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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 Girl Scouts of Western Ohio-sponsored product program activities (such as the Girl Scout Cookie Program), group money-earning activities (Girl Scouts of Western Ohio approved, of course!), and any dues your troop may charge. With your guidance, girls will learn key money skills that will serve them throughout their lives.     

Who should be managing troop funds?

Managing troop funds includes deciding how to spend the money, being a signer on the troop checking account, managing or helping a troop’s participation in the Fall Product Program or Cookie Program, helping at cookie booths, or handling troop money in any way. Troop funds are managed by:

  • Troop leaders and troop assistants: Only registered and approved volunteers (unrelated and not in the same household) in these two roles can handle or manage troop funds and at least one of the volunteers needs to be a troop leader. Approved volunteers who will be handling the troop finances will need to review our Troop Financial Management handout as part of their training.
  • Girls: Involve the girls as much as their grade level and skills/abilities allow. After all, it’s their money!

Troop leaders and troop assistants are responsible for the proper accounting and management of troop funds. Should mismanagement be reported, a troop financial audit may occur and the adults responsible for troop leadership may be held accountable for any lost or stolen funds and overdraft fees. Following the policies in this chapter will prevent mismanagement and ensure a successful troop experience. Troop finance training is available on our website.

Please note: The following policies and procedure for finances and fund management apply to the money-earning and management of all Girl Scouts groups, including, but not limited to, troops and service units.

Establishing an Account

Girl Scout troop checking accounts are required to have at least two approved volunteer signers (one troop leader and another approved volunteer who are unrelated and not in the same household) on the account. New troops are required to establish the troop bank account within 30 days of the first troop meeting. Any troop earning and spending money is required to have a bank account set up. The Girl Scout leader and at least one other approved volunteer must visit the bank together and complete the forms required to open a new checking account. One signer will hold the check book/debit cards, while the other receives the statements or has access to the account through online services (this procedure safeguards girls’ monies).

New troops need to establish a bank account so they are ready to deposit money, such as group dues and/or money from Product Programs or group money-earning activities. Consider these best practices when working with a group account:

  • Keep group funds in the bank before an activity or trip, paying for as many items as possible in advance of your departure.
  • Use debit cards during the activity and trips and keep all receipts.
  • One signer is in charge of daily accounting and holding the debit card/check book, while the other signer is responsible for receiving monthly statements (online or mail, keep all receipts for troop financial records) and reviewing them monthly.
  • Only signers should hold onto the card.
  • Handle a lost group debit card the same way you would a personal debit card: cancel it immediately.

Please note:

  • Individual members of Girl Scouts MAY NOT open or maintain a Girl Scout checking account. This arrangement does not support the council’s compliance with IRS requirements.
  • At any time, caregivers may ask to see the troop finances such as receipts or bank statements.
  • If you’re taking over an existing group, you become a signer on an existing checking account. Some banks may require a letter from GSWO to remove a previous signer and add new signers. 
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Approved Banks

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s standard requires all troops to open a checking account. The council’s recommended bank for troop accounts is Fifth Third Bank If you do not have a Fifth Third bank within a reasonable distance from your troop meeting place, another bank can be used. However, if a troop account is not a Fifth Third, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio cannot provide support for any issues that you may have with your account and ACH deposits/withdrawals may take longer. See the benefits of banking with Fifth Third below.

Benefits of banking with Fifth Third include: free checking, no minimum opening deposit requirement, free debit cards, electronic monthly statements, starter checks and ATM usage. Our partnership allows us to manage financial resources more efficiently and does not require volunteers to have a third signer on the account. Troops that do not elect to use electronic bank statements will be charged a $3 a month fee for paper statements.

