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Girl_Learning_Money_Skills

Troop Finances

With your guidance, your Girl Scouts will learn money skills that will serve them throughout their lives. Your Girl Scout troop will plan and finance its own activities, and you’ll coach your girls as they earn and manage troop funds. Troop activities are powered by proceeds earned through council-sponsored product program activities (such as the Girl Scout Cookie Program), group money-earning activities (council approved, of course!), and any dues your troop may charge.

Leading a Girl Scout troop should not cause undue hardship on a family or troop budget. As you consider the year ahead, you will need to plan carefully and discuss income and expenses regularly with both girls and parents.

It is highly recommended that the troop set a budget, working with the girls and parents. Some questions to ask are:

  • What activities do the girls want to do for the year, and what are the associated costs?
  • What revenue can be generated through Girl Scout Fall Product and Girl Scout Cookie Programs to offset these expenses? What additional revenue is available (e.g., troop dues)?

Participating in the product programs is a great way of generating some revenue for the troop, as well as learning some valuable lessons in financial literacy and customer service.

As the troop becomes more established, they can include in their budget to fund a portion (or all) of the girls’ membership dues, this contributes to the troop being Girl Led, where girls managing their Girl Scout experience.

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 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 troops are funded by a share of money earned through council sponsored product program activities (such as the Girl Scout Cookie Program), troop money-earning activities (council approved, of course), and any dues your troop may charge.

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

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 sale 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:

  •  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 an accessible debit card for the troop account in case the main card is lost.
  • Handle a lost troop debit card the same way you would a personal debit card: cancel it immediately.
  • Keep troop funds in the bank before an activity or trip and pay for as many items as possible in advance of your departure. 

When to Open a Troop Bank Account
You must open a troop bank account when your troop has accumulated $50.

Troop Bank Account Signers
Each account must have two signers and each signer on a troop account must:

  • Not be related and not residing in the same household as the other signer.
  • Be an appointed volunteer with a successful background check.
  • Be a current registered member and permitted to handle troop funds.
  • Complete the Troop Finance Report training course.

Steps for Opening Troop Bank Account

  1. Decide which signer will be responsible for troop funds and for keeping a daily account of expenditures, and which signer will be responsible for receiving the bank statement and reconciling the finance report.
  2. Choose a bank. Although the council does not endorse a specific bank, we do our council business with these “Girl Scout friendly” banks: PNC and Richland Bank.
  3. When you are ready to open a troop bank account, email customercare@gsoh.org the following information:
    • Names of the two approved troop volunteers who will be the account signers.
    •  Name of the bank the troop will be using.
    • Mailing address of the account signer receiving the bank statements/correspondence.
    • Email address of account signer who will have online access to the troop account.
  4. You will receive from Customer Care within five business days:
    • A GSOH letter which authorizes opening the new account under our tax ID number and designates who the signatories are on the account.
    • W-9 form with GSOH’s EIN (Tax ID number).
    • Corporate Resolution and Articles of Incorporation granting GSOH access to bank account information.

Information about Opening a Troop Bank Account

  • Any troop bank account opened without the above listed documents will be considered unauthorized and subject to bank compliance audit and ultimate account closure.
  • You will need to take all forms to the bank when opening the troop bank account.
  • The account should be a non-profit, charitable account. This designation is important.
  • You need to sign the bank signature card. Please use the name that appears on your driver’s license. Many banks request official documents (e.g., driver’s license, etc.), and, if your name does not match, it can create issues in opening an account, or doing troop business.
  • Within the bank letter, there will be explicit instructions as to how the account should be named, to include the troop number. It is important that the bank follows these instructions, to avoid potential issues in setting up online banking for the account.

ACH Forms

The ACH (Automated Clearinghouse) is an electronic network for financial transactions used to support product programs.

When you open a troop bank account or make changes to the bank or signers on the account, you need to submit the ACH Form to the council. This form can be found here or you can request one from Customer Care.

