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.
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.
Use of Cash, Reimbursements, Troop Account and Debit Card Tips
Cash withdrawals are not to be used unless necessary and must be completed at a bank teller to allow an audit trail. A detailed accounting of how cash was used must be reported with the troop financial records. Do not reimburse for expenses using cash; reimburse someone who used their own funds to purchase troop items using a check. If a troop leader is being reimbursed, they cannot be one of the signers on the check. Relatives, spouses, minors, and members of the same household as the primary signer may not be the secondary signer on troop checks.
Do not store debit card information on-line for any website in order to protect the Girl Scout funds.
All adults who handle Girl Scout money must be registered members of Girl Scouts and successfully complete a background screening.
Troop Budget and Finance Reports
Troops are encouraged to submit a budget report at the beginning of the year to aid in the planning of the troop experience and management of troop funds and are required to submit a finance report at the end of the year. The budget report should be a realistic plan for how the troop intends to spend their money throughout the year. The finance report should account for all troop income and expenses throughout the year. Amounts in the troop account of $300 or less at the end of the program year may be carried over to the next program year. If the troop has more than $300, the girls should plan and carry out activities, so they benefit from the money they have earned. Troops of Girl Scout Junior grade level or above planning an extended trip in the near future may retain amounts greater than $300 for that trip. Failure to turn in the finance report by the deadline will prevent the troop from participating in fall product sales in the next membership year and may lead to troop funds being transferred into the Service Unit Account until the finance report is received.
Account Management and Support
Contact your Service Unit Accounting Coordinator and 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.
Individuals listed on an account are responsible for all account
activity. Responsibilities include but are not limited to account
maintenance, keeping accurate records, retaining receipts, and any
overdraft fees. The troop adult leadership team should:
- Adhere to all local, state and federal laws and
- Help girls prepare a group budget.
- Ensure funds are being used in support of the Girl Scout experience and that the troop benefits from the money that is earned. No troop funds are to be used for personal benefit. For example: A troop may pay for girls to attend an event, but not for adults not needed for safety ratios, siblings not in the troop, or a girl attending without the troop. A troop may pay for a leader to attend a training to be certified for an upcoming troop activity, but not for a training unrelated to the troop activities.
- Keep group money secure at all times by establishing a group bank account.
- Maintain financial records, keep receipts and make them open and available to parents.
- Help girls establish the amount of weekly or monthly dues to be collected.
- Using the girl and adult partnership, set goals for income from council-sponsored product programs and other money-earning activities.
- Inform girls and parents of the benefits of being philanthropic and inform them of the benefits of supporting the Family Partnership Campaign.
- Recruit and supervise a group product program coordinator.
- Prepare and submit to the Service Unit accounting coordinator an annual Budget/Finance Report.
Your Service Unit Accounting Coordinator is your primary contact and
support in regard to managing your troop banking account. They will
provide training when opening the account and/or as part of onboarding
new leader(s). They are the primary recipient of the troop bank
account statement to allow for monitoring of activity.
Troop finances/bank statements should be reviewed by girls regularly
and parents should receive periodic updates. All financial documents
must be available for review upon request. Actions related to Girl
Scout banking and money management that are not in line with council
policies, result in loss of funds, or could be considered negligent
will result in consequences up to and including removal from all West
Central Florida roles and possible legal action.
Council reserves the right to audit troop and service unit accounts
and financial information without consent of the account signers at
Council reserves the right to process ACH (Automated Clearing House)
direct electronic debits and credits to or from troop or service unit
accounts at any time.
- Troops and service units are responsible for ensuring they
have sufficient funds in their account on the dates of scheduled ACH
debits related to council’s Cookie and Sweets and Treats programs.
