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.
Girl Scout groups are funded by:
- Council-sponsored product sale programs
- Group money-earning activities
- Dues your group may choose to charge
- Troop dues are discouraged in excess of $50.
Note: This should be outlined in the family agreement, set at the first parent meeting
If your group is earning and spending money, the group needs to set up a bank account. Consider designating a troop treasurer who is responsible for managing the group’s finances. Each troop account needs two approved, unrelated volunteers as bank signers.
• Opening a new back account and changing signers on a bank account requires a bank authorization letter. Make your request online, you will find the Bank Authorization Request form in the Forms section of the Girl Scouts of Colorado website at www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/forms.
• Account signers are responsible for closing the account and submitting official notification of disbandment when the group disbands.
• Troop/group funds are to be spent based on the consensus and decision of the group.
• An Annual Troop Report is due each year – watch for reminders over email and access the online form here, www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/forms
• Bank accounts need a minimum of two unrelated volunteers to be bank signers who have completed a background check and have a current membership registration.
Note: “Related” GSCO currently defines as marriage, partnership, family, roommate. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your volunteer support specialist.
• Groups need to maintain their funds at federally insured financial institutions. Look for a bank that is willing to waive any fees if possible!
• Using debit cards is encouraged, but no borrowing is allowed (including overdraft protection).
• Involve the girls in managing group finances! For older girls especially, your role is to oversee as they manage and record their troop’s income and expenses.
• Keep impeccable records of income and expenses, with receipts. Records must be open to girls, parents, the local service unit volunteers, and council staff.
• Always deposit money promptly to avoid loss or theft.
• Never mix personal and group purchases on the same receipt. Do not “borrow” troop/group money for any reason.
Individual girls may not have accounts. If the troop makes the decision to keep individual financial records for special travel or awards projects, all decisions regarding troop funds must be made by the girls and communicated to families. Girls, parents, and volunteers, must understand that if anyone leaves the troop/group or plans change, the funds do not belong to the individual and may not follow her should she transfer troops or choose to participate as an Individual Girl Scout or Juliette.
The girl/adult financial partnership
The girl and her leader, and the girl and her parents or guardian, collaborate to help girls reach their financial goals safely. Remember, adult members do not sell cookies or earn money. They participate only in supporting the direct involvement of girls.
During money earning activities, the girl/adult partnership may look like this:
- An adult and girl working together to make plans and set goals.
- An adult assisting a girl by giving her access to the information and training she needs but letting the girl do the selling and delivering of cookies.
- An adult guiding a girl in understanding the finances and letting her practice the skills.
- An adult advising a girl on how to market her cookies but allowing her to make her make her own decisions.
- An adult helping a girl understand her responsibility to support her local council but ensuring that her participation is voluntary.
As with other activities, girls progress in their financial and sales abilities as they get older. This section gives you some examples of the abilities of girls at each program 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.|
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).|
|Girls set goals for and participate in council-sponsored product sales.|
|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 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.|
Girl Scout troops/groups earn money in two ways:
• Group money earning
Activities organized by the group
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country, with sales of more than $700 million per year for girls and their communities nationwide! Watch the latest “What Can a Cookie Do?” video for some extra inspiration:
[su_youtube url=” www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Wy31SsNPv4″]
In the Cookie Program, girls build a lifetime of skills and confidence. Here are the 5 Skills for Girls:
Cookie training and timeline
All troops that intend to sell cookies must recruit a troop cookie manager. All troop cookie managers must register as a member, complete a background check, and a position agreement. After these steps are complete, troop cookie managers will receive information about training and support including Troop and Family Cookie Guides with all the guidelines and safety information. Check out the website for a timeline, forms, resources and support at http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/cookies.
How the cookie crumbles
Council-sponsored product sales are a primary way in which Girl Scouts of Colorado raises funds to support Girl Scout programming. Share this information with families – revenue raised through product sales makes it possible for Girl Scouts to serve girls!
Note: Troop is defined as a minimum of three unrelated girls, open and displayed in the opportunity catalog for new members to join, and two unrelated adults acting as troop leaders.
The percentage of money to be allocated to participating troops/groups (like yours) is determined by your council and explained to girls and volunteers as part of the product sale activity orientation.
The income from product sales does not become the property of individual girl members. Girls, however, may be eligible for incentives and credits that they put toward council-sponsored camps, programs, and programatic materials.
One critical task for each troop/group is to keep excellent records and establish a clear accounting system for all money earned and spent. As the group’s volunteer, 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 is tracked, too. For older girls, your job is to oversee their work, as they learn to keep impeccable records.
Girls in troops and individually registered girls (Juliettes) may earn official Girl Scout grade-appropriate rewards such as participation patches, rewards and Cookie Credits.
All rewards earned by girls through 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). There are a few specific guidelines—some required by the Internal Revenue Service— that ensure that sales are conducted with legal and financial integrity.
What a Cookie Credit can do!
- Girl Scout Shop purchases: Use them in person at the GSCO Shop, or submit your online receipt using the Cookie Credit Reimbursement form.
- Camp, events and programs with a per girl cost including GSCO events, service unit- or troop-hosted programs, day camp, troop camp and Rendezvous, and programs provided by outside vendors. Use the Cookie Credit Reimbursement form and include receipts.
- Troop travel with a per girl cost including GSCO trips, destinations, and EF Tours, or troop-planned travel. Use the Cookie Credit Reimbursement form.
