Troop activities are powered by proceeds earned through council-sponsored product program activities—like 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.
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 GSSEM troop must open its own independent troop bank account in accordance with the steps outlined in the Troop Banking Package. Troop bank accounts may not be combined with other organization or booster club accounts.
GSSEM strongly encourages all troops bank at one of GSSEM's recommended banks. Recommended banks have partnered with GSSEM to support our programs. GSSEM has obtained special pricing and services for our troop leaders at these banks. A current list of these banks may be found in the Troop Banking Package.
Here are a few helpful tips:
Most council-sponsored product program activities have specific banking and tracking procedures, which you can learn more about during Fall Product Program and Girl Scout Cookie Program training sessions.
Families are welcome to apply for financial aid for girls to support their experience by completing a Financial Aid Application form.
Managing troop funds is one of the most important troop management tasks. Keep these helpful tips in mind when working with troop finances:
For more information on opening a troop bank account, please refer to the Managing Troop Finances Short & Snappy in gsLearn's Content Library.
Keeping accurate records is necessary when managing a troop bank account; it makes annual reporting simple. All troops are required to submit the Annual Troop Finance Report by June 21 every year. The finance report may be submitted via the Volunteer Toolkit or by using the document at www.gssem.org/financereport.
Please refer to the Volunteer Toolkit Finance Tab Short & Snappy on gsLearn for more information.
So long as a troop has an open bank account, troops must report annually to Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan on the funds included within. If a troop is inactive for a year and no deposits or withdrawals occur, troop leadership is still responsible for demonstrating that the funds within the bank account were unused.
Here are some tips for troop bank account record-keeping:
Individual girl and adult member transfers between troops are permitted at any time of the Girl Scout year.
Girl members transferring between December 1 and May 1 of each year should be advised that any cookie sales and proceeds stay with the troop that sold the cookies. GSSEM will make every effort to ensure girls receive all Cookie Program rewards from total sales.
Money does not belong to any individual girl members. Thus, if one girl transfers to another troop, money doesn't transfer with her. If a troop divides into two troops, the money and materials of the original troop should be divided between the two troops in proportion to the number of girls moving into each new troop. The troop leader should contact their member support specialist to inform them of the split and obtain new troop number(s), if necessary.
If one or more troops merge, the money and materials of each troop involved should be combined. Troop leader(s) should contact their member support specialist regarding the merger and which troop is disbanding.
Due to the complex nature of the Girl Scout cookie program related to troop financials, troop splits are not permitted between December 1 and May 1 of any Girl Scout year. If it's no longer an option to continue meeting together, groups may choose to meet separately, but a final troop spilt cannot be completed until after May 1.
Once the troop has decided to separate, no significant purchases should be made from the troop bank account. Nominal purchases of less than $50 for troop meeting supplies are permitted. While the troop is waiting to complete the split, documentation, including receipts and purchase descriptions, for any nominal purchases must be retained until after the troop split is complete. For additional guidance regarding troop splits, please contact the director of Member Support.
When a troop disbands, any unused Girl Scout money left in the account becomes the property of the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. 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 for the remainder of the time the troop remains active. Activities can also include purchasing materials to support another organization through Take Action projects.
If troop leaders haven't been able to identify new troop leadership prior to disbanding, troop leaders should contact all troop caregivers to inform them of their decision to no longer lead the troop and make one last attempt to recruit caregivers to serve as troop leaders. If a final attempt to identify new leadership is unsuccessful, troop leader should contact their member support specialist for support with additional alternatives to keep the troop from disbanding. If girls are interested in troop participation, the Member Support team will then communicate with caregivers and work to place the girls in a new troop.
Prior to officially disbanding, troop leaders should fill out the Disbanding Troop Checklist at www.gssem.org/disbandingtroop to ensure they've completed all the necessary steps for disbanding a Girl Scout troop, including attempting to identify new troop leadership at a caregiver meeting, indicating what will be done with troop funds, and what will be done with troop supplies.
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 the remaining funds over to a council staff member.
Before a troop disbands, the currently registered girls in the troop should decide what to do with the troop's funds.
GSSEM encourages all disbanding troops to consider using troop funds to spread the spirit of Girl Scouting to others by donating all funds or a portion of remaining funds back to their Girl Scout Community bank account to support local recruitment and recognition efforts for girls and adult volunteers.
Troops may also elect to use the remaining funds on Girl Scout activities, such as a community service/Take Action project or to the troop's favorite cause.
Please note that the use of the remaining troop funds must be a girl-led decision by current girl members. Funds may not be spent on girls who are not registered in the current membership year. According to Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan and GSUSA policy (and to avoid having to pay taxes to the IRS), troop funds may not be refunded or paid out directly to girls or adults.
Closing the Troop/Group Account
Prior to closing the troop/group bank account, be sure all checks and other debits have cleared the account before you close it. Remember, you may need to close the bank account in person, so work with the troop/group's authorized signers to find time to get together to close the account.
Once all monies have been paid for any outstanding bills/invoices/receipts, etc. then the disbanding troop's bank account must be closed and a check sent to Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. with the balance made out to "Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan." The check should be mailed to the Detroit Service Center, attention Finance Dept. Please contact GSSEM's Finance Department to obtain a letter that gives permission to close the troop bank account.
For troops that disband due to lack of adult leadership, the remaining troop funds must be submitted to GSSEM's Finance Department at email@example.com. GSSEM will hold the remaining troop funds for up to twelve months pending reorganization. If new leadership is recruited for that particular troop, the council will provide the new troop leadership with the funds that remained in that particular troop's bank account. If any of the girls move to a different troop, then the balance that was received will be divided by the number of registered girls at the time of disbanding. That amount will be ACH deposited to the girl's new troop bank account.
Please note that if troops elect to send any funds to the community bank account, GSSEM will not send disbanding troop funds to any troops in which the girls continuing on with Girl Scouts will participate.
Even if there are no funds remaining, you must still submit the following to GSSEM's Finance Department:
Send this information along with any remaining troop funds to:
Chief Financial Officer
Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan
1333 Brewery Park Blvd., Suite 500
Detroit, MI 48207
If the troop disbands, the troop number becomes available for use anywhere else in the council.
Troops flex their financial muscles in two distinct ways:
Girls’ participation in both council-sponsored product sale activities and group money-earning projects is based on the following:
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.
Sample Money-Earning Activities
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.
We get it—there's something exciting about opening that first case of Girl Scout Cookies. However, before your girls take part in the Cookie Program, 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:
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.
As with other Girl Scout activities, girls build their financial and sales savvy as they get older. Every girl is different, but review these examples of the abilities and opportunities for the 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.|
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 GSSEM's Fund Development team, which can give you guidance on the availability of sponsors, recruiting guidelines, and any council policies or practices that must be followed. GSSEM may already have relationships with certain organizations or may know of some reasons not to collaborate with certain organizations.
Troops/groups must seek approval from the GSSEM Fund Development team when seeking sponsorship. Please fill out the Solicitation & Sponsorship Approval form at www.gssem.org/solicitation.
When collaborating with any other organization, keep these additional guidelines in mind:
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