These dates and requirements are published annually by
Bad Debt / Mismanagement of Funds
Although it should rarely occur, troops/groups and service unit teams can be the recipient of bad debts, such as a parent/volunteer bouncing a check or not paying for cookies. Troops/Service Units are discouraged from taking checks from parents and other members of the community. Troops that receive NSF checks or any other type of bad debt should attempt to resolve the situation first, themselves. For instance, a parent may pay for dues with a check that subsequently bounces. Leaders should inform their service unit team accounting coordinator about the situation (as a fee will be incurred on the bank statement) and then work with the parent to recover the value of the check plus the fee charged by the bank. In the event the leader cannot resolve an issue with a bad check, the fee is a liability of the person who accepted the payment.
All communications and information regarding a case of suspected
misappropriation of funds is to remain in strict confidence with ONLY
those parties involved. Suspected misappropriation should be reported
immediately to the Community Membership Manager by the concerned
party. The CMM will review and investigate the situation. A final
determination will be made and notification of such findings to the
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer for final action.
A determination of misappropriation of funds is cause for immediate
release of a volunteer from all appointed positions.
Helping and coaching girls to earn and manage money to pursue their
goals, is an integral part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience
(GSLE). Volunteers/adults that owe money to the council, service unit,
or the troop for product sales, bad checks, non-payment of summer camp
fees, or misappropriation of troop funds, cannot serve as role models
to volunteer at the troop, service unit or council levels, or earn
Volunteering includes, but is not limited to:
- Troop level - Troop leader (DP), fall or cookie program chair, troop treasurer, troop helper, transportation coordinator, record keeper, adult/girl ratio on trips, camping or activities, designated trained adult for Girl Scout trips, camping or activities.
- Service Unit level- Any position GSWCF considers administrative including delegates, volunteers needed for adult/girl ratios for SU events, programs, encampments
- Council level- Any position GSWCF posts as a volunteer opportunity or participation in special committees and/or advisory groups at any level.
How these adults' guardians can participate if they owe money to the
council or troop:
Provide permission for the girl to participate in Girl Scout activities, provide additional consent for activities that take place outside the scheduled meeting place. Drive the girl to and from meeting place or to locations outside the scheduled meeting place to attend events and activities. As a helper if the girl has special needs or abilities.
How their Girl Scout can participate if her adult guardian owes
money to the council or troop:
Girls can attend all meetings and activities of the troop including product sales but are limited to selling in the online programs and at cookie booths only. The adult guardian should be the person to explain to the girl how she can participate in the product sales. This should not be up to the troop leader or the troop fall/cookie chair.
Girl Scout troops and service units may open a PayPal account if it is helpful for collecting dues and activity payments. All fees charged by PayPal are the troop/service unit’s responsibility. Guidelines for using PayPal:
- Set up an independent PayPal account, not an organizational or non-profit account. Troop funds are not to be intermingled with other organization / personal funds. The PayPal account set up must be for Girl Scout use only.
- Link the PayPal account to your troop / service unit checking account.
- Transfer funds to your checking account monthly or when balance is greater than $100, whichever occurs first.
- The account may not be used to collect payment for Cookie or Sweets and Treats program products. (See Product Program specific guidelines for credit card processing options)
- PayPal statement(s) are to be submitted with annual troop finance report.
- If a troop disbands, the funds must be transferred to the troop account prior to closing the account. The PayPal account is also to be closed once the funds have been transferred.
Service Unit Accounts
Girl Scout service unit teams must maintain checking accounts to meet the expenses of supporting Girl Scouting in their area. A CMM and Service Unit Manager will jointly appoint accounting coordinators to handle the bank account. All guidelines that apply to troop checking accounts apply to service unit team checking accounts as well. Individuals listed on an account are responsible for all account activity. Responsibilities include but are not limited to account maintenance, keeping accurate records, retaining receipts, and any overdraft fees. The service unit adult leadership team should:
- Adhere to all local, state and federal laws and ordinances.
- Provide budgeting guidance as needed.
- Help troop leaders/advisors establish a troop bank account.
- Ensure safe money practices by monitoring the troops’ monthly statements.
- Establish a service unit team bank account.
- Provide regular service unit team treasury reports to the accounting coordinator for your service unit.