Fifth Third Bank: Contact Nora Altenburg, 419.424.8560

Record Keeping

One critical task for each troop is to keep excellent records and establish a clear accounting system for all money earned and spent. As a troop leader or troop assistant, you’re in charge of making sure money is spent wisely, excellent records are kept (keeping copies of all receipts in a binder or folder), and all income and expenses are tracked (income examples: dues, troop proceeds from Product Programs. Expense examples: earned recognitions, troop meeting activities, field trips, events, and troop trips). For older girls, your role is to coach them in managing the troop’s finances as they learn impeccable record keeping.

  • All troop money earned and received needs to be appropriately secured and should be deposited into the troop account within three days of receipt and should never be held in a personal checking account.
  • Anytime the troop spends or receives money or money/product exchanges hands for any reason, a receipt should be provided and kept on record.
  • Receipts for all transactions need to be kept for a minimum of two years.
  • It is critical that all authorized signers are in communication with the other before spending funds in the account to cover the amount of the transaction before writing a check or making a purchase with a debit card. This will safeguard against overdrawn accounts and bouncing checks.
  • Take into consideration delays in posting transactions to the account in the banking system.
  • All troop expenses should be paid for with a troop check or the troop debit card.
  • Blank checks should never be pre-signed and debit cards should never be used by anyone other than the person they are issued to and only for troop expenses.
  • Cash withdrawals should only be made if absolutely necessary—i.e. cookie booth change, tips for taxi or hotel services. Anything paid or purchased with cash must be documented with a receipt.
  • Volunteers who have paid out of pocket for troop expenses cannot reimburse themselves. Reimbursement may only come from the other signer on the account when a receipt is provided showing the expense.
  • Funds acquired for money-earning projects must be reported and accounted for by the troop, while following all council policies and procedures.

Note: Troops should consistently share troop financial information with caregivers and girls. It is required to keep records (receipts, bank statements and finance reports) a minimum of two years.

  • At any time, caregivers or the council may request troop financial records.
  • Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has the right to audit troop and service unit accounts and request statements and proof of receipts should misuse/mismanagement of funds be suspected or occur. Please know that Girl Scouts of Western Ohio will make a decision based on the best outcome for the girls and this can take up to four weeks. This may result in the responsible volunteers being determined ineligible to serve as a volunteer.
Completion of the Bank Information Form/Troop Financial Report

All Girl Scout troops are required to submit information regarding the troop’s finances annually as part of the appointment and reappointment process. All troops including new troops must complete a final Troop Financial Report and submit a copy of their bank statement by June 30th each year. The Troop Financial Report form can be accessed, completed and submitted online using the Volunteer Toolkit Finance Tab. A paper form can be emailed to Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. The paper form is found at gswo.org/formsanddocs.

Having a Troop Financial Report on file that includes names of two registered and approved volunteer signers is required for:

  • Reappointment of the troop leaders
  • Approval of troop trip forms
  • Participation in the Girl Scout Product Program
  • Access to financial assistance

In addition, all financial transfers to troops/groups or service units, including refunds, financial assistance and cookie proceeds will be made electronically, using the bank account information on the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Finance Information Form.

New Troops

  • New troops are required to submit a Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Finance Information Form within 30 days of opening a checking account.
  • Troop Financial Reports should include all financial information up to the date of your last bank statement.

Returning Troops

  • At the beginning of each Girl Scout year, troop leaders are responsible for making sure their account is up to date and the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Finance Information Form is completed with that information.
  • The Troop Financial Report should begin on the date your previous report ended and include information up to the date of your last bank statement.
Earning Troop Funds

Helping girls decide what they want to do and coaching them as they earn and manage money to pursue their goals is an integral part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). Your Girl Scout troop/group plans and finances its own activities, with your guidance. At the same time, the girls learn many valuable skills that serve them throughout their lives.

Girl Scout groups are funded by a share of money earned through a council-sponsored Product Program (such as the Girl Scout Cookie Program), council approved group money-earning activities and any fees (dues) your group may charge. This is in addition to the $25 annual membership dues that go to the national organization.