- Highest Awards-related expenses incurred by the troop: Use the Cookie Credit Reimbursement form, make sure you keep receipts!
For individual girls:
- Shop online or in person: Girls can shop in person or online for the fun Girl Scout merchandise, books and uniform pieces. If shopping online, submit a reimbursement form with receipts.
- GSCO hosted events, camp and programming. Individual girls may request reimbursement for council-, service unit- or troop-hosted programs, day camp, and GSCO resident camp.
- Families of girls in troops may request reimbursement for expenses related to troop activities paid by the family
- GSCO trips, destinations, and EF Tours. Individual girls traveling using these options can apply for reimbursement for expenses related to their trip.
- Highest Awards-related expenses: Use the Cookie Credit Reimbursement form, make sure you keep receipts!
The following items are not reimbursable using Cookie Credits:
- Girl Scout membership registration fees
- Resident camp sponsored by other Girl Scout councils
- Adult travel expenses
- Non-Girl Scout Leadership Experience-related purchases, trips or travel.
All requests for reimbursement will be reviewed by the Girl Scouts of Colorado Finance Department before they are distributed to troops and girls.
The following are examples of appropriate group money-earning activities.
- Cell phones for refurbishment
- Used ink cartridges turned in for money
- Christmas tree recycling
• Themed meals
- Service-a-thon (people sponsor a girl doing service)
- Babysitting for holidays or council events (required adult-to-girl ratios still apply)
- Raking leaves, weeding, cutting grass, shoveling snow, walking pets, or sponsoring an outdoor program such as a badge training, day camp, etc.
- Cooking class or other specialty class
Group money earning checklist
Before you start planning, make sure:
group bank account is established
girls know why they’re earning money
When planning, make sure:
activity is coordinated by the girls
local health/safety laws are observed
you have reviewed Safety Activity Checkpoints
participation is voluntary for each girl
parent permission forms are collected
group money-earning goal is set
During the activity, make sure:
2+ unrelated adults are supervising girls
safety of the girls is kept in mind at all times
money is safeguarded
Afterwards, make sure:
money is promptly deposited into bank, and income is tracked and recorded
thank you notes are sent out (if applicable)
spending decisions are made by the group
share your story with other groups! gscoblog.org/share
Money Earning Don’ts
- Planning a money-earning activity during a council product sale
- Reselling a commercial product or earning money for another organization (But remember, groups may donate a portion of what they earn!)
- Games of chance
- A direct solicitation of cash
- Sales on the internet, with the exception of GSUSA approved product sales online activities through M2Media and/or Digital Cookie
When collaborating with any other organization, keep the following guidelines in mind:
• Avoid fundraising for other organizations: When identifying ourselves as Girl Scouts, we are not allowed to solicit money on behalf of another organization. Instead, support other organizations through Take Action projects or by making a donation from your group’s account.
• Steer clear of political campaigns: When identifying as Girl Scouts, don’t participate in any political campaign or work on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office.
• Avoid selling or endorsing commercial products: A “commercial product” is any product sold at retail. Girls and volunteers may not endorse, provide a testimonial for, or sell such products.
• 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.
Troop funds belong to the troop, and never to an individual girl. Troop funds may never follow an individual girl if her participation changes from her current troop. When groups merge, split, disband, or change in some way, follow these guidelines to manage the remaining funds in the troop bank account:
Girls transferring troops
Group funds belong to the group, not the individual members.
Note: There is no option to transfer troops during the council product sale.
If two groups merge, the funds from both groups are combined into one account.
Groups with bridging girls cannot transfer funds to the new group.
A disbanded group is a group that is no longer meeting or has not re-registered by December 1. If your troop is disbanding, please notify Girl Scouts of Colorado using the Troop Update form and consult the Disbandment Checklist for guidance.
Unused Girl Scout money left in accounts when groups disband becomes the property of Girl Scouts of Colorado. Prior to disbanding, the group may decide to donate any unused funds to a worthwhile organization, the service unit, or Girl Scouts of Colorado to support opportunity grant funding. As when closing a personal account, be sure all checks and other debits have cleared the account. You may have to close the account in person, have the balance issued as a cashier’s check to Girl Scouts of Colorado and give to your volunteer support specialist.
When a troop disbands and girls continue in other groups:
If girls from a disbanding group decide to join another group, the disbanding troop can send all remaining funds to the new troop. The amount is transferred directly from the disbanding group bank account to the account of the group the girls are joining. Remember that troop funds may not follow an individual girl. If an individual girl chooses to continue in Girl Scouting as an individually registered girl or Juliette, troop funds may be donated to Girl Scouts of Colorado. At a later date, should that girl need funding support to reach her programmatic goals, she may seek Girl Scouts of Colorado grant support to reach that goal.
When a troop disbands and no girls continue:
The girls must decide how to use existing group funds. They may do a final group activity or donate a portion to a charity or cause they consider worthwhile, including Girl Scouts of Colorado. If there are still remaining funds after the group has disbanded, close the bank account and have the balance issued as a cashier’s check to Girl Scouts of Colorado and give to your volunteer support specialist.
These funds will be used to support opportunity grants and programs for other Girl Scouts. You may also mail a cashier’s check, with a brief explanation of your disbandment status, to:
Girl Scouts of Colorado
3801 E. Florida Ave, Suite 720
Denver, CO 80210