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Financial Policies

Every troop is required to open a bank account to participate in the Magazine & Snack or Cookie Program, but what does this mean? Learn the ins and outs of troop/service unit banking, and how your girls can earn money to support their activities in accordance with IRS regulations.

Bank Accounts

All troops, groups, day camps, and service units must open a separate business checking account into and out of which all funds flow. All Girl Scout accounts must have two signers who are responsible for funds. Bank account signers cannot be related (i.e. not a sibling, spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, or anyone who would be considered a family member) or live in the same residence. Bank account signers must be authorized by GSNEO to handle finances and be active in one of the following roles: Troop Leader, Troop Admin, Troop Program Guide, Treasurer, Product Sales Manager, or Service Unit Team position. These accounts, the signers, and the use of GSNEO's EIN must be authorized in writing by GSNEO. One additional savings account per troop is permitted, which must be authorized in writing by GSNEO. Each troop, group, day camp, and service unit may only have one checking and one savings account at any given time.

These accounts must only be used to support the Girl Scout program; money earned by girls can only be used to fund their Girl Scout experience. Examples of appropriate uses for troop funds include community service and Take Action projects, Girl Scout troop meeting supplies and trips, and other girl-led Girl Scout troop activities.

Funds of more than one troop/group may not be co-mingled in one bank account; each troop must have its own bank account. Co-mingling of funds will be regarded as misappropriation.

Subordinate units must follow GSNEO procedures when opening accounts, closing accounts, or changing bank account signers at a financial institution. The council has the authority to change bank account signers, request bank statements, or close unit accounts whenever it deems necessary.

GSNEO has established relationships with preferred banks with numerous benefits including improved customer service. Additionally, certain banks do not comply with GSNEO policies and volunteers are not permitted to open Girl Scout accounts. Existing bank accounts at prohibited banks are not required to close, however, changes are not permitted (i.e. new signers) and accounts must be closed and transferred to a permitted bank if changes are needed.

The unit may obtain no more than 2 debit/check cards. The debit/check card must not be used for personal purchases. The cardholder(s) are responsible for obtaining purchase receipts, securing the card(s), and are legally responsible for the transactions posted to the card. Online banking is permitted.

Both appointed bank account signers are responsible for good stewardship of funds including up-to-date recordkeeping, monthly review of bank statements, responsible management of funds, and submission of timely reports to affected girls, their parents/caregivers, and GSNEO.

All Girl Scout funds must be deposited into the unit account within 72 hours ($100 or less may be kept on hand as petty cash) and all itemized receipts of purchases, bank receipts/deposits and monthly bank statements must be kept on file in accordance with GSNEO’s records retention policy. Funds collected via Cheddar Up must be transferred to the FDIC insured GSNEO bank account within 7 days of collection.

If troops, groups, day camps, or service units need to change bank account signers on existing troop bank accounts, they must complete the "Request to Change Bank Account Signers" form. Bank accounts are subject to being closed by GSNEO if the account is not in compliance with policies (e.g. signer no longer on troop roster; signer's membership is not renewed; signer is no longer in approved role).

Signers on service unit bank accounts must be active in a service unit team role , and one must be in the role of Service Unit Treasurer. Service unit team members must be active in a troop to cosign on their account. Volunteers may request to serve as a bank account signer on up to three bank accounts (e.g. three troops; two troops and one service unit) in which they actively participate in the approved roles (see above); to sign on additional accounts requires approval from the Volunteer Support and Services Director or designee.

Fund Ownership

By law, all troop, group, day camp, and service unit funds are the property of the GSNEO. Leaders of these units are appointed stewards of these funds until they are no longer in that role.

Equipment purchased with Girl Scout funds is the property of GSNEO and not the personal property of any individual.

In accordance with IRS regulations, Girl Scout funds do not belong to individual girls or adults. Funds never become the property of any individual girl or adult member, and no separate accounting of funds earned should be kept for any reason at any time.

Merging, reorganizing, or splitting troops should consult with their Community Membership Executive regarding a decision about any transfer of funds.

The best way for members to make electronic payments to a troop/group or service unit is with a consumer bank-to-bank transfer by adding the troop/group or service unit as a vendor. To collect funds at an event, GSNEO allows sites that transfer funds directly to the bank account authorized by GSNEO. Troops/groups and service units are prohibited from opening PayPal and similar accounts that do not send collected funds directly to the troop bank account.