Money earned by the girls are for the benefit of all girls in the troop and should be spent in the year the funds are earned unless the troop has a long-range plan for spending the funds. It is important to note that the funds belong to the troop as a whole. Per IRS guidelines for charitable organizations, troops are prohibited from keeping individual girl accounts. All funds expended should benefit all girls in the troop.

Individually Registered Members / Juliettes and Girl Scout Funds

Individually registered members (IRM) or Juliettes are individuals participating in Girl Scouts. IRM's/Juliettes are welcome to participate in our council sponsored Product Programs and all activities that we offer. However, IRM's/Juliettes are not allowed to have their own bank account as this does not support the council's compliance with IRS requirements. Also, they will not receive actual money from our council-sponsored Product Programs. They will receive Digital Dough that they can use for membership, council-sponsored activities, events or camp, and at our council store. Digital Dough is issued based on a scale correlating to the number of packages or items a girl sells during the Product Programs.

Making Decisions about Managing Money with Girls in the Troop

Teaching girls about money management and empowering them to make good financial decisions is part of troop financial management. Since girls are choosing their own Girl Scout experiences, they can also make decisions on the resources that support their Girl Scout adventure. Consider the following as you guide them in the best management of their troop funds:

  • What is the grade level of the troop and how much understanding do they have of money and bank accounts? (Girl Scout Daisies will have adults handle their troop finances; Girl Scout Brownies understand that things cost money and will begin to have an understanding of what is needed to achieve their goals.)
  • What are the goals of the troop?
  • What are the girls learning by the way that the troop funds are managed? What do they need to learn?
  • What if girls join the troop or leave the troop, how will the funds be managed?
    • If a girl leaves Girl Scouts the funds remain property of the troop.
    • If a girl transfers to another troop a portion of the funds may follow her at the discretion of the troop. This is an important discussion to have with the girls in the troop, focusing on fairness and equitable reward.

Consider the questions above to help determine the best way to manage the troop funds. Below are two common troop money management techniques utilizing a troop checking account.

  1. The Common Pot: (This technique is used mostly with younger troops, however will work with all grade levels.) The Common Pot technique is when all earned money goes into the troop’s “common pot” and the funds will be drawn from equally for all girls. This is often how a new troop begins in their money management and then progresses to a more complicated management system.
  2. Tracked Money with a Common Pot: This is used by troops that are planning more complicated, expensive activities like a trip to Savannah, attending Troop Adventure Camp or if girls have individual goals as well as troop goals. This technique allows for a percentage of the money earned going into the troop “common pot” for troop activities and an additional percentage to be tracked for each girl to individually save for a long-term troop activity or a council-sponsored activity. The troop, as one body, still makes decisions about how the money should be spent. The money, even when tracked for individual girls, is never the property of an individual girl.
Helping Girls Reach Their Financial Goals

It’s important that the girls have a clear plan and purpose for their troop funds. One of your opportunities as a volunteer is to 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 money- earning activities, 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 participation in the Cookie Program and Fall Product Program earn enough money to meet the group’s goals? If not, which group money-earning activities might offset the difference in anticipated expense and anticipated income? 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 the Group Money Earning and Project Funding Form and submit it to their community development manager along with the budget worksheet the girls created.

Reviewing Financial and Sales 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 troop volunteer handles money, keeps financial records, and does all group budgeting.
Caregivers may decide they will contribute to the cost of activities.
Girls can participate in Girl Scout Cookie Program and Fall Product Program.
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 safe.
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 Programs.
Girls may decide to pay dues.
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 Programs.
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.
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 Programs.
Girls carry out budgeting, planning, and group money-earning projects.
Girls budget for extended travel either individually or as a troop.
Girls budget for Take Action projects and leadership projects, that can include Girl Scout Silver and Gold Award.
Girls may be involved in seeking donations for Take Action projects, with council approval.
Girls keep their own financial records and give reports to caregivers and group volunteers.
Money-Earning Basics

