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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. 

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 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.

Many troops ask a parent to act as the volunteer “troop treasurer”. This can be a great way to involve a parent who wants to be active with the troop but whose schedule is restricted because of work or other obligations. After selecting a bank, the troop leader should request a Troop Bank Authorization letter to take to the bank to open the account. These links will help you get information about opening a new account.

This usually happens when there is money to deposit, such as group dues or money from product program or group money-earning activities.

Parents may be asked to contribute to a troop or group treasury in the following ways:

  • New troops or groups may ask parents to donate a one-time startup fee when the troop begins meeting (up to a maximum of $25). Membership MAY NOT BE DENIED based on the inability to pay the start-up fee.
  • Group dues are the monies girls contribute to help fund their group’s activities or meeting needs. Dues are typically $5 per meeting. Girls and parents together decide upon the amount and frequency of dues. No girl is denied membership based on an inability to pay group dues.
  • Families should know girls are expected to participate in troop money-earning activities to help fund troop activities.
  • Parents may be asked (but not required) to contribute a maximum of $5 per girl per year in local service unit dues to provide for copying charges, mailing and other costs associated with providing local service to troop leaders.
  • Each family is asked to donate $25 per girl toward the GSGATL Annual Fund. Troop leaders should collect donations for the Annual Fund, deposit them in the troop bank account, and either mail a check to Council, make a donation online via our Website, or via MyGS. Troop leaders should indicate which families have contributed so that an acknowledgement letter can be issued to the parent, and the troop and service unit receive credit toward their Annual Fund goal. Contact to provide instructions on allocation of donations. Membership will not be denied based on an inability to contribute to the Annual Fund.

Troop/group and personal funds must not be comingled. Troop/group funds cannot be borrowed for personal use, even if repaid. Troops that do not meet during the summer are allowed to keep (carryover) $100 per girl in their checking account without submitting a detailed program plan to GSGATL. Troop leaders are required to submit a Troop Finance Report Form to the girls’ parents or guardians two times a year. Troop leaders are required to submit the following to their Service Unit Director by June 15 annually:

  • A Troop Finance Report Form
  • A copy of the troop’s most recent bank statement
  • A detailed plan of how existing funds will be used

Consider these tips when working with a group account:

  • 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 a debit card accessible 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 GSGATL’s financial policies and procedures for managing troop accounts:

  1. Identify two or more volunteers who will be responsible for the funds.
    1. At least two signers must be unrelated adults not living in the same household.
    2. All signers must be at least 18 years old, must be registered members of the Girl Scout Movement, and must be approved volunteers with a criminal background check on record that dates back no further than three years.
  2. Request the Troop Bank Authorization Form.
  3. Open the account under the name of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Troop #__________
    1. All bank account statements must be mailed to the Treasurer or other designated volunteer at the volunteer’s home address.
    2. Troops may secure a debit card to use for troop purposes.
    3. GSGATL is not responsible or liable for troop accounts.
    4. GSGATL does not issue Articles of Incorporation or corporate resolutions.
    5. Presently, the only documents GSGATL can provide to the bank are the authorization form and a copy of our 501(c)(3) status as a not-for- profit organization. This form is provided for the specific use of opening the bank account. All other requests or use of the form to solicit donations and in-kind gifts must be pre- approved by Council.
    6. Bank accounts should not be set up under the social security number of a parent or other volunteer since that action could create tax liabilities for the volunteer.

Online Group Payment System:
GSGATL has created a partnership with Cheddar UP to support troops and service units to collect group payments. Details on how to set up your account can be found here: Online Payments.

Use of a PayPal, Venmo, or CASH App account:
Troops should be aware that these online systems are not banks and are not controlled by any banking laws. GSGATL recommends that troop funds be held in a bank which is insured by the FDIC.

Annual Troop/Group Finance Report
The volunteer troop/group treasurer, in partnership with the girls in the group (Juniors and older), must prepare a Finance Report and distribute it to each family in the troop a minimum of two (2) times a year. Full disclosure of the troop finances two times per year insures transparency and that all family members of the troop are informed of the troop’s income and expenses; this should alleviate any concerns about troop finances from the parents. A copy should be given to the Service Unit Director. The final year- end financial report should include the most recent bank statement by June 15.

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

  • The troop leader, assistant leader and volunteer treasurer will meet to determine the problem and resolve it.
  • If the problem is not resolved, a Service Unit Director will be contacted. A GSGATL staff person will meet with the troop volunteers and determine accountability.
  • Girls, parents and troop volunteers must make the decision as to what action, if any, will be taken should there be mismanagement of funds.
  • The troop volunteers will be responsible for pursuing any legal action if that is the decision of the troop.

Addition of a Troop Member
Since funds belong to the troop or group as a whole, and never to individual members, when a new member joins, she benefits from those funds equally with the other members. If this is a recently organized troop, where other families have been asked to contribute a start-up fee, the new member’s family should be asked as well. (Remember: membership cannot be denied a girl whose family cannot pay.) What if a group has been working for several years to earn money for an extended trip and a new member joins close to departure time? In this case, if it’s possible to accommodate another traveler (tickets, hotel rooms, etc. must be considered) it’s acceptable to invite the new girl to join the trip by paying her own way. If travel arrangements can’t be changed to include her, the girl could be given the option to join the troop after the trip or join another troop if one exists.

Troop Member Transfers
When a girl leaves a troop, for whatever reason, she relinquishes any claim on money she helped earn for the troop. However, when a girl is bridging or transferring to another troop, the original troop may, as a gesture of good will and sisterhood, divide a pro rata share per girl and make a donation to the receiving troop on the transferring member’s behalf. This is solely at the troop’s discretion. In all cases, if a donation is made, a check should be written directly to the receiving troop. At no time are funds to be paid to an individual girl or volunteer.

Troop Disbanding and Unused Troop Funds

When a troop disbands, any unused Girl Scout money left in the account becomes the property of the GSGATL. Troop funds are not the property of any individual girl. It is our practice, however, to allow girls to vote on what to do with troop funds. Before disbanding, ask your girls how they want to pay it forward: they may decide to:

  • Donated to the troop’s service unit to benefit its program activities or projects.
  • Donated to GSGATL to support troops/members with financial hardships.
  • Donated to GSGATL’s Annual Fund to fund our general operations. (GSGATL underwrites an average of $325 per member per year.)
  • Donated to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund.
  • Donated to a local charity whose mission is in keeping with Girl Scout principles.

The final Troop Finance Report must indicate how the funds were distributed. The group leader signs the final report and submits it to the Service Unit Director with a copy of the most recent bank statement.

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.
  • Girl Scout Daisies do participate in Council-sponsored product program activities!
  • Troop funds do not belong to individual girls, only to the troop as a whole.
  • Girls earn money only for the troop, never for themselves.

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 non-exempt activity and those organizations may be required to pay unrelated business income tax or lose their tax-exempt status. If you have any question on private benefit or troop account activities, please reach out to your Area Executive.

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.

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

GSGATL Procedures for Additional Troop Money-Earning If a troop requires money-earning activities beyond GSGATL product programs for a specific purpose, then the following guidelines must be met.

Troops must:

  • Participate in both product programs. New troops that form after one or both product programs may conduct limited money-earning activities if needed to fund planned troop activities.
  • Support GSGATL’s Annual Fund campaign by asking each family to participate.
  • Have a current troop finance report on file with GSGATL.
  • Obtain permission from each participating girl’s parent or guardian before any money-earning activity occurs.

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; 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.
  • 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

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

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.) 


  • 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 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!

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

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’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
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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