Financial Accountability

Volunteers who oversee Girl Scout funds whether for troops, groups, service units, day camps or any other reason, are accountable to GSNEO and to the membership of the group in all financial matters.

The appointed leaders are responsible for good stewardship of funds including up-to-date recordkeeping, monthly review of bank statements, responsible management of funds, and submission of timely reports to affected girls, their parents/caregivers, and GSNEO. Receipts showing how the money was spent must document all cash withdrawals. If cash is collected, receipts must be provided that document the reason for the payment. Leaders are encouraged to recruit a volunteer with administrative skills to handle bank account record keeping. Failure to exercise proper stewardship over finances will result in a funds restriction or release from volunteer appointment.

When making purchases, the best practice is for volunteers to use the troop or service unit debit card and/or checkbook. If purchases are made by individuals without access to the debit card and/or checkbook with the intention of reimbursement from the troop or service unit, the troop/service unit leadership should give pre-authorization. Receipts must be provided and reimbursements made within 30 days of purchase. For the purpose of checks and balances, volunteers are not permitted to issue reimbursements to themselves (e.g. writing a check to themselves, the other bank account signer should sign the check).

Annual Finance Report

All troops, groups, day camps, and service units are required to submit an annual finance report to GSNEO. This is required for all bank accounts open prior to the annual due date of the second Wednesday in June. Parents/caregivers can view completed troop finance reports on the Volunteer Toolkit, therefore it is important to comply with this policy as financial transparency at all levels of Girl Scouting encourages trust and confidence. Additionally, any registered Girl Scout and their parents/caregivers will be given access to view financial records upon request. GSNEO will communicate with families in troops who miss the finance report deadline in an effort to increase transparency.

Troops, groups, day camps, and service units that fail to submit their annual finance report may be denied approval for money-earning and/or trip applications. If troops, groups, day camps, or service units remain non-compliant with submitting annual finance reports, additional consequences could be applied at GSNEO discretion, up to and including: revocation of volunteer roles, transfer of account to GSNEO preferred bank, and/or closing of bank accounts. Bank account signers who violate GSNEO finance related policies may be restricted or removed from their volunteer roles and/or the bank account after reasonable notice is given.

Note that only Primary Troop Volunteers (Troop Leaders, Troop Admins, and Troop Program Guides) and Troop Treasurers have access to the Finance tab on the Volunteer Toolkit to submit the finance report.

Financial Review

GSNEO reserves the right to review subordinate unit accounts.

If a troop/group or service unit fails to submit its annual finance report, it is subject to financial review by GSNEO. Other situations that may result in a financial review include but are not limited to: complaints from parents/caregivers, suspected misuse, mismanagement, or theft of funds, or other policies broken. Financial reviews may be initiated at the full discretion of GSNEO.

Financial Misconduct

Adults with funds or outstanding property due to GSNEO more than 30 days past due are not permitted to handle money, product or merchandise for GSNEO, and any of their current volunteer roles may be suspended. When the amount is paid in full and/or property is returned, the volunteer may request to be reinstated which is done at the discretion of the council. GSNEO reserves the right to restrict or terminate volunteer participation of any person with a history of financial misconduct. Adults with an outstanding balance due to GSNEO are ineligible to volunteer, and girls in their household are restricted to online sales and cookie booth sales during product programs.

Restriction, redirection, or dismissal may occur as a result of delinquent and/or mismanagement of funds. Reappointment to a volunteer position is at the discretion of GSNEO.

GSNEO will make a good faith attempt to collect any monies owed and reserves the right to use outside collection agencies. If restitution is not paid within 30 days, GSNEO retains the right to file criminal and/or civil charges.

GSNEO reserves the right to take legal action if the funds owed are not remitted. Legal action includes, but is not limited to, taking out a warrant to appear in small claims court, report to law enforcement, and submission to legal and or collection agency.

GSNEO volunteers who are check signers are personally responsible for all financial consequences of overdrafts that they initiate.

Money-Earning

Please review the money earning policies.

Non-Council-Sponsored Group Money Earning

Troops/groups and service units may participate in approved non-council sponsored money-earning activities in which they are the sole beneficiary of the profit after they have supported GSNEO through participation in both Girl Scout-sponsored product programs. The definition of participation is determined before the start of each sale and communicated in the product program manuals.

See Money Earning Modules under Money Matters training in gsLearn.