Groups earn money for their troop in two distinct ways:

  • Product Program—Girls can participate in two council-sponsored Product Programs each year: the Girl Scout Cookie Program and the Fall Product Program. All girl members, including Girl Scout Daisies and Juliettes (individually registered members), are eligible to participate in council-sponsored Product Programs with volunteer supervision. Please remember: volunteers and Girl Scout Council staff don’t sell cookies and other products—girls do.
    • A troop’s primary money-earning activity should be the Girl Scout Cookie Program (however it is not a requirement).
  • Troop/Group Money-Earning—Activities organized by the group (not by the Council) that are planned and carried out by girls (in partnership with adults) and that earn money for the group.
    • Any troop/group money-earning projects cannot take place during council-sponsored Product Programs (Fall Product and Cookie Program)
    • Troop money-earning projects need written approval from the council before a group money-earning activity. Submit the Money Earning \ Project Funding Approval Form to the community development manager.

Girls’ participation in both council-sponsored Product Program activities and group money-earning projects is based upon the following:

  • Voluntary participation
  • Caregiver permission to participate
  • 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 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 (see the next chapter on Safety)
  • Arrangements for safeguarding the money

There are a few specific guidelines—some required by the Internal Revenue Service—that ensure that sales are conducted with legal and financial integrity. To that end, consider the following reminders and cautions:

  • 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 sale ranges set by councils and may not be based on a dollar-per-dollar calculation.
  • Girls cannot participate in games of chance, pledge events (like walk-a-thons), and product demonstration parties.
    • Girl Scout Blue Book policy forbids girls from the direct solicitation of cash. Girls can collect partial payment towards the purchase of a package of Girl Scout Cookies and Girl Scout Fall Product Program products through participation in council approved product donation programs e.g. Operation Cookie.
  • Girl Scouts forbids the use of the Girl Scout trademark to increase revenue for another business (for example: In home product parties). Any business using the Girl Scout trademark must seek authorization from GSUSA.
  • Troop/Group money-earning activities need to be suited to the age 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, while following council procedures.
  • Decisions about how money will be earned and spent should be made by the girls in the troop and communicated in writing to caregivers.
  • No account may be set up in a girl’s name that is replenished through troop funding efforts or donations. No matter what accounting method is used, money earned by girls in Girl Scouting is the property of the troop.
  • Money donated to the troop may not personally benefit one member of the troop.

Other money-earning activities may include:

Collections/Drives:

  • Cell phones for refurbishment
  • Used ink cartridges turned in for money
  • Christmas tree recycling

Entertainment:

  • Talent show
  • Flock of Flamingos traveling yard dĂ©cor

Food/Meal Events:

  • Lunch box auction (prepared lunch or meal auctioned off)
  • Themed meals, like high tea, Indian meal, Mexican dinner (if girls are earning money for travel, tie the meal to their destination)

Service(s):

  • Service-a-thon (people sponsor a girl doing service; funds go to support trip)
  • 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
  • Car Wash
  • Bottle and can recycling
  • Yard or garage sale
  • Books for resale

The best way to earn money for your group is to start with the Girl Scout Cookie and Fall Product Program, from there, your group may decide to earn additional funds on its own.

Remember: It’s great for girls to have opportunities, like the Girl Scout Cookie and Fall Product Program, to earn funds that help them fulfill their goals as part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. 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!

Troop Dues

Troop dues are an option for costs of snacks, supplies, and other materials used by the girls at regular meetings and at girl activities. Troop dues are meant to supplement Cookie and Fall Product Program activities. NO girl shall be denied membership in a troop, or have her participation restricted based on her lack of ability to pay troop dues. When setting the amount of troop dues, the fees should be decided on by all members and consideration given to the income levels of all of the girls in the group. Any collected troop dues should be documented and deposited into the troop account within three days of collection.

