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.
The girl’s family typically pays for annual membership registration dues, troop dues, uniform and insignia, transportation, resident or day camp fees. Each family is encouraged to support Family Partnership, the Cookie and Treats & Reads product programs. These programs help to fund the troop.
The troop treasury may pay for: materials for troop programs, supplies and equipment for basic troop operation, all required trainings for troop adults, pins, patches and recognitions awarded by the troop, expenses related to outings, campouts, and trips. The troop is encouraged to vote to set aside funds to pay for a portion or all of the annual membership registration dues.
Girls must never be excluded from Girl Scouting because they have not paid troop dues. Girls cannot be discriminated against based on their family’s ability to pay or their level of participation in product programs.
The girls, with adult troop leaders’ guidance, decide if the troop will collect troop dues, and if so, how much they will be. Girls bring the troop dues to the meeting. This helps them learn responsibility and helps them to see where the money comes from for their activities. If troop dues do not cover all the costs involved in troop activities, troops may collect program fees from families for girls to participate.
Troop dues should be kept as low as possible so girls are able to pay their share. Dues are determined based on the troop’s estimated annual budget. If the amount turns out to be too high or too low, the girls should be allowed to decide to change the amount of weekly dues.
Girls should receive the best program that the troop can afford each year. Be careful about saving money for activities several years away. In today’s mobile society, troop membership changes continuously. If the current troop program is hindered in order to save money for the future, the girls do not receive the full benefit of Girl Scouting now. It is entirely appropriate to save some money to be used to re-register the troop members for the next year, and to carry the troop through the fall.
Parents/guardians have a right to know what happens to troop money. Troop treasury records should be available to parents at any time. They must be kept up to date and accurate. Parents also need to know that once money is received by the troop treasury, it no longer belongs to individual girls.
All troops are required to have a troop checking account. All monies received in the name of the troop must be deposited in the troop checking account. Troops/Groups and Service Units must use the council Federal Tax ID number for opening all bank accounts.
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:
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.
Opening an Account
Service Unit Managers and/or Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan staff may recommended banks that troops can use. The Service Unit will work with Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan staff to designate banks. Girl Scout troop accounts must be opened under Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan’s name and tax identification number/EIN.
All accounts must be named “GSHOM Troop # ___.”
Accounts remain the property of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan; therefore individual names or addresses cannot be printed on the checks
Troop accounts require the names and signatures of at least two and up to three registered and unrelated adults, one of which may be a member of the Service Unit Team.
Any adult that handles funds for a Girl Scout troop must submit to a background check.
Any adult that handles funds for a Girl Scout troop must register as a member of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan including troop leader, co-leader, treasurer, product program manager and any troop committee member who will handle funds (the registration fee can be paid for with troop funds).
The Authorization to Open and Hold a Troop/Unit Bank Account form is available from the membership specialist for your Girl Scout Area. Once completed, one copy must be sent to the address listed on the bottom of the form.
Troop accounts are not to have credit cards but debit cards are acceptable.
Once you get a troop account ACH forms must be completed—and submitted.
Leader Financial Responsibilities
As a troop leader, you are responsible for all of the financial activities of the troop. You are required to keep accurate records, submit reports on time and maintain the troop checking account. Here are some tips to help you in this important role:
Each troop must turn in an Authorization to Open and Hold a Troop/Unit Bank Account form at the time of opening the account and any time there are changes in the signees.
Save receipts for all purchases. We suggest keeping them in a large manila envelope labeled with the current membership year so they are available when it comes time to submit the Annual Troop Financial Report.
Save all bank statements, deposit slips and cancelled checks or the duplicate copies.
Annual Troop Financial Reports (including annual troop financial report, checkbook register, and latest bank statement) must be submitted by June 1 each year.
Troop financial records are randomly selected by Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan for auditing three times a year. Troop leaders will be notified by mail if their troop records have been selected for audit and are required to submit the requested information within the timeframe specified in the letter.
Do’s and Don’ts for Your Troop Checkbook
DO record every transaction in the checkbook register as soon as it occurs, and calculate the balance so that you always have an accurate record.
DO use the electronic checkbook register form provided with the Annual Troop Finance Report, as it will calculate the register balance and update the Annual Troop Finance Report as entries are made.
