Your Girl Scout troop will plan and finance its own activities, and you’ll coach your girls as they earn and manage troop funds. Troop activities are powered by proceeds earned through council-sponsored product program activities (such as the Girl Scout Cookie Program), group money-earning activities (council approved, of course), and any dues your troop may charge.
Remember that all funds collected, raised, earned, or otherwise received in the name of and for the benefit of Girl Scouting belong to the troop and must be used for the purposes of Girl Scouting. Funds are administered through the troop and do not belong to individuals. The word group(s) is used in this section to refer to troops and designated volunteer communities.
Handling money, especially when it belongs to other people, is a serious responsibility. Troop/group leaders need to share the responsibility with the girls in ways appropriate to their ages and experiences. In troops/groups with teen girls, girls should be encouraged to partner with the money manager in this process, but the records must be reviewed and managed by the adult troop/group money manager.
Each grade level has its own unique needs and abilities regarding budgeting and money management. Following are a few guidelines applicable to all grade levels that can help with the troop/group budget:
Bank Account Basics
Each troop/group must have at least two approved registered members to sign on the account. The signers cannot be related by blood or marriage and cannot reside in the same household. The signers must be affiliated with the group. If two signers cannot be found within the same troop/group, a co-signer may be brought in from within the same GSSWT Community. GSSWT staff will not be signers on troop/group accounts. Only one authorized signature is required on troop/group checks, but more than one is encouraged, especially if reimbursing a person for troop/group expenses that exceed $200.
To open your account:
1. All bank accounts must be opened, closed, and changed through the Finance Department.
2. Download the Money Manager Position Agreement/Bank Request form (pdf).
3. Complete Page 5, Bank Request Form only, with the account number, bank name, and troop number.
4. Signature is not required to close the account.
5. Submit this page to our Customer Care Department at email@example.com.
6. After the account is closed, the primary signer will receive a final bank statement showing the closing transaction. Within 30 days of receiving the final bank statement, the account signers must submit a final finance report, to be released from liability on the account. The final finance report should include all bank statements and receipts acquired since the previous finance report.
For details on filing the finance report, access the Finance Report Guide (pdf).
The ACH (Automated Clearing House) Authorization form (pdf) allows GSSWT to deposit and withdraw funds to and from the troop/group account as needed. GSSWT will not withdraw any funds from a troop/group account without giving prior notice to the troop/group.
Activity accident insurance is supplemental health insurance that protects registered Girl Scout members. Registered members are automatically covered under activity accident insurance when participating in all Girl Scout events and activities including trips that involve two (or fewer) overnight stays.
Important: The Basic Plan does not cover trips of more than two overnight stays. Trips that are three overnights or more are not covered under automatic activity accident insurance. Also, nonmembers are not automatically covered persons and international trips are not automatically covered trips. Additional activity accident insurance must be individually purchased for coverage under these scenarios. In simple terms, you will need to purchase extra activity accident insurance for outings and events that:
When planning activities and trips, always consult with your Girl Scout council to see if extra activity accident insurance is needed.
For additional information, review the following:
Twice a year, on or before December 15 and June 15, troop and Community money managers are required to complete and submit a finance report with copies of receipts and bank statements. If the 15th does not fall on a non-holiday workday, the report is due the next business day.
The reports provide documentation for troop/group leaders, for girls’ caregivers and council files. Because the troop/group accounts are opened under the GSSWT tax ID number, GSSWT is responsible for providing troop/group account information from these reports to the IRS.
The troop/group must have the most recent finance report on file to participate in GSSWT’s cookie and fall product programs or to receive funds due from the council. If the troop/group has a bank account during any part of the reporting period, the money managers must file a finance report, even if there was no activity on the account.
The report must be completed using the most recent version of the Finance Report Spreadsheet (Excel document).
Access the Finance Report Guide (pdf) for detailed instructions on completing the report.
Throughout the reporting period, be sure to save the following for use with your report:
Finance reports should be made regularly available to girls’ caregivers for review, and MUST be made available upon request by caregivers, the designated volunteer community team or by GSSWT. Any questions that may arise concerning financial matters should be addressed to the money managers preparing the finance report.
GSSWT may periodically request specific information or documentation from troop/group bank account signers regarding troop/group finance activities. If response to such a request is not received within a reasonable amount of time (10 business days at the most), the troop/group bank account is subject to being closed by GSSWT without notice.
Saving Troop Funds
Girl Scout Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors may save troop/group funds for planned travel, within reason.
If the troop/group is saving funds for a future activity, the troop/group must submit a copy of their completed Activity and Trip Form and approval letter from the council with the June 15 Troop Finance Report.
Girl Scout Daisy and Brownie troops/groups should make every effort to spend troop funds during the year the funds were earned, on the girls who helped earn those funds. It is strongly recommended that troop/group funds be spent within the membership year (October 1-September 30). Your troop/group, however, may have program plans or other needs that require carrying some funds over to the next membership year.