The complete the following steps:

  1. Complete, sign, and date the document.
  2. Include either a canceled check or a letter on bank letterhead confirming the account number and ABA routing information.
  3. Send both the form and the canceled check/bank letter to the finance office at the council via US Postal Service or scan and email it to: finance@gsoh.org.

It is important that this form is fully completed and returned to the council. You will not be considered a troop in good standing and able to participate in the cookie or fall product programs until the ACH Form and the confirmation information (cancelled check or letter from the bank) is received by the council.

Checks, Debit and Credit Cards, Online Banking, and Overdraft Protection

  • GSOH does not require two signatures on checks. Most banks should provide free checks if the troop chooses to use them.
  • Under no circumstances should the troop account link with any personal account. If the troop has a savings account connected to the troop checking account, both accounts must be accounted for in the troop financial reports. Troops should typically only have savings accounts if they have a council approved trip for which they are saving money.
  • Debit cards can be requested for the two signers on the account only.
  • Protect your debit cards and your online banking information, to prevent unauthorized access and use of troop funds. Make sure the cards are secured properly.
  • Troop credit cards are not permitted for troop use. If offered, these must be declined.
  • Online banking can be set up for the account, documenting the email for the troop volunteer responsible for receiving the bank statements.
  • Overdraft protection should not be added to the account.
  • Troops are not permitted to utilize Square®, PayPal®, or other unauthorized electronic forms of banking.

Inheriting a Bank Account

If you are inheriting a bank account, follow the same directions as opening a new troop account. Most banks require at least one, sometimes both, of the prior signers on the troop account to close or change an existing troop account. Please understand that is a bank requirement. If you need assistance contact your membership manager.

Any changes to the troop account require a new ACH Form to be completed and forwarded to the finance department to remain compliant and in good standing.

Regulatory Requirements (Patriot Act and Bank Secrecy Act)

To comply with the Patriot Act, most signers should be prepared to provide two forms of ID. One of these is a photo ID. Typically, a driver’s license and debit/credit card is used.

In addition to your ID, the signers will be asked for the following information: name, address, phone number, birthdate, Social Security number, employer and occupation, and may be asked to complete a beneficial ownership form for the account. Do not be concerned with the request, it is to comply with federal regulations contained within the Patriot Act. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your membership manager.

Throughout the year but particularly during the cookie program, you may be asked by the bank for personal information, such as your name, address, and Social Security number when depositing funds received from the cookie program into your bank account. Similar to the Patriot Act above, please do not be alarmed by this request, as this is a requirement from the Bank Secrecy Act (strengthened by the Patriot Act), which is triggered when there is $10,000 or more deposited in one day. Although you may have only deposited a small amount on any given day, remember hundreds of GSOH accounts may also be depositing in that bank family and your deposit could be the one that causes the total to reach the threshold.

Operating a Troop Account

It is important that all members of the troop pay attention to the finances of the troop. Below are the roles for everyone.

  • Both signers: They are both responsible for the financial transactions and the integrity of all financial reporting. Signers are the guardians of the troop funds, ensuring that all spending is in accordance with troop agreement and the council guidelines.
  • Girl members: The monies that are in the troop account belong to the girls. They collectively decide how to spend the funds, for the benefit of the girls.
  • Parents: Parents of troop girls are entitled to a copy of troop financial records at any time. It is recommended that parents are provided with a monthly or quarterly financial report, outlining revenues, expenses, and remaining funds of the troop.
  • Council: Troops operate under the council’s Tax ID number and tax-exempt status. Troops must adhere to all IRS guidelines so as not to endanger the tax status of the entire council. It is important to keep your bank balance in good standing with the bank. Operating at a negative balance not only creates issues for the troop with the bank, but also for future troops that may want to start an account at a bank branch.

Appropriate Expenses for Troop Funds

Expenses incurred for direct troop benefit (i.e., activity fees, materials, and supplies) are ones that should be drawn from the troop and/or from parental resources.

Troop debit card or troop checks should be used to pay for troop expenses. Reimbursements for useof personal funds should be kept to a minimum, handled promptly and fully documented.