  • All non-council sponsored money-earning activities (troop and service unit) must be approved by GSNEO prior to planning and/or implementation of the activity.
  • Parent/caregiver permission is required prior to girls participating in any money-earning activities.
  • Money-earning projects must be purposeful and occur only when there is a need for such funds to support Girl Scout program.
  • In accordance with IRS regulations, Girl Scout funds raised by a troop, group or unit belong to the troop, group, or unit treasury to be used by the members of the troop, group, or unit equally. Funds never become the property of any individual girl or adult member; and no separate accounting of funds earned should be kept for any reason at any time.
  • All money-earning activities must comply with state and local laws regulating sales by minors, food handling, etc.

In order to remain in compliance with National Policies and/or IRS Regulations, the following restrictions are in place. Girl and adult members MAY NOT participate in the following activities when earning money in the name of Girl Scouts (see Volunteer Essentials for an appropriate list of money earning activities):

  • Product demonstration parties (for example, PartyLite, Scentsy, Thirty-One, etc.)
  • Raffles, 50/50 raffles, drawings, games of chance (gambling)
  • The sale or endorsement of commercial products (products sold at retail, for example, candy bar sales, event tickets, wrapping paper, bags of chips, cans of soda, etc.)
  • The re-sale of Girl Scout merchandise for profit
  • “Give-back type” fundraisers (such as in-restaurant fundraisers) as these endorse other establishments/organizations
  • Raising or collecting money for other organizations (see below)
  • Merchandise sales transacted on the internet in the name of Girl Scouts (for example, Etsy, Craigslist, Facebook, etc.)
  • Online campaigns that directly solicit cash (e.g. GoFundMe, CheddarUp)

Girl members may not directly solicit cash (including a donation jar). See “Gift Acceptance/Fundraising” policy for adult member guidelines.

Additionally, to prevent unfair competition among troops and the risk of overwhelming the community, Girl Scouts may not conduct non-council-sponsored money-earning activities during the weeks of cookie booth sales.

Raising Money for Other Organizations

No Girl Scout member, in their Girl Scout capacity or in Girl Scout uniform, may raise or solicit money for any other organization or participate in walkathons, telethons, bell-ringing, or similar activities that raise money for other organizations. Girl members may support other 501(C)(3) organizations through contributing a portion of their treasury or through volunteer service projects. Violation of this policy could risk the tax-exempt status of GSNEO and the tax-deductibility of donations.

Troops/Groups Financing

Council-sponsored product programs, additional money-earning projects (which must be preapproved by the council), and if necessary, through dues. Funding for girl activities is primarily the responsibility of the troop/group, the girls and their families.

The money-earning project must be appropriate for the age-level.

According to GSUSA Guidelines:

  • Daisies may only participate in GSUSA Sponsored Product Programs
  • Brownies may participate in up to one non-Girl Scout sponsored money-earning activity
  • Juniors may participate in up to two non-Girl Scout sponsored money-earning activities
  • Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors may participate in an appropriate number of money-earning activities to support the budget of their planned activities

See Money-Earning Application

Money-Earning for Service Units

Service units may be approved to conduct up to two money-earning activities per membership year. Funds raised must be used to support a project or event that benefits all of the girls in the service unit. For example, proceeds from a service unit dance may be used as a money-earning activity to pay for a camping trip for the entire unit. At least 75% of the Service unit must participate in both council-sponsored sales before participating in non-council-sponsored money-earning.

Service units may charge a reasonable fee for volunteer training events or girl programs (e.g. campout). It is expected that service units will charge fees for these training events and programs sufficient to avoid the risk of incurring a loss on the event; covering the cost of the event would not be considered a money-earning activity.

If service units are interested in using funds for graduating senior scholarships or to support highest awards (Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award), they must obtain approval from the Director of Girl Experience or designee. Service units must develop a transparent and equitable process for awarding scholarships (clear and accessible application, defined qualifications, committee review process, etc.), be in good financial standing with the council with a current bank account, and have a current finance report on file. Scholarships should be awarded on behalf of girls to the institution they are attending.

Money-Earning for Individually Registered Girls (Juliettes)

Individually registered girls (Juliettes) may not participate in additional money-earning activities, unless they are working on their Gold Award and have permission from the Director of Girl Experience or designee. In accordance with IRS regulations, all monies earned by individually registered girls belong to the council, not to any individual girl.

Money-Earning for Gold Award

Girls planning Girl Scout Gold Award projects or special service projects that require funds need to develop proposals that must be approved by the Gold Award Committee and Director of Girl Experience or designee before money-earning activities are implemented.

