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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.

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. 

Each troop is allowed only one troop bank account. Record keeping of funds between different grade levels in multi-level troops it is the responsibility of the troop leadership teams to keep track of the girls' funds and expenses as well as saving for troop travel.  

Here are a few helpful tips: 

  • Submit a bank letter request.
  • 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 accessible a 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.

Follow your council’s financial policies and procedures for setting up an account. Most council-sponsored product program activities have specific banking and tracking procedures. 

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. 

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.

GS-TOP Troop and Service Unit Annual Financials Reports
June 15, 2021, is the deadline for submitting troop and service unit annual financial reports, which are conveniently located in the "Finance" tab of the Volunteer Toolkit.

Please do NOT send your full bank account number or routing number through the VTK, as it's an unsecured line. Before you attach your latest bank statement to the Annual Financial Report, black out the routing number and account number, leaving the last four digits of the account number visible. 

Please complete all additional questions about your troop below the financial information.

If you have any questions or need assistance call Customer Care at 800.582.7272 or email customercare@gs-top.org.

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. 

Make sure to complete the Troop Money Earning Project Application.

Service Units are not allowed to do money earning projects, only troops with girl participation.

  • 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; 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 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.
  • Troop money-earning activities need to be suited to the ages and abilities of the girls and consistent with the principles of the GSLE.
  • Crowd-funding sites such as Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, etc., including those provided by social media platforms such as Facebook, are not allowed.
  • 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. 

Commercial products or businesses

  • Girl Scouts cannot take orders for, sell, or endorse commercial products or businesses of any kind.

Sample Money-Earning Activities
Collections/Drives

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

Service(s)

  • Babysitting for holiday (New Year’s Eve) or council events
  • Raking leaves, weeding, cutting grass, shoveling snow, walking pets
  • Cadette troops and up, who participate in the cookie sale may provide badge-related events for a profit to younger Girl Scouts within  their council area

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. 

Fundraising Definitions and Guidelines

No troop, individual, or service unit may solicit funds without prior approval from the Fund Development Office. All gifts over $100 require processing through the Fund Development Office to ensure donor receives proper receipting and recognition per IRS guidelines.

Sponsorship: A financial donation from a business, corporation, individual or foundation to fund the event or program purpose. Any sponsorship above $100 to a troop or service unit must be receipted by the council.  In exchange, the sponsor receives a benefit such as publicity or recognition tickets or special seating or program responsibilities. Benefits are defined and agreed upon in advance of the contribution. Any financial sponsorship of a troop, service unit, or council activity must be receipted.  IRS substantiation rules apply.

Outright Gifts of Cash: On occasion, outright gifts are given to the council, service unit, or a troop.  Any gift of $100 or more must be received and receipted by the council. The gift may be directed for a special purpose or may be undesignated (e.g., Financial Assistance, Troop Travel, or Awards projects are examples of gifts designated for a special purpose).  Donors are likely to be disappointed if the council does not provide the required acknowledgement. We must fulfill our obligations under law to ensure good stewardship practices. Specific IRS rules apply for receipting such gifts,

Restricted Donations: All restricted donations, regardless of amount, must be directed to the council. This practice will allow the council to maintain records of all restricted gifts and ensure donor intent and to provide the proper acknowledgement for substantiation purposes. By and large, the council does not encourage restricted donations to specific troops but will discuss opportunities that support a specific need that my impact our mission.

Volunteer Matching Grants: Many employers provide matching grants for service or may match an outright donation to the council by an adult volunteer.  The council must follow IRS rules and standards and where such matching funds from corporations are sought (by adult volunteers), we must be able to certify that volunteer hours have been provided and funds used for Girl Scout activities.  If you have access to a program through your place of work, contact the Fund Development Department at council to make sure that we have developed a plan to meet these standards and your desire to give to the council.

Volunteer Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Volunteers who are claiming a charitable deduction for their out-of-pocket- expenses will need to substantiate the amounts to the IRS and obtain from the council a written  acknowledgement describing the items, as well as a statement that no goods or services were provided in return for the costs incurred.  If you decide to claim these expenses as a charitable deduction, forms are provided for you. Please contact the council if you have any questions.