Some expenses that can be reimbursed are:

  • Purchasing girl membership.
  • Girl Scout Journey, Girl’s Guide, or other resource publications.
  • Materials directly benefiting the troop (craft supplies, camp supplies, or equipment).
  • Costs of required troop leadership volunteer development courses to be safety compliant. These are Troop First Aider and Troop Camp Certified volunteers and can be reimbursed up to one per troop. Cost caps are $10 for Troop Camp and $35 for First Aid CPR.
  • Earned Girl Scout badges, pins, and awards.
  • For trips, please consult the council’s travel policy regarding what are approved expenses.

If troops are using troop funds to renew the membership of the girls in the troop then the funds can also be used to pay for the memberships of the safety ratio required troop leadership volunteers.

  • For Daisy and Brownie troops, the troop girls and caregivers must agree to use troop funds for the membership fees for the safety ratio required troop leadership volunteers.
  • For Junior and above troops, the troop girls must agree to use troop funds for the membership fees for the safety ratio required troop leadership volunteers.

The following expenses may not be reimbursed or purchased from the troop funds:

  • Purchase of adult volunteer memberships.
  • Items benefiting individual girls and adults (i.e., gift cards, souvenirs, clothing, etc.).

Troops may not track individual girl balances within the troop account. Girls may not receive individual credit for funds or the portion of the troop account that resulted from their contributed troop dues or their money earned or product programs program troop proceeds. The IRS requires that 501(c)(3) organizations must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests. The IRS has issued rulings recently that organizations that earmark fundraising for particular members is a nonexempt activity and those organizations may be required to pay unrelated business income tax or lose their tax-exempt status. If you have any questions on private benefit or troop account activities, please reach out to your membership manager.

All funds, however earned, held by the troop, must be used exclusively to support Girl Scout activities.

Deposits
All money earned by the girls should be deposited into the troop account. A receipt should be completed for any money given by parents for deposit into the girls’ troop account and provided to the parent to document the money transaction. Any personal checks received, made out to the troop, should be deposited in the bank immediately, to minimize the chance of non-sufficient funds.

Any money from troop money-earning or program activities (cookie, fall product programs) is for the benefit of all the girls in the troop, not individual girls. This is an IRS regulation.

Any funds earned from money-earning activities should be appropriately reflected in the troop financial records.

Expenses
Under no circumstances should troop funds be used for personal expenses. Troop funds can only be used for Girl Scout activities and events. Troop purchases must be kept separate and documented by individual receipts, which are to be itemized with the establishment’s name and date of purchase. The majority of purchases are handled through the troop debit card. Although cash purchases and ATM withdrawals cannot always be avoided, these should be kept to a minimum and appropriately documented.

Troops are not permitted to utilize Square®, PayPal®, or other unauthorized electronic forms of banking.

You may request state sales tax exemption when purchasing supplies for Girl Scout use only. Any inappropriate use can result in IRS complications. Many retailers require a Blanket Certificate of Exemption on file with the state. Contact your membership manager or the finance department to obtain a copy if needed.

Note: Council sales tax exemption is within the boundaries of Ohio.

If you have questions about the appropriateness of using funds, contact your membership manager.

Failure to comply with council policy in the administration of troop finances can result in the termination of the volunteer’s position. If an audit of troop finances indicates theft of girl funds has occurred, the volunteer may be subject to legal action to collect the money owed, in addition to the termination of their position.

Both signers on the account are responsible for documenting financial transactions and ensuring that all income and expenses are documented appropriately. Both signers should meet regularly to review the financial transactions. Any irregularities should be reported immediately to your membership manager. Regular financial updates should be shared with the parents to promote transparency.

Be sure Girl Scout families understand these key points:

  • Girl Scout troops should be self-supporting; they should not rely on funding from the girls’ families.
  • Girls, parents and sponsors should know where troop funds come from and how they are spent.

When a Girl Changes Troops
The amount of troop funds is assessed and divided equally by the number of girls registered in the troop during that membership year. All funds are troop funds and have no relationship to the amount of funds generated by an individual girl. The transferring girls’ portion is sent to the new troop leadership. The transferred funds become part of the overall troop funds in the new troop. Under no circumstances should this money be given directly to the girl. If a girl wishes to continue as an individually registered Girl Scout, consult your membership manager.

