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.
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 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 signers on the account 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.
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:
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 at 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.
There are many benefits to banking with Fifth Third. Meet with a banker to discuss which options are best for you. Our partnership allows us to manage financial resources more efficiently and does not require volunteers to have a third signer on the account.
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.
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.
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/bankinfoform.
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.
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 (GSUSA).
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.
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio recognizes that more and more payments are occurring electronically and through various means. We have updated our policies for troop and service unit bank accounts and the use of Third-Party Service Organizations (TSO) such as Pay Pal, Venmo, Square (etc.) for volunteers.
TSOs or money payment apps, are to be set up under Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s tax ID when being used for Girl Scouting purposes. If you cannot use our tax ID number, you will want to consider a different payment app. Troop bank accounts are to be directly linked as the depository bank for these apps. Girl Scout funds should not be deposited into personal bank accounts prior to being deposited into the Girl Scout account.
Below are examples of money payment apps that could be used to collect funds for troop or service unit accounts. These platforms or apps allow troops or service units to set up accounts under our tax ID number. Setting up a money payment app account not under our tax ID number can make you subject to the tax law changes outlined below. (Please see Tax law changes below for further details).
Please Note: Venmo should NOT be used as a money payment app for Girl Scouting purposes as they do not allow multiple accounts under the same tax ID number. See tax law changes below.
Tax law changes effective January 1, 2022:
Due to tax law changes effective 1/1/2022 you may receive a 1099-K for payments received for product programs or other caregiver payments (dues, events, etc.) for your troop from a money payment app when using a personal account and not an account set up under GSWO’s tax ID number. If you are using a money payment app with GSWO’s tax ID then you should not receive a 1099-K.
Volunteers may choose to use a personal money payment app, such as a Venmo account that they use for multiple purposes, and they would receive a 1099K if the total amount paid to them from all sources equals $600 or more in a calendar year. The volunteer has the option to identify the money is not for sale of products and is a reimbursement; however, this does not preclude them from receiving a 1099K.
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:
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.
*If, as the troop leader, you are choosing not to transfer a portion of funds to another troop when a girl transfers out of your troop, you must provide a detailed statement as to the reason for not releasing the funds, including why this decision is fair for all girls involved.
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.
|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.|
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
An exception to the above guideline is made if Girl Scout volunteers work for companies offering small grants or donations (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. Prior approval includes contacting the regional director of your region and completing an Additional Troop/Group Money form. This form must also include a detailed budget of how the funds will be spent. In addition, the company issuing the donation/grant should complete a Donor Form and include it with the check.
If a troop receives an unsolicited donation over $250, these funds must come to the Girl Scout center to be held until an Additional Troop/Group Money form is filled out to include a detailed budget of how the funds will be spent. Once this information is received then the funds will be turned over to the troop.
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.
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.
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.
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 a letter 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.
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 and need to be turned over to the council.
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, 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 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.
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.
Go to the Financial Assistance page and complete a short online form to request uniform financial assistance. Or ask your staff council support person for more information.
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.
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:
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.
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