In Kind (or non-cash donations):  There are special requirements for certain gifts, including vehicles, clothing, and other property.  In most cases, friends and family donate items for garage programs, yard programs, or programs just to help the troop and do not intend to obtain a donation form – and that’s perfectly ok. However, a gift from a corporation or business that is not cash, but a service or product may want a receipt.  Work with the council Fund Development Department for these situations should they become part of your plan.

Private Benefit: According to the IRS, generally, where certain individuals benefit from gifts made to Girl Scouting, the determination of whether such gifts are deductible is based on whether the council has full control of the donated funds and discretion as to their use, so as to ensure that they are will be used to carry out the organization’s functions and purposes.  This can be an uncomfortable situation for a donor and the council if not enforced properly. An IRS tax deduction may be disallowed where the gift appears to be primarily for the benefit of a single individual.

The council must ensure compliance with IRS regulations and thereby will not accept donations where a gift appears to be primarily for the befit of a single individual. Please contact the council Fund Development Department to be sure that every measure is taken to uphold the law an the intent of the donor.

Please check council policies to be sure that you know and understand your responsibilities to uphold the council’s legal obligations for donations. GS_TOP upholds the ethical practices of fundraising and adheres to a strict code of conduct and the Donor Bill of Rights.

As you can see, accepting charitable contributions is complicated.  Council staff is here to assist you in whatever way possible so be sure to check with the Fund Development Staff before accepting any contributions.

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!

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.

Contact GS-TOP Customer Care at 800.582.7272 or customercare@gs-top.org for more information.

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.

Activity Accident Insurance and Reports

Activity Accident Insurance for Troop Activities: All girls and adults who are registered members of Girl Scouts of the USA are covered by the Basic Girl Scout Activity Plan for all approved Girl Scout activates except for over nights of more than two nights.

This insurance is designed to help meet the cost of medical care for accidents occurring during the normal supervised activities of the girl Scouts program.  It should not diminish the need for family health insurance or replace the benefits available under a family medical plan.  Girl Scouts insurance pay for the first $130 of covered expenses. Any subsequently bills for the same accident will be payable by this coverage only for an expense which is not compensable under another insurance policy or service contract or not covered under a contract with a health maintenance organization, preferred provider organization or prepaid health care program.

Optional Plans are available for purchase through the Council. Council policy requires the purchase of this additional coverage for a troop trip of more than two nights.

The coverage includes:

  • Accident insurance for non-member participants (except tagalongs) in any approved Girl Scout activity OR for accident only coverage of member participants for a troop trip of more than two nights – Plan 2: $0.11/day/person. This plan is recommended to cover non-members attending troop activities or Service Unit, regional or Council events.
  • Accident and illness coverage for members/non-members (except tagalongs) – Plan 3E: $0.29/per day/person. This plan is recommended for a trip of more than two nights OR if your troop will be far enough away from home that a parent cannot be called to meet you at the doctor’s office or hospital in an emergency.

See the Activity Accident Insurance brochure in the Troop Registration packet, or request one from your local council office, for additional details on coverage.

If you have questions about coverage, or if you need to purchase Optional Plan insurance, call any council office.

Troop Insurance Packet

Each troop is provided with current information on the insurance coverage and forms for filing insurance claims. A new leader receives the insurance packet in the New Member Orientation Packet. In the packet are follow-up information pieces to give to the parent of the injured girl or to the injured adult, in case an insurance claim is filed. This will help them to work with the council office to expedite the claim.

Additional insurance forms are available at any council office.

Accident/Incident Report

The Accident Incident Report form is a Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains, Inc. risk management tool used to report any accident/incident, whether it is physical, mental or emotional in nature. The intent of this form is to document circumstances, witnesses and any actions in situations that result in or nearly result in injury or danger to individuals or are potentially harmful to girl and adult members. This form is not intended to establish blame; it is for reporting facts. This form may be submitted by any adult associated with GS-TOP. All Accident/ Incident Reports should be submitted to the designated staff person responsible for the activity where the accident or incident occurred. Staff members will take appropriate action. Accident/ Incident Report forms are available at any council office.