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

Disbanding a Troop
When a troop is left without troop leadership volunteers, the family members should contact their service unit manager or membership manager for assistance and options.

In the event the troop wishes to disband, follow these steps:

  1. Download and complete the Troop Disbanding Report found here.
  2. Close the troop bank account. When closing the bank account, be sure all checks and other debits have cleared the account. All signers may have to close the account in person.
  3. Obtain the final bank statement from the bank.
  4. Collect a bank check for any remaining funds. Any remaining money in the bank account becomes the property of the council. Funds will be held for a period of one year, in the event the troop reorganizes, or girls rejoin other troops. At the end of the year, any remaining money is used to provide financial assistance to girls.
  5. Complete the troop finance report.
  6. Submit all the above documents to your membership manager.

All paperwork needs to be submitted to the council no later than one month from the time of disbandment of the troop.

Under no circumstances are troop funds distributed directly to a girl or girls who are leaving a troop for any reason. Funds cannot be used to purchase items that individually benefit a girl (examples: gift cards, money for college, a pillow for her bed, payment for one girl to attend camp, or anything that is not part of the Girl Scout troop experience.) Nor can funds be donated to a specific troop, service unit, or outside organization. For questions about troop fund distribution, contact your membership manager or service unit.

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.

Please see the GSOH Volunteer Resource Guide (VRG) for the full requirements and steps to successfully complete the actions listed above.

[Council: You may want to insert local financial policies and procedures here.]

Financial Assistance

Membership Registration Financial Assistance
Financial assistance is available to pay a portion of the annual membership fee so that every girl can benefit from a Girl Scout experience. Limited funds are assigned yearly to give girls the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new friends and become our leaders for tomorrow regardless of their ability to pay. The amount requested must reflect the true needs of the family. The troop leader is prohibited from making the request on behalf of the parent/guardian.

Limited financial assistance is also available for volunteers serving in the troop leadership position. Again, the amount requested should truly reflect the need of the volunteer.

Financial assistance is not granted to entire troops.

Girl Scout troops are encouraged to designate a portion of their troop funds for the renewal of their annual membership registration fees.

The signed Financial Assistance Request form, partial payment (if applicable) and completed paper membership registration form are returned to the membership manager for your area or mailed to the council office.

You can find the form at https://www.gsoh.org/forms.

Girl Scout Program Financial Assistance
Some funds are available for registered members who need financial assistance to participate in Girl Scout program activities.

You can find the form at https://www.gsoh.org/forms. Application for financial assistance for a specific event does not serve as event registration.

Financial assistance is available for:

  • girl membership fee
  • GSOH sponsored programs/camp fee (minus deposit where applicable)
  • uniform essentials
  • The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting
  • Journey books
  • Girl Scout Destinations
  • Camperships

Financial assistance is determined by:

  • Completed application.
  • Participation in the Girl Scout Fall Product Program and the Girl Scout Cookie Program.
  • Number of family members and multiple Girl Scouts in the immediate household.
  • Family income bracket and employment.
  • Previous financial assistance.

Application Process

  1. Download the Financial Assistance Application at https://www.gsoh.org/forms or request to have one mailed.
  2. Complete and return the Financial Assistance Application.
  3. Notification of financial assistance status will be emailed or mailed to the applicant.

Please remember limited funds are available.

Money-Earning Basics for Troops

Troops 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 sale activities each year with volunteer supervision: the cookie program and one other council-authorized product sale. 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. 

Participation Guidance
Girls’ participation in both council-sponsored product sale 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 sale 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 sales as their primary money-earning activity; any group money earning shouldn’t compete with the Girl Scout Cookie Program or other council product sales.
  • Obtain written approval from your council before a group money-earning event; work with your membership manager and fill out this form when sending in your request. 
  • 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 by the local Girl Scout council 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 sale 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 GSLE.
  • 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 sales. Funds acquired through group money-earning projects must be reported and accounted for by the group according to council procedures. 