DO reconcile the checkbook upon receiving the monthly bank statement. Keep all bank statements for three years.
DO make sure your deposits for the product programs equal the amount of product sold.
DO keep the girls informed of the account balance and the income and expenses. When the girls are mature enough, involve them with balancing the checkbook. This teaches them valuable lessons in money management.
DON’T write checks out for “Cash” or endorse checks to yourself. This is a big “red flag” when the accounts are monitored.
DON’T round-up your check, or write a check for more than the amount of the purchase. This is also a “red flag.”
DON’T allow parents to be late with payments for the product programs.
DON’T pay for parent’s outstanding monies for product program from troop funds.
DO complete and return the Outstanding Money Report along with the signed Permission and Responsibility Forms, as well as, any receipts signed by the parent/guardian who has not fulfilled their agreement for participation in the product program.
DON’T ever use your own personal money to pay for troop activities and NEVER use troop funds for personal expenses. All troop activities must be paid for out of troop funds.
When a troop disbands, a Disbanded Troop Checklist must be completed by the troop leader and turned in to the Service Unit Manager and Membership Specialist.
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Council will pursue collection of all delinquent accounts and non-collectible checks received for goods and services rendered to Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan and/or its sub-units to the fullest extent of the law.
Any Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan operational volunteer who has outstanding debts to Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan and/or its’ sub-units for products or services rendered, non-collectible checks, or has embezzled or misappropriated Girl Scout funds which require external collection procedures will be permanently released of all volunteer responsibilities.
Any Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan operational volunteer who writes a check from their troop/group or Service Unit account that is returned for any reason is personally responsible for all fees and charges associated with that check. This includes debit card transactions. Troop/group or Service Unit funds cannot be used to satisfy the fees or charges. An operational volunteer may be removed from the troop/group or Service Unit account for writing insufficient funds checks. Other action may also be taken in regards to the volunteer’s appointed position.
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 upon the following:
Girl Scout troops/groups may NOT earn money with product demonstration parties, raffles, drawings, games of chance, the direct solicitation of cash, the sale or endorsement of commercial products or participating in the sale of alcohol in any manner.
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.
The income from troop money-earning activities never
becomes the property of individual members—girls or
Troop funds belong to the troop as a whole and not to individual members of the troop and should not be prorated by girl. However, Cadette, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts may designate money earned by individuals for special activities such as a trip or service project. At the end of the program year, or upon completion of the activity, this record-keeping system must be dissolved into the troop treasury from which it was generated.
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.
Girl Scouts (girls or adults) are not allowed, when identifying themselves as Girl Scouts (such as wearing a uniform, a sash or vest, official pins, and so on) or as part of a Girl Scout activity to solicit money on behalf of another organization or individuals.
Avoid fundraising for other organizations. This includes raising funds in events like Relay for Life, Hunger Walks, or bell ringing for Salvation Army. You and your troop/group can, however, support another organization through take-action projects or by making a donation from your troop/group’s account.
Girl Scout troops and areas may not solicit funds from foundations, United Ways, or other entities, including businesses or organizations that require 501(c) (3) documentation.
Girl Scout Service Units may conduct money-earning projects. The same policies and procedures apply for these money-earning projects as for a troop. Money-earning applications must be submitted in advance to your membership specialist, using this same form and instructions.
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:
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!
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.|
Troop sponsorship is a voluntary agreement between a Girl Scout troop and a local entity such as a local business, school, place of worship, community group or person. Sponsorship is open to supporters whose aims and objectives are compatible with the Girl Scout Promise and Law. The primary purpose of securing a sponsor is to gain support for the Girl Scout program within the community.
What a Girl Scout Troop May Do for the Sponsor
What the Sponsor May Do for the Troop
The Troop Sponsorship Agreement
The Troop Sponsorship Agreement form must be completed and signed by both the sponsor and the troop leader (follow the Troop Sponsorship Agreement Instructions). Completed copies of the form must be provided to the troop, the sponsor and to your membership specialist. Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization. Troops, groups or other entities are not included under this nonprofit status and direct donations of any amount directly to troops/groups/areas are not tax-deductible.
