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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 to save or spend, you’ll need a safe place to deposit your troop dues, product program 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 you can take to the bank:

  • Be sure to find a bank that has free checking and no 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 and make sure another troop volunteer has 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 and then complete a GSNEO Incident Report.

  • 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. GSNEO has a training called "Money Matters" available on gsLearn regarding setting up your troop bank account, and when you're ready you can start the process here.

Disbanding Troops 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 spend the remaining funds for the purpose of Girl Scouting by the end of the current membership year (September 30). A few ideas to consider:

  • Final celebration event or trip;
  • Membership renewal or Lifetime Membership purchase if graduating senior troop;
  • Donating funds to another troop or the service unit;
  • Donating funds or purchasing items for a 501(c)(3) organization/cause of the girls' choice.

Troop volunteers are responsible for notifying GSNEO by completing the Troop Disbandment Form and following the disband process (note: disbanding troops are not exempt from completing the annual finance report by the second Wednesday in June).

Funds cannot be dispersed to individual girls or adults as cash or gift cards.

Please refer to Volunteer Policies when splitting, disbanding, or merging troop funds.

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.

Unspent funds should be divided equally to troops receiving girls from the disbanded troop, to Juliette account for girls continuing as Juliettes, and/or to GSNEO for girls not continuing. Leaders should transfer funds (check or cashier's check recommended) to troops receiving girls before closing bank account. Funds for girls continuing as Juliettes or not continuing in Girl Scouts should be disclosed on the disband form, and then a cashier's check including troop number should be sent to:

Girl Scouts of North East Ohio
Attn: Audit & Accounting Specialist
1 Girl Scout Way
Macedonia, OH 44056

Funds from a disbanding troop will be held by GSNEO for a period of one year after date of the disbandment notification for the purpose of girls returning to Girl Scouting. After one year, funds are used to support GSNEO Girl Scouts through financial aid, Scoutship, etc.

Money-Earning Basics for Troops

Troops flex their financial muscles in two distinct ways:

The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other product sales of Girl Scouts (authorized product sales such as calendars, magazines, or nuts and candy) organized by your council. All girl members are eligible to participate in two council-sponsored product program activities each year with volunteer supervision—the Girl Scout Cookie Program and one other council-authorized product program. 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 program activities and group money-earning projects is based on 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. 

  • All rewards earned by girls through the product program 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 programs as their primary money-earning activity; any group money earning shouldn’t compete with the Girl Scout Cookie Program or other council product programs. 

  • Obtain written approval from your council before a group money-earning event; GSNEO requires a money earning project application be submitted for approval.

  • GSNEO does not approve requests for games of chance (e.g. raffles, contests, bingo).

  • 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 program 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 Girl Scout Leadership Experience. 

  • 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 programs. Funds acquired through group money-earning projects must be reported and accounted for by the group according to council procedures.

  • See full guidelines for Money-Earning in GSNEO Volunteer Policies.

Sample Money-Earning Activities


  • Cell phones for refurbishment
  • Used ink cartridges turned in for money
  • Christmas tree recycling
  • Garage/Yard Sales

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
  • Pancake Breakfast
  • Spaghetti Dinner


  • 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
  • Gift wrapping

The Girl Scout Cookie Program and other council-sponsored product programs 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 program 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 programs—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 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.

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. Gifts-in-kind are donations made to a troop/group or service unit of goods or service (i.e. food for event, supplies for project, etc.) and do not need to be reported on the annual finance report. Notify the Fund Development Department if an acknowledgement is desired; gift-in-kind donors are recognized in the Annual Report.

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 are 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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