Sample Money-Earning Activities
Collections/Drives

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

Entertainment

  • Talent show

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).
  • Spaghetti dinners or pancake breakfasts

Sales

  • Garage/yard sale
  • Book re-sale 
  • Sale of crafts made by the girls 

Service(s)

  • Service-a-thon (people sponsor a girl doing service and funds go to support a trip or other activity)
  • Raking leaves, weeding, cutting grass, shoveling snow, walking pets
  • Cooking class or other specialty class
  • Car wash
  • Gift wrapping

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. 

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-sale activities. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity 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 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 sales—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. 

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 part of the GSLE. 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 and Service Unit Finance Reports

The Finance Report provides transparency into the financial well-being of the troop and service unit. It is the responsibility of the designated signers on the account to complete these reports and turn them into their membership manager by May 10 and November 10 each year.

If the reports are not submitted within one month of the deadlines as noted, the signers on the troop account are at risk of being put on financial restrictions, where they will not be permitted to manage finances/resources going forward.

Completing a Troop Finance Report

  • Account for all financial activity within the report. This includes all money coming into the troop (i.e., fall product program, cookie program, troop dues, etc.), as well as all expenses being spent by the troop. Please make sure to include details describing all transactions to avoid questions from the auditors.
  • Include a copy of the final sales report if participating in the fall product or cookie programs. You can get these reports from both product program online portals.
  • Submit a printed or electronic copy (in PDF form) of the troop bank statements for each month included within the reporting time-period. This should be sent with each report. Be sure to include all pages.
  • The May report represents activity from November 1–April 30; the November report represents May 1–October 31. The bank may have different statement dates. Please provide the most recent bank statement with each report.
  • Important: The report must be signed by both designated volunteers. Both signers are responsible for the accuracy of the information contained in the report and are held accountable for any discrepancies.
  • Please Note: Each report will be audited for accuracy. If there are questions from the auditors, it is the responsibility of the signers on the troop account to respond on a timely basis.

Failure to submit a finance report within two months of the deadline could result in removal from the volunteer position.

Troop income/expense reports are shared with the parents on a regular basis to provide transparency. Parents may request to see troop finance reports with the detailed cash record of troop income or expenditures at any time.

Discrepancies/Mismanagement of Funds

If there is a discrepancy with the troop funds:

  • The troop leadership will meet to determine the problem and resolve it.
  • If the problem is not resolved or if the discrepancy is part of a financial audit, the membership manager will reach out to the leadership to resolve the issue.
  • If there are missing troop funds that are not resolved, a parent meeting will be called.
  • Parents will make the decision as to what action, if any, will be taken with regards to the mismanagement of funds.
  • The troop volunteers and/or parents are responsible for pursuing any legal action if that is the decision of the troop.

Failure to submit a finance report within two months of the deadline could result in removal from the volunteer position.

Troop income/expense reports are shared with the parents on a regular basis to provide transparency. Parents may request to see troop finance reports with the detailed cash record of troop income or expenditures at any time.

Discrepancies/Mismanagement of Funds
If there is a discrepancy with the troop funds:

  • The troop leadership will meet to determine the problem and resolve it.
  • If the problem is not resolved or if the discrepancy is part of a financial audit, the membership manager will reach out to the leadership to resolve the issue.
  • If there are missing troop funds that are not resolved, a parent meeting will be called.
  • Parents will make the decision as to what action, if any, will be taken with regards to the mismanagement of funds.
  • The troop volunteers and/or parents are responsible for pursuing any legal action if that is the decision of the troop.
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.
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, consult your council; they can give you guidance on the availability of sponsors, recruiting guidelines, and any council policies or practices that must be followed. Your council may already have relationships with certain organizations, or may know of some reasons not to collaborate with certain organizations.

Donations and Grants
As a not-for-profit organization, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland must follow all IRS guidelines for 501c3 organizations. All Girl Scout troops and service units are an extension of the council’s IRS not for-profit status.