Below are suggested guidelines for funds carried over on the June 15 Troop Financial Report:
If carrying over funds, troops/groups should meet the following guidelines:
IMPORTANT: Yearly membership expires on September 30 of each year. Individuals must be registered for the current Girl Scout year (October 1-September 30) to participate in Girl Scout activities. You must complete all activities and transactions before memberships expire and/or before disbanding. Non-members are not authorized to access troop/group accounts.
Before a troop/group disbands, the girl members should decide upon one of the following to use any remaining funds in the account:
All expenditures must be made before closing the account and documented on the final finance report. After the account has been closed and the remaining funds sent to GSSWT, the group will not be able to determine the use of the money.
Note: IRS guidelines dictate that troop/group funds do not belong to individual girls, and in no case will troop/group funds be distributed to individual girls or their parents/guardians. The distribution of gift cards, retail merchandise, passes/admission to movies, events, theme parks, etc. to each girl or adult is not permitted. This includes the granting of scholarships by the troop/group to graduating seniors or other individuals.
If the troop is disbanding because its girl members are graduating seniors, the troop may purchase a Lifetime Girl Scout Membership for each graduating senior.
After the last bank transaction has cleared, the money manager should notify the Finance department to request closure on the account. Signers must not close the bank account themselves.
If funds still remain in the account, they become the property of GSSWT. The bank will forward the balance of the troop/group account to the GSSWT troop treasuries account, a non-interest-bearing account that is used only for girl programming, at the council’s discretion.
After the account is closed, the primary signer will receive a final bank statement showing the closing transaction. Within 30 days of receiving the final bank statement, the account signers must submit a final finance report, to be released from liability on the account. The final finance report should include all bank statements and receipts acquired since the previous finance report.
If some of the girls from the disbanded troop/group are joining another GSSWT troop/group: The new troop/group leader should notify GSSWT of the transfer. The disbanded troop’s/group’s remaining funds will be divided equally by the number of registered girls in the disbanded troop/group, and GSSWT will allocate an equal share of the remaining funds to the transferring girls’ new troop/group.
When a girl changes or leaves a troop/group that is not disbanding, she forfeits her right to any of the original troop’s/group’s funds. Money earned through council-sponsored product programs (such as the Girl Scout Cookie Program), troop/group money-earning activities, and troop/group dues belongs to the troop/group, is for the benefit of the troop/group, and does not belong to individual girls or adults. Any exceptions will be reviewed and determined by Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas.
If a troop plans to split and some of its members form a new troop, all co-leaders and money managers should immediately notify Member Experience through the Customer Care Department at firstname.lastname@example.org to facilitate the process. Member Experience staff will work with both troops to ensure the current troop funds are distributed appropriately.
The troops should notify their Member Experience Specialist to facilitate the process by emailing the Customer Care Department at email@example.com. The Money Manager from the dissolving troop should write a check for the account balance, made out to the new troop. After the check clears, the money manager from the dissolving troop should notify the Finance Department to close the account. Signers should not close the account themselves.
If a troop/group does not re-register by October 1 (the beginning of a new membership year), the troop’s/group’s bank account will be subject to closure without notice. Funds will be deposited into the council’s non-interest-bearing troop treasuries custodial account. The money will NOT be used to fund the council’s operating budget.
If a troop/group has had its bank account closed because of non-registration, and the troop/group re-registers before the end of the current membership year (September 30), the troop/group may request to have the funds from the closed account deposited into the new troop/group account.
Beginning October 1 of the following membership year, troops/groups and the members will no longer have access to those original funds. Any money remaining in the troop treasuries account will be used for girl programming at the discretion of GSSWT.
Troops flex their financial muscles in two distinct ways:
The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other product sales of Girl Scouts (authorized product sales such as calendars, magazines, or nuts and candy) organized by your council. All girl members are eligible to participate in two council-sponsored product program activities each year with volunteer supervision—the Girl Scout Cookie Program and one other council-authorized product program. Please remember, volunteers and Girl Scout council staff don’t sell cookies and other products—girls do.
Group money-earning activities organized by the troop (not by the council) that are planned and carried out by girls (in partnership with volunteers) and that earn money for the group.
To conduct any other money-earning/solicitation projects during the year, troops/groups/individual girls must participate in both council-sponsored product programs.
Any other money-earning project requires prior approval by the council by submitting a Money-earning/Solicitation form (pdf).
Girls’ participation in both council-sponsored product program activities and group money-earning projects is based on the following:
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.
Keep these specific guidelines—some of which are required by the Internal Revenue Service—in mind to ensure that sales are conducted with legal and financial integrity.
All rewards earned by girls through the product program activities must support Girl Scout program experiences (such as camp, travel, and program events, but not scholarships or financial credits toward outside organizations).
Rewards are based on sales ranges set by councils and may not be based on a dollar-per-dollar calculation.
Troops are encouraged to participate in council product programs as their primary money-earning activity; any group money earning shouldn’t compete with the Girl Scout Cookie Program or other council product programs.
Obtain written approval from your council before a group money-earning event; most councils ask that you submit a request for approval.
Girl Scouts discourages the use of games of chance. Any activity which could be considered a game of chance (raffles, contests, bingo) must be approved 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 program donation programs.