Collaborating with Sponsors and Other Organizations

Sponsors help Girl Scout Councils ensure that all girls in the community have an opportunity to participate in Girl Scouting. Community organizations, businesses, religious organizations, and individuals may be sponsors and may provide Girl Scout meeting places, volunteer their time, provide activity materials, or loan equipment. The council or your troop or service unit may already have relationships with certain organizations, or may know of some reasons not to collaborate with certain organizations. Volunteers must obtain permission before seeking financial support from a sponsor. If your group or service unit has a sponsor, the sponsor’s contribution can be recognized by sending thank-you cards composed by the girls, inviting the sponsor to a meeting or court of awards, or working together on a service project. The contribution should also be reflected in the troop’s financial records and report.

When collaborating with any other organization, follow these guidelines:

Do not participate in fundraising for other organizations: Girl Scouts are not allowed to solicit money on behalf of another organization. This includes participating in a walkathon or telethon while in uniform. You and your group can, however, support another organization through Take Action projects or by making a donation from your group’s account. 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”.

Do not participate  in  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.

Do not sell, endorse, or promote commercial products: A “commercial product” is any product sold in a retail establishment or by direct sales (home parties, demonstrations etc.). Since 1939, girls and volunteers have not been allowed to endorse, provide a testimonial for, or resell products made by another company.

Solicitation and Contributions

Adult members in their Girl Scout capacities may not solicit financial contributions for purposes other than Girl Scouting. Adult members may engage in combined fundraising efforts authorized by Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and in which Girl Scouts of Western Ohio council is a beneficiary. Girl members may not engage in any direct solicitation for money except for Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors, who may solicit philanthropic donations to their councils of cash or in-kind goods for Girl Scout Gold Award projects. Please see the Gold Award Money Earning section below for more information. In addition, girls must abide by Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s policies and procedures with regard to this matter.

  • The use of crowdfunding platforms by service units or troops is not permitted.
  • Girl Scout troops/groups may not, in most situations, solicit grants or donations from foundations, corporations, businesses or agencies. 
    • An exception to the above guideline is made if Girl Scout volunteers work for companies offering small grants (up to $1,000) for special projects and not-for-profit groups supported by their employees.
  • These funds may be requested for special service unit, day camp, or troop/group projects (such as a large service project), with prior permission of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. Please contact your Girl Scout Service Center if you are considering submission of a grant to your company.
  • Prior permission must be obtained from the Girl Scout center before adults are allowed to solicit donations on the behalf of a Girl Scout troop/group. The Girl Scout troop/group must submit the Project Funding Approval Form along with a budget plan and budget for the proposed project.
  • Girl Scouts cannot endorse products or businesses. This includes third party fundraisers such as restaurant nights.
Donations & Grants

As a not-for-profit organization, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio must follow all IRS guidelines for a 501c3 organization. All Girl Scout groups (troops) and service units are an extension of the council, including the council IRS not-for-profit status. Therefore, all group and service unit finances are considered assets of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. In order to ensure compliance with IRS and audit guidelines, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has the following policies regarding donations and grants from individuals and organizations to Girl Scouts groups or service units.

Donations

  • Girls may not directly solicit funds from individuals or organizations. This includes no solicitation for donations during Girl Scout Cookie Booths and no donation jars on tables.
  • Troops and service units may receive a donation from any one individual or organization for no more than $250 during the membership year (single donation or cumulative). The funds may be used at the troops discretion.
  • Any donation amount over $250 must be turned into a Girl Scouts center and will be the responsibility of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. These funds will be held in the Council's general fund until a budget is submitted outlining what the project is and how the funds will be used to support the project. 
  • If donors are requesting a letter of acknowledgement for any amount (letters of acknowledgement will only be sent for amounts over $250), the funds must be turned into the Girl Scouts center using a Girl Scout Donor form attached to the check. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio will then send the donor a letter and reissue the money to the troop/service unit once a budget is received explaining the project and what the funds will be used for. If a donation is received without a Girl Scout Donor Form attached, it is assumed that this donation is to the Girl Scout general operational budget.
  • All donations must be reported on the troop/service unit annual financial report.