To ensure compliance with IRS and audit guidelines, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland has the following policies regarding donations and grants from individuals and organizations to Girl Scouts troops/groups or service units.

Donations

  • Girls may not directly solicit funds from individuals or organizations.
  • Girl Scouts are not allowed to solicit money on behalf of another organization.
  • 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).
  • If a donor is requesting a letter of acknowledgement for any amount, the funds must be turned into the council and used to serve all girls.
  • 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/group’s financial records, and report.
  • Any donation amount over $250 must be turned into Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland and will be directed to the general fund to support program delivery for all Girl Scouts. All donations kept at a troop level must be reported on the troop/group/service unit annual financial report.

Grants

  • Girls may not directly solicit funds from individual or organizations.
  • Individual troops and service units may not solicit grants or financial donations from foundations or corporations.

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 ourselves as Girl Scouts (such as 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: “Commercial products” 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.

Volunteer Rewards Troop Donation Programs

Many corporate partners donate monetarily on behalf of their employee’s volunteer time. Each corporation has a different name of their program. Troops and service units may receive volunteer matching grants from companies that offer these. These funds are to be used for special service projects conducted by the service unit, day camp, or troop. Volunteers who wish to receive these donations fill out the Volunteer Rewards Application found here. Funds will be sent to troop leaders pending approval by your volunteer services manager and payment by your corporate partner.

Directions:

  1. Complete the GSOH Volunteer Rewards application form found here.
  2. Attach the corporate partner’s volunteer application. (If this application is online, indicate that when mailing.)
  3. Email the form(s) to give@gsoh.org or mail to:
    Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland
    Attn: Volunteer Rewards
    1700 Watermark Drive, Columbus, OH 43215

Please note:

  • Corporate names not listed may be added.
  • It may take five to six months from application submission to check receipt.
  • Applications are processed in the order they are received. You will receive a confirmation email when we receive your completed form.
  • If you have questions on the status of your Volunteer Reward Troop Donation, please contact the Philanthropy Department at 614-487-8101 or give@gsoh.org.

If you have questions on the status of your Volunteer Reward Troop Donation, please contact the Philanthrophy Department at 614-487-8101 or give@gsoh.org.

Online Fundraising

Online fundraising in any form is not allowed for girl and troop money earning except for as approved by GSUSA within the fall product program and Digital Online Cookie Program. 

Girls may not set up fundraising sites for the purpose of soliciting money as the policy states that girls may not engage in direct solicitations for cash donations at any time. Girls are encouraged to earn money through the annual cookie program and fall product program.

Adult members in their Girl Scout capacities may not solicit financial contributions in the Girl Scout name, brand, or image without prior written approval from the GSOH council office. Adults may engage in combined fundraising efforts authorized by their Girl Scout council and in which the local council is a beneficiary. The National CEO in consultation with the National Board Chair may give permission to raise money in times of a major national or international emergency, with prior written notice to the National Board. Councils will be notified of this action in writing.

If you have further questions, please contact the Philanthropy Department at 614-487-8101 or give@gsoh.org.

Service Unit Funds

As with troops, a service unit with a cash balance of $50 or more must open a bank account and use the same procedures as troops. It is possible to have a small amount of leftover money from a service unit event, but keep in mind that service units are not permitted to conduct money-earning activities, nor are they permitted to solicit cash donations.

Service Unit Finance Reports should be submitted to your membership manager May 10 and November 10 of each year. Follow the same directions as for the Troop Finance Report. Service units may use their funds to benefit all girls in the service unit, as determined by the service unit members.

Examples are as follows:

  • Subsidizing programs or program fees.
  • Funding annual membership dues for girls or volunteers who require financial assistance.
  • Providing handbooks and resources for new volunteers.
  • Funding service unit programs and ceremonies.
  • Reimbursing volunteer development costs (first aid, camping) incurred by volunteers.
  • Supporting girls attending a Girl Scout Destination.
  • Funding for service projects.
  • Funding for Girl Scout Gold or Silver Award projects.
  • Funding volunteer recognitions.
  • Providing startup funds for a new troop.

 

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