Girl Scouts forbids product demonstration parties where the use of the Girl Scout trademark increases revenue for another business, such as in-home product parties. Any business using the Girl Scout trademark or other Girl Scout intellectual property must seek authorization from GSUSA.
Group money-earning activities need to be suited to the ages and abilities of the girls and consistent with the principles of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
Money earned is for Girl Scout activities and is not to be retained by individuals. Girls can, however, be awarded incentives and/or may earn credits from their Girl Scout product programs. Funds acquired through group money-earning projects must be reported and accounted for by the group according to council procedures.
Sample Money-Earning Activities
Cell phones for refurbishment
Used ink cartridges turned in for money
Christmas tree recycling
Lunch box auction (prepared lunch or meal auctioned off)
Themed meals, like a high tea or a build-your-own-taco bar, related to activities girls are planning; for instance, if girls are earning money for travel, they could tie the meal to their destination
Service-a-thon (people sponsor a girl doing service and funds go to support a trip or other activity)
Babysitting for holiday (New Year’s Eve) or council events
Raking leaves, weeding, cutting grass, shoveling snow, walking pets
Cooking class or other specialty class
The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other council-sponsored product programs are designed to unleash the entrepreneurial potential in your girls. From there, your troop may decide to earn additional funds on its own.
Before embarking upon any money-earning or solicitation activities, troops/communities must identify and justify the need for supplemental funds. These activities should be consistent with the goals and principles of the Girl Scout program and give girls an opportunity to use skills learned in their group. Adults are not permitted to raise money in the name of a Girl Scout troop/community without girl participation or without a Girl Scout present.
A Money Earning/Solicitation form (pdf) must be submitted to GSSWT for approval six weeks prior to the activity date. Send all forms to our Customer Care Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Forms not submitted six weeks prior to the activity date will be rejected. No form submitted at all may result in the troop/community forfeiting funds earned to council.
Each girl’s participation is voluntary, and permission must be obtained in writing from a parent or guardian. Parents/guardians are responsible for any supplies ordered by a girl who participates in a money-earning/solicitation activity. Troops/groups should be sensitive to an individual girl’s beliefs, responsibilities, and ability to participate in money-earning/solicitation activities. Girl Scouting is an inclusive organization and every opportunity should be extended to allow each girl to support the group to the best of her ability.
GSSWT assesses a 10% administration fee for every donation that is processed by the council office. Once GSSWT has determined that your troop/group is in good standing, your donation will be transferred to your troop/group bank account via ACH deposit (minus the 10% fee).
We get it—there’s something exciting about opening that first case of Girl Scout Cookies. However, before your girls take part in all the cookie program fun, it’s important they have a clear plan and purpose for their product program activities. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to facilitate girl-led financial planning, which may include the following steps for the girls:
Remember: It’s great for girls to have opportunities like the Girl Scout Cookie Program to earn funds that help them fulfill their goals. As a volunteer, try to help girls balance the money earning they do with opportunities to enjoy other activities that have less emphasis on earning and spending money. Take Action projects, for example, may not always require girls to spend a lot of money!
Financial Management and Product Program Abilities by Grade Level
As with other Girl Scout activities, girls build their financial and sales savvy as they get older. Every girl will be different, but here you’ll find some examples of the abilities and opportunities for progression of girls at each grade level.
Local sponsors can help councils power innovative programs for Girl Scouts. Community organizations, businesses, religious organizations, and individuals may be sponsors and may provide group meeting places, volunteer their time, offer in-kind donations, provide activity materials, or loan equipment. Encourage your girls to celebrate a sponsor’s contribution to the troop by sending thank-you cards, inviting the sponsor to a meeting or ceremony, or working together on a Take Action project.
For information on working with a sponsor, consult your council, which can give you guidance on the availability of sponsors, recruiting guidelines, and any council policies or practices that must be followed. Your council may already have relationships with certain organizations or may know of some reasons not to collaborate with certain organizations.
When collaborating with any other organization, keep these additional guidelines in mind:
Avoid fundraising for other organizations. Girl Scouts are not allowed to solicit money on behalf of another organization when identifying themselves as Girl Scouts by wearing a uniform, a sash or vest, official pins, and so on. This includes participating in a walkathon or telethon while in uniform. However, you and your group can support another organization through Take Action projects. Girl Scouts as individuals are able to participate in whatever events they choose as long as they are not wearing anything that officially identifies them as Girl Scouts.
Steer clear of political fundraisers. When in an official Girl Scout capacity or in any way identifying yourselves as Girl Scouts, your group may not participate, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign or work on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office. Letter-writing campaigns are not allowed, nor is participating in a political rally, circulating a petition, or carrying a political banner.
Be respectful when collaborating with religious organizations. Girl Scout groups must respect the opinions and practices of religious partners, but no girl should be required to take part in any religious observance or practice of the sponsoring group.
Avoid selling or endorsing commercial products. A commercial product is any product sold at a retail location. Since 1939, girls and volunteers have not been allowed to endorse, provide a testimonial for, or sell such products.
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