Girl Scout Senior and Ambassadors seeking their Gold Award are permitted to solicit cash donations, with prior approval from the Gold Award Committee and Director of Girl Experience or designee. GSNEO does not permit direct asks for money or donations on social media (e.g. GoFundMe, CheddarUp) to fund Gold Award projects or special service projects. Money-earning activities can be promoted (e.g. advertising an upcoming approved bake sale) and information about the Gold Award projects or special service projects can be shared on social media.

See Money-Earning Application

GSUSA Sponsored Product Programs

The selling of Girl Scout Cookies or other Girl Scout-sponsored products is an integral program of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience focusing on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Girls learn to set goals, budget, plan, market to others, work as a team, and many other skills necessary to a successful sale activity. Adults serve in a supporting role but should never assume sole responsibility for sales. Troop/group leaders are required to present the opportunity to participate in Girl Scout-sponsored product programs to the girls they lead, and make the information available to the parents/caregivers of the girls.

GSUSA Sponsored Product Programs are fully supported by the GSNEO Council and have quality control, promotion and public acceptance at the national level. Additionally, these programs help support services to girls and volunteers.

Girl participation in any Girl Scout sponsored product programs are based upon the following:

  • Voluntary participation
  • Written permission of a parent/caregiver
  • Council guidelines
  • Girls should not be penalized for non-participation.
  • Other policies regarding product programs will be distributed via the appropriate product program handbook before the appropriate product program.
  • An understanding of, and ability to interpret to others, the troop/group goals
  • Correct business procedures
  • Observance of local ordinances related to involvement of children in money-earning activities, as well as meeting health and safety laws
  • Adherence to guidelines for personal protection
  • Planned arrangements for safeguarding the money
  • Adherence to guidelines for internet sales

Money-earning applications are not required for participation in Girl Scout sponsored product programs.

Troops must have at least 5 girls and an active bank account with 2 unrelated signers (i.e. not a sibling, spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, or anyone who would be considered a family member, and who do not live in the same residence) in order to sell Girl Scout Cookies. Special permission may be granted to established troops at GSNEO discretion.

Product Programs for Juliettes

Individually registered girls (Juliettes) may participate in GSNEO product programs. All money received from their participation in these product programs will be held in a fund by GSNEO. Parents/caregivers may request funding from this account to apply to any GSNEO programming, for membership registration (girls and parent/caregiver), and/or for use in the council shop (in-store only). See “Juliette Funds” policy for additional guidelines.

Gift Acceptance/Fundraising

Fundraising, or direct solicitation of cash or cash equivalent (i.e. gift card), is an adult-only activity that should only be done when purposeful and for a specific goal. Adult members of GSNEO are permitted to fundraise for the purpose of Girl Scouting by soliciting cash donations, gift cards, or gifts in-kind (e.g. supplies).

Amounts under $250

Notification and approval by GSNEO is not required when seeking monetary or in-kind donations. Adult members may submit a request to GSNEO if a Donation Request Letter is required by the company for an amount under $250. A monetary gift of less than $250 specifically earmarked for a troop/group or service unit may be sent directly to that troop/group or service unit. The funds must benefit the entire troop/group or service unit, not a specific individual. No notification to the council is required unless donor requests documentation for tax purposes, in which case GSNEO will issue an acknowledgement.

  • The troop/group or service unit is responsible for thanking the donor.
  • Documentation of tax deductibility of the donation cannot be provided by the troop/group or service unit.
  • Documentation for a gift of any size can only be provided if the gift is processed through the council.
  • All monetary gifts must be reported on the annual finance report to the council.

Amounts between $250 and $1000

Notification and approval by GSNEO is required when seeking monetary or in-kind donations. Solicitation must be approved by GSNEO through a Money-Earning/Fundraising Application. A Donation Request Letter will be provided upon approval. GSNEO approval is also required prior to contacting corporate headquarters or grant-making organizations.

A monetary gift of $250 or above specifically earmarked for a troop/group or service unit must be sent and processed through the Council. If the monetary gift is in the form of a gift card, the troop/group or service unit needs to notify GSNEO in writing in order for acknowledgment to be sent to the donor. The funds must benefit the entire troop/group or service unit, not a specific individual. Funds should be mailed to the attention of the GSNEO Fund Development Department, clearly labeled with the donor’s intention and the troop/group or service unit number. The funds will be processed and disbursed from GSNEO to the troop/group or service unit.

