Cash Contributions: When a troop, group or service unit receives an unsolicited cash contribution, the gift should be directed to the council for deposit and acknowledgment. In a given membership year, GSGCNWI will return 100% of all gifts directed to a troop, up to a maximum of $100 per girl member. In a given membership year, GSGCNWI will return 100% of all gifts directed to a service unit, up to $1,000. Gifts beyond these maximums will be handled on a case-by-case basis with the individual donor.
  • Solicited In-Kind Contributions: If a troop, group or service unit is intending to solicit an in-kind donation with an estimated value of $500 or more, they must secure approval from the council prior to soliciting the contribution. Please contact our fund development department at 312-912-6345 or by sending an email to funddevelopment@girlscoutsGSGCNWI.org.
  • Matching Contributions Based on Volunteer Hours: GSGCNWI will return 100% of the matching volunteer hour donation to the designated troop and/or service unit.

To ensure appropriate distribution and acknowledgement of contributions directed to a troop or service unit, check memo lines and descriptive information must include "Disburse to Troop [XYZ] or SU [XYZ]." Once the funds are verified as received, a request will be made for the appropriate funds be disbursed to the troop leader.

Please allow up to four weeks of processing time after council receives the funds and the request is submitted. Note that many companies do not distribute funds immediately and can take up to three months to send the funds to council.

Please contact the GSGCNWI fund development at 312-912-6345 or by email if you or someone you know plans to participate, or has participated, in an employee-hour matching program or is expecting unsolicited cash contributions. Additional troop and/or service unit funding issues, specific to our council, will be handled on an individual basis.

Council Philanthropy

Family Partnership
Family Partnership is the community of members, families and alumnae that support our council. One hundred percent of the funds raised through Family Partnership stay within our communities and help ensure that families across our council can access financial help when they need it the most.

Thanks in part to Family Partnership generosity, last year we awarded nearly $160,000 in financial assistance to girls and troops. These funds allowed girls who needed an extra financial boost to become Girl Scouts, attend camp, participate in our unique programs, and have the exceptional experiences that are part of the Girl Scouts experience.

How to Support Family Partnership
Please consider sharing your love of Girl Scouts with a Family Partnership donation in any amount that is important to you. Your support will ensure that any girl can have transformative Girl Scout experiences, just like the Girl Scouts in your life.

Gifts can be made online by credit card when you register for membership or directly on our website. You are also welcome to send a gift in the mail to Fund Development at 20 S. Clark Street, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60603.

Thank you in advance for the time, talent and treasure you give to our council and Family Partnership. We truly appreciate your support! If you have any questions or comments, please contact Fund Development at 312-912-6345 or by email.

Working with Sponsors and Other Organizations

Every girl deserves an empowering leadership experience like Girl Scouts, and local sponsors can help councils make that vision a reality. 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, contact GSGCNWI Fund Development, which can give you guidance on the availability of sponsors, recruiting guidelines, and any council policies or practices that must be followed. We may already have relationships with certain organizations or may know of some reasons not to collaborate with certain organizations.

Important guidelines when approaching money earning with other 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’re 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.