- Ensure funds are being used in support of the Girl Scout experience and that the service unit benefits from the money that is earned. No service unit funds are to be used for personal benefit. Review and approve Supplemental Money-Earning Permission Requests from troops.
- Assist troop leaders/advisors with preparation of Budget/Finance Reports as needed. Collect and review service unit team and troop finance reports; submit finance reports to your Accounting Coordinator, and/or review and approve the Troop Finance Reports.
- Submit service unit finance report to community membership manager at program year end.
Amounts of $1,000 or less may be carried over at the end of the program. If the service unit team has plans that will benefit girls and will make use of the money in the near future, an amount greater than $1,000 may be retained for that purpose, but it must be clearly outlined in the annual finance report.
Steps for Money-Earning Activities
1. Girls set a goal to achieve with the money that will be earned. All activities should be consistent with Safety Activity Checkpoints.
2. Complete Supplemental Money-Earning Permission Request Form (available at http://www.gswcf.org/content/dam/wcf-images/pdf-forms/Supplemental-Money-EarningPermission-Request.pdf) four weeks prior to the money earning event. Information required includes:
- Troop and leader/adviser contact
- Date of proposed activity.
- Detailed description of the activity.
- Projected troop income.
- Projected troop expenses.
3. The Girl Scout Cookie Program and Fall Product Program are the primary money-earning activities in which girls can participate. Troops or groups requesting a supplemental money earning project should participate in both council sponsored product programs. The troop or group may plan or hold money-earning events at any time of the year; however it may not compete with the Girl Scout Cookie Program or other council product programs.
4. Send a completed Supplemental Money-Earning Permission Request Form and the budget work sheet the girls created to the Troop Consultant at least four weeks before the project. The Troop Consultant will verify participation in product sales and ensure there are not conflicts with service unit or council events. Once the request has been reviewed, you will be notified of the approval decision by the Troop Consultant/service unit team. If any part of the project does not meet guidelines, you will be notified by the Troop Consultant/service unit. All money earned from supplemental money-earning projects must be recorded on the troop finance report.
5. It is recommended that a troop/group has no more than one money-earning project a year (in addition to the council-sponsored product programs) unless it is raising money for a Take Action project or to go to Juliette Low’s Birthplace in Savannah, a World Center, or another major trip with a defined purpose and budget.
6. Troops and Groups are encouraged to participate in council product sales as their primary money-earning activity. Group money-earning shouldn’t occur during GSWCF Fall product delivery time or during cookie booth sale period. Exceptions include troops or groups facilitating service unit events or badge/Journey earning workshops.
Some frequently asked questions regarding finances:
Q. Are troops tax exempt?
A. No. Although Girl Scouts of West Central Florida is a tax exempt 501(c) (3) corporation, Florida law prohibits Girl Scout troops to use the council’s tax exempt number to avoid paying sales tax.
Q. What do we do if we don’t have enough money to carry out our
A. Girls should be informed when money is deposited to and withdrawn from their account. Periodically, girls may need to review their plans and set more realistic goals.
Q. How are dues handled?
A. Girls can set dues to help meet their budget. These typically range from $1 to $5 per meeting.
Q. How do we finance uniforms, badges and patches, and/or
A. Girls should decide if they wish to finance these items from the troop treasury. If not, parents have the choice of purchasing them.
Q. What are some examples of an appropriate troop/group
A. Some things that a group might choose to spend money on include annual membership registration fees, program and activity fees, camping and trip expenses, creative hands-on project supplies, service and take-action projects, awards and ceremonies, trip expenses for adults needed to satisfy the girl-adult supervision ratio or specialty consultants, donations to sponsor a Gold Award project, charitable organization, or donations to the Juliette Gordon Low World Friendship Fund. GSWCF strongly encourages troops to use troop funds to renew girls’ memberships for the following year.
Q. What are some examples of an inappropriate troop/group
A. Inappropriate expenses might include personal expenses during troop/group activities, trip expenses for adults not required to meet the girl-adult supervision ratio, annual passes to theme parks, or donations to individuals for personal use.