Events/Meeting Potential Liability Insurance Needs

Some sites or vendors may require your troop to provide a Certificate of Insurance as evidence that the council has liability insurance coverage. If required, call Tim Zimmerer, Controller, at 817-735-5309.

Emergency Plan for Girl Scout Troops

“BE PREPARED,” the Girl Scout motto, is the key to handling emergencies if they arise. Whenever an outing with your troop is planned, be sure to take with you:

  • Signed parent permission forms which include where parents can be reached in case of emergency
  • Phone number for troop’s emergency contact back home
  • Telephone numbers for local police, fire department, and ambulance service. Where available, call 911.
  • Directions to the nearest hospital or medical facility
  • Girl Scout insurance forms and Accident/Incident Report forms
  • The wallet-size “Emergency Plan for Girl Scout Troops”. Check in the VTK or website forms. Remember to check Safety Activity Checkpoints for suggestions concerning the specific activity planned. This document is in the Volunteer Tool Kit under Resources.

Serious Accident, Emergency, or Fatality Procedures

In the event of a serious accident, emergency, or fatality, the person in charge at the scene needs to:

  • Give priority attention to providing all possible care for the injured. Do not move victim unless it is necessary for safety reasons.
  • Secure ambulance, doctor, police and others as appropriate.
  • While help is being summoned, take care of injuries requiring immediate first aid.
  •  Notify the troop’s emergency contact who will notify all parents.
  • In the event of a fatality, always notify police. Retain a responsible adult at the scene of the accident or emergency. See that no disturbance of victim or surroundings is permitted until police have assumed authority.
  • Call the local Service Unit Manager to report a minor emergency or occurrence and to secure additional assistance.
  • In the case of an automobile accident of any kind, be sure to notify police to obtain a police report even if there are no injuries. This is also important for any rental vehicles.
  • Call the council’s emergency phone number to secure assistance from the council only if reporting a very serious accident or fatality.

Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains Emergency Cell Phone: 682-551-0281

DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENTS to media representatives. Assure them that they will get current information by calling the council.

Do not sign any statements or accident reports except by request from:

  • A Police Officer
  • Personal insurance company or attorney
  • Girl Scout insurance company or attorney

Frequently Asked Questions about Insurance

Q: What is the purpose of the plan?

A: To assure that every registered Girl Scout is automatically covered by accident insurance during normal supervised program activities (except those events lasting more than two nights). Coverage is automatic for all girls and adults upon registration in the Girl Scout Movement.

Q: If a member is injured while individually practicing skills for a badge or learning a sport, such as individual roller skating or horseback riding, is she covered?

A: No. These are individual activities conducted outside of the troop and not under the direct supervision of troop leadership.

Q: Are fund-raising drives and money-earning events covered?

A: Yes, if the activities are Council approved and properly supervised.

Q: Is traveling to and from a troop meeting covered?

A: Yes. The insurance includes travel directly to and from troop meetings.

Q: Are program events (including camping) of two consecutive nights or less covered by the Basic   Plan?

A: Yes. All registered members participating in approved, supervised program/camping events lasting two nights or less are covered.

Q: Is it possible to insure an event that lasts four or five nights?

A: Yes, an Optional Plan of activity insurance would need to be arranged through GS-TOP to cover the entire event. Contact your area office, describe the event, indicate inclusive dates, and the number of girls and adults participating.

Q: Would coverage be provided for a member who became ill during an approved activity?

A: No. Sickness is not covered. Only medical expense arising out of an accident during an approved, supervised activity is covered. However, sickness caused by an accident such as a poisonous snake or insect bite, would be covered.

Q: Are non-registered parents, troop consultants or other persons assisting the leader  covered?

A: No. Only registered girl and adult members are covered.

Q: Are “tagalongs” (brothers, sisters, friends) covered?

A: No. For example, a registered Girl Scout Daisy tagging along with the parent who is leading a Cadette troop activity has no coverage for the Cadette activity. Conversely, if the “tagalong” is a registered Girl Scout member of a different troop and is participating in the event, there is coverage. Additionally, a registered Girl Scout Cadette assisting (i.e. participating) at a Daisy meeting (activity) also has coverage.

 

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