Grants

  • Girls may not directly solicit funds from individuals or organizations.
  • Individual troops and service units may not solicit grants or financial donations from foundations or corporations.
  • Troops and service units may receive up to $250 during a membership year from companies that offer volunteer matching grants. These funds are to be used for special service projects conducted by the service unit, day camp or troop. In order to receive these funds, troops and/or service units must receive prior permission and submit a Project Funding Approval Form to the director of regional services and have a current financial report on file with the Girl Scouts center.
  • Please contact your director of regional services to discuss any exceptions to the above.
Gold Award Money Earning

Money-earning activities for Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts pursuing their Gold Award is similar to fundraising for other troop activities except it is used for the girl's project and not the group. The individual should submit a Troop / Group Money Earning Project Form to their program support contact for approval of fundraisers beyond the Girl Scout Fall Product and Cookie Programs. Girls may also choose to designate funds from the Girl Scout Product Programs for Highest Awards project if the troop votes to allocate a portion of troop funds to a girl's project.

Funds acquired through money-earning projects or donated to Girl Scouts for a Gold Award project via sponsorships, crowdfunding, or a grant must be deposited into a Girl Scout affiliated bank account (example: troop account) and must follow council reporting procedures.

Donations & Grants

Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts can solicit donations of funds, supplies, and materials for their Gold Award project from community members, organizations, and businesses. Funds donated must be deposited into an approved Girl Scout bank account (example: a troop account). If donors are requesting a letter of acknowledgement, the funds must be turned into a regional Girl Scout Center using a Girl Scout Donor form attached to the check specifying the name of the girl and that the donation is for her Gold Award project. Letters of acknowledgement will only be sent for amounts over $250.

All grant applications for Gold Award projects must be vetted and approved. Girls must contact the Highest Awards support staff for their region and project specific details needed for the application at least 3 weeks prior to the grand submission deadline.

Crowdfunding

Gold Award Girl Scouts are the only girls eligible to use crowdfunding as a fundraiser for their project needs. Girls may only use the crowdfunding site overseen by Girl Scouts of Western Ohio called IOBY (In Our Back Yards). The council will oversee all crowdfunding for Gold Award projects through this organization and girls must fill out additional paperwork and follow specific guidelines for their project to be included on the site. Girls should contact their region's Highest Award support staff prior to submitting their Gold Award Proposal for more information on this option.

Leadership Changes

Since records and other property belong to the troop, not an individual, they should be passed along to the next leader within 30 days from a change in leadership. If a disbanding troop’s girls are placed in multiple troops, the disbanding troop’s treasury may be pro-rated to each new troop based on the number of transferring girls and the financial decisions made by troop members. Troops must follow the council’s process for troop checking account signers. Until the new bank signer gets added to the account, all existing bank signers will continue to have access to troop funds. If there is a problem adding and removing a volunteer at the bank, please contact council staff to get written permission to make these changes.

Reminder: When debit card holders are no longer involved with the troop, the debit card should be cancelled immediately with the bank. Whenever there is a change of signers on the account, the password to online access must be changed.

Disbanding a Troop and Closing a Checking Account

When a troop decides to disband and/or is not reregistering for the upcoming membership year, they must follow the procedures below:

  • Be sure all checks and other debits have cleared the account.
  • If you have funds remaining that need to be turned into council, we recommend you get a cashier’s check written to Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.
  • Close the troop bank account.
  • A final Troop Financial Report must be completed within 60 days of disbanding. Answer the disbanding questions on the report, noting that this is a “closed account”. (Be sure to include account number.)
  • Give the bank account checkbook/debit cards and records to the service unit chair, service unit treasurer or return to a Girl Scout center. (The service team will work with staff to ensure that troop funds are handled appropriately.)
  • Any supplies purchased with troop funds should be given to the service unit, another troop or returned to a Girl Scout center.