Amounts over $1000

Monetary gifts donated directly to troop/groups or service units or given through the Council and restricted for troop/groups or service unit are limited to a combined total of $1000 per membership year (October 1 through September 30). Troops/groups or service units with special circumstances may request pre-approval for donations exceeding $1000 from Chief Executive Officer or designee.

Gifts-in-Kind; Employer Matching Grant Programs

Gifts-in-kind are donations made to a troop/group or service unit of goods or services (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.

Employer matching grant programs are permitted and must be processed through GSNEO.

Dues

Troop dues are an optional way to fund troops and can be used to help offset the cost of site rental fees, badges and patches, activity supplies, and program admission fees throughout the year. Dues must be purposeful, and families should be engaged in a discussion to set the amount. Money should never be a barrier for girls to participate and troop leaders should make accommodations when necessary.

Service units cannot require but may request a reasonable suggested donation from troops annually to offset the cost of Service unit programs and resources made available to troops (e.g. meeting space fee, printing materials, storage unit fee). Service units cannot penalize or exclude in any way troops who choose not to make a donation. Service units may charge a nominal administrative fee for events; see "Money Earning for Service Units" section for additional information.

Scoutship and Financial Aid

The council will designate funds for Scoutship and Financial Aid based on need and without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ability, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Financial Aid is used to pay for girl membership when there is a need as deemed by the parent/caregiver. Financial Aid may be applied to girl membership registration during the registration process only by the parent/caregiver. Adults unable to pay for membership who want to select a Primary Troop Volunteer role (Troop Leader, Troop Admin, or Troop Program Guide) should contact their Community Membership Executive or Service Unit Director for assistance, if needed.

Scoutship awards are based on household income and size, previous product program participation, and may be requested when personal circumstances are an obstacle to fully engaging in Girl Scout events, activities or programs. Scoutship may be used for girls towards uniforms, books, and participation in council-sponsored events. The amount awarded is dependent on whether the girl is in a bridging year (Daisy to Brownie, etc.) to reflect the additional cost of a full new uniform.

>>Scoutship Application

Disbanding Troops

When a troop disbands, troop volunteers are responsible for notifying GSNEO by completing an Intent to Disband Form and Final Disbandment Troop Finance Report (note: disbanding troops are not exempt from completing the annual finance report by the set deadline- the final finance report is in addition to the regular report).

Girls may elect how to spend remaining funds for the purpose of Girl Scouting by the end of the current membership year (September 30). Appropriate examples include:

  • 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

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

Unspent funds should be divided equally to troops receiving girls from the disbanded troop, to the 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.

As stated in Fund Ownership policy, equipment purchased with Girl Scout funds are the property of GSNEO and not the personal property of any individual. Equipment belonging to a disbanding troop may be donated to another troop or the service unit (e.g. tents, gear).

Disbanding troops must still comply with Records Retention policy.

Abandoned Troops

For troops which appear to be abandoned (i.e. girls and adults have not renewed their membership) GSNEO will begin closing troop bank accounts annually starting in mid-December after making reasonable attempts to contact the troop leadership. Funds will be returned to GSNEO if no election has been made by girls as to the disposition of the funds. Once the account is closed and funds are transferred to GSNEO, members of an abandoned troop are not authorized to request or spend these funds.

Juliette Funds

Juliette Girl Scout members may have funds available from their disbanded troop and/or participation in GSNEO product programs. All money received for a Juliette will be held in an account at GSNEO. Parents/caregivers may request funds for their girl's Juliette experience; girls 16 and older may also request funds.

>>Juliette Funds Request Form

Juliette funds can be used for:

  • Membership (girl and caregiver)
  • GSNEO shop purchases (in-store only – all locations)
  • Programs/events that are booked on the GSNEO Event Calendar
  • Girl Scout Destinations
  • Girl Scout Gold Award projects
  • SU (Service Unit) Events

Juliette funds cannot be used for:

  • Travel Troop events: girls should join the travel troop for this purpose
  • Non-GSNEO programming (Program that registration is not completed on GSNEO.org/events)
  • Non-GSNEO shop purchases including GSUSA (online shopping) and other council purchases

Funds never become the property of any individual girl or adult member.

Refunds for cancelled programs, etc. will be reapplied to Juliette Fund.

Reimbursements for qualifying purchases (see above) must be requested by the parent/caregiver of the Juliette with available funds within 30 days of purchase.