If a girl(s) is/are moving from the disbanding troop to another troop:

  • The girl’s portion of the funds will be divided equally based on the girls continuing into a new troop. (Example: $500 remains in the account only 5 out of 6 girls are moving to a new troop. $100 per remaining girl will be sent to the new troop) All funds must be transferred prior to completing the final finance report.
  • Troop funds must be spent prior to disbanding and by the end of the current Girl Scout year (September 30). Unregistered members and non-viable troops (less than 5 girls and 2 adults) cannot spend troop funds.
  • The individual girl’s badge record should be given to the girl for her future reference and use.
  • If none of the girls chose to remain active in Girl Scouts, the remaining funds must be returned to the Girl Scout Council for use in the Financial Assistance Fund.
  • Girl Scout money left in accounts when groups disband become the property of the council.

Important: Money or monetary items (i.e. gift cards) may not be given to individual girls or adults. Money in the troop bank account belongs to the troop. Money earned is never the property of an individual girl or adult. Disbanding troop funds that do not follow girls continuing in Girl Scouts are supporting girls with financial needs.

Service Unit Bank Accounts

Service units maintain bank accounts to support the events planned within the service unit.  Service units may not raise money for the service unit. Events should be designed so that fees for the activity cover the expenses. There may be times when an event brings in additional money that was not expected.  This excess is to be used to offset the cost of other events.

Some service units host family giving events and collect money to donate to the GSWO Family Giving Campaign.  If this is done, it must be approved by the community development manager, and the event should be clearly identified as an opportunity to raise money for the organization.  Those paying for the event must know what money is going to the campaign and must be informed about family giving.

Service units may be eligible to receive an allocation from GSWO based on their current balance and use of previous allocation funds.  These funds are to be used to offset indirect costs of program activities like printing, the overall administration of the service unit, and volunteer appreciation.

Service units must complete a Service Unit Financial Report by June 30 and are required to provide bank account information, utilize a preferred bank unless prior approval for extenuating circumstances has been received by the director of regional services.

The management of service unit bank accounts must follow the policies found in this chapter, including, but not limited to, adhering to the policy requiring two non-related volunteers signers on the bank account and the account must be at a council-approved bank.

For additional information on managing service unit funds, see Service Unit Treasury Guide. Connect with your community development manager for a copy.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is provided to individual applicants based on specific financial need and the applicant’s compliance with the financial assistance philosophy for membership and programmatic activities.

Financial Assistance- Membership

  • Girl Scouts of Western Ohio is committed to ensuring that all girls and adult volunteers, who want to participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, that are willing to make the Girl Scout Promise and accept the Girl Scout Law, are welcome. No girl or adult volunteer will be prevented from participating in Girl Scouting due to financial barriers.
  • Membership subsidy is provided to individual girls and adult volunteers based on their specific family financial need. Financial assistance may only be requested by caregivers or individual adult volunteers, based on individual /family need. Troop leaders may not request financial assistance for “the troop” or on behalf of troop members.
  • Membership subsidy is available on a limited basis to adult volunteers. Assistance is available to an adult in a volunteer role that is needed to meet volunteer requirements or girl/adult ratio (e.g. troop leader). Financial assistance will be considered for additional adult volunteers, when there is a specific financial need and the volunteer has agreed to an active volunteer role with the troop. See Safety Activity Checkpoints Guidelines for more information on required adults.
  • Each year, Girl Scout troops/groups are encouraged to designate a portion of their troop funds for the annual membership dues.
  • Renewing Girl Scout troops with girls or adults must participate in the Cookie Program to be eligible for financial assistance.

Membership Financial Assistance Guidelines

1.  Girls—Caregivers of girls requesting financial assistance complete the standard online registration process. If the family is unable to pay for the membership fee, they can select financial assistance at the payment screen. The person registering the girl will receive notification when the financial assistance is applied.

2. Required Adult Volunteers (Troop Leaders)—An adult requesting financial assistance for membership completes the registration process and may request financial assistance if they are unable to pay the fee and they are in a role required for the troop or group.

3. Other Adult Volunteers—If the adult volunteer is not in a required volunteer role, (e.g. troop assistant), she/he may still be eligible for financial assistance if she/he has a specific financial need and she/he is committing to an active volunteer role with the troop. The adult volunteer completes the standard registration process and requests financial assistance. She/ he will be sent a form where additional information can be provided, confirming financial need and volunteer commitment. Decisions about financial assistance for volunteers in roles that are not required are made on an individual basis.

Financial Assistance—Camp/Program Activities

Philosophy: Girl Scout events and activities will result from girl-adult planning that allows Girl Scouts adequate time to prepare troop or group money-earning projects that will support the girls’ choice of activities. Financial assistance is granted to individual applicants who have a specific and distinct financial need. All applicants are to contribute some portion to the activity cost.

Camp/Program Activities Financial Assistance Guidelines

  • Applicant must be currently registered with Girl Scouts of the USA.
  • Requests are to be on current forms.
  • Financial assistance is available on an individual basis. Troops / groups are not eligible for financial assistance.
  • Individual girls may request financial assistance for the following opportunities: council-sponsored opportunities, summer camp opportunities, Destinations/getaways, troop trips.
  • Financial assistance applications should indicate that the request is based on the financial need of the individual applicant.
  • Requests should indicate that the applicant has participated in event planning and money-earning with other troop members over a period of time based on the guidelines found in the Girl Scout grade level handbooks.
  • Adults are eligible to apply for financial assistance for troop activities and council-sponsored adult education opportunities ONLY when the participation of that adult is required to ensure that Safety Activity Checkpoints are fulfilled.
  • If most or all members of a troop must request financial assistance to participate in a troop activity, it may be an indication that further troop planning is needed. If a troop does not meet its financial goals, adjustments should be made to the activities themselves or the projected timetable.
  • Forms must have complete information in order to be reviewed. Incomplete forms will be returned.
  • A current Troop Financial Report must be on file for troop members to be eligible for financial assistance.

Girl Scout leaders must review financial assistance philosophy and guidelines with caregivers and encourage caregivers to submit the request form directly to their Girl Scout center or online.

Camp/Program Financial Assistance- Responsibilities of Leaders
If individual girls within a troop wish to apply for financial assistance for a program opportunity, the leader will:

  • Ensure that the financial assistance philosophy and guidelines are followed.
  • Turn in completed application form to the appropriate Girl Scouts center. Forms must be received one month prior to the date of the event or activity except for activities with a budget over $200 per person which must be turned in three months prior to the event.
  • Ensure that caregivers and troop sections are filled out entirely, including caregiver signature.

Caregiver Instructions:

  • Review financial assistance philosophy and guidelines.

For a troop activity, complete the required sections and return to the Girl Scout leader; the leader must complete the Girl Scout leader section of the Financial Assistance Request Form. For girls who are either registered as individual members or requesting assistance for a non-troop activity, the caregiver must complete the caregiver sections of the form including a caregiver signature and mail the form directly to the Girl Scout center.

Camp/Program Notification of Financial Assistance Status
Girl Scout leaders and/or caregivers will be notified of the financial assistance amount received or any questions or concerns within three weeks of their receipt at the Girl Scout center.

Notification letters will indicate:

  • Problems/concerns that must be addressed before further action can be taken
  • Action taken regarding financial assistance
  • Other individuals receiving a copy of the letter

Financial Assistance will be made through an electronic transfer of funds whenever possible, including:

  • To the troop checking account for all troop activities
  • Directly to the appropriate department for all Girl Scouts of the USA, Destinations, or Girl Scouts of Western Ohio activities