A project can be any experience, activity, opportunity, or event that is planned by girls in partnership with adults that furthers the Girl Scout Leadership Experience of the girls involved. The primary purpose of project sponsorship is to secure the commitment and involvement of a community entity in a joint venture that will provide greater opportunities for girls to develop skills in their area of interest. Projects may include: the “take action” segment of an age-level Journey; a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award planned by a troop or individual; high adventure experiences requiring special instruction and equipment; trips; environmental impact projects; etc.
Project sponsorship offers positive visibility and identity in the community. It gives the sponsor the chance to interact with and benefit local youth. Projects are limited only by the energies, enthusiasm and imagination of their initiators.
Every girl deserves an empowering leadership experience like Girl Scouts and local sponsors can help councils make that vision a reality. 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; they 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.
Important guidelines when approaching money earning with other 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 ourselves as Girl Scouts (such as 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.
Girl Scouts may not sell or endorse commercial products: “Commercial products” 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.
Solicitation of Contributions
“Adult members in their Girl Scout capacities may not solicit financial contributions for purposes other than Girl Scouting. Adults may engage in combined fundraising efforts authorized by the Girl Scout council and in which the local council is a beneficiary. Girl members may not engage in any direct solicitation for money except for Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors, who may solicit philanthropic donations to their councils of cash or in- kind goods for Girl Scout Gold Award projects, provided they have secured prior written permission from their council's Chief Executive Officer, Chief Development Officer, or their designee. In addition, girls must abide by their own council's policies and procedures with regard to this matter. The National CEO in consultation with the National Board Chair may give permission to raise money in times of a major national or international emergency, with prior written notice to the National Board. Councils will be notified of this action in writing.
GSUSA Policy from the Blue Book of Basic Documents 2022, Solicitation of Contributions, page 21.
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is the only authorized entity to receive contributions, regardless of value, form or designated use that requires a 501(c) (3) number. Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is a tax-exempt entity, incorporated in the state and designated as a 501(c) (3) organization and operates in compliance with the State of Michigan’s License to Solicit Charitable Contributions. Troops/groups and Areas are sub-units of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan and do not have 501(c) (3) status. Gifts made directly to troops/groups or Areas are not tax deductible.
Donations and Contributions
Funds received may be designated for a specific purpose at the council level or for use by a specific area.
Products, services, or gift items may not be solicited for the purpose of generating income for a troop/group or Area. Donations to support troop or area activities should be requested from small, local and independently owned community businesses. Large, multi-unit companies, groups and organizations or their local branches may not be solicited. Mass solicitation is not allowed. Acceptance of contributions is not allowed where the council tax ID number, IRS determination letter or letterhead request is required. Girls may not engage in the direct solicitation of goods or services. Donations over $200 must be coordinated with the GSHOM Fund Development Department.
Grants and United Way requests for funds are not allowed by troops, groups, Areas, adult volunteers and girls.
Opportunities for grant funding are to be referred to the Fund Development Department.
Many companies provide charitable contributions to non-profit organizations where employees volunteer their time. Guidelines vary by company and most often require that the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan CEO sign all applications for awards of this nature. Corporate volunteer rewards contributions are acknowledged, accepted, and utilized by the incorporated organization.
Retail stores sometimes encourage collecting paid receipts for items purchased at their stores and rebate a portion of the submitted receipts to groups or organizations. Troops are able to participate in this type of program if store rebate program rules do not require 501(c) (3) status for the troop. Troops need to keep a copy of receipts for troop purchases made through the troop account. Troops or girls should not actively promote or advertise shopping at any specific store. Follow the guidelines for Money-Earning Projects.
Council 501(c) (3) Status as related to Tax Exemption for Michigan Sales Tax
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is a corporation that has 501(c) (3) non-profit status as determined by the Internal Revenue Service of the United States Government. This status exempts Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan from federal income taxes. This status also requires Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan to be audited and complete file an IRS form 990 on an annual basis.
Troops/Groups and Areas do not have 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation status
Troops/Groups and Areas are subordinate units of the Girl Scout Council and are the property of the Girl Scout Council. All assets (both cash and physical) held by Girl Scout Troops/Groups and Units are owned by the Girl Scout Council. Troops are subject to sales and use taxes at the state level. Girl Scout Troops/Groups and Areas of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Council will pay sales tax on all purchases including those made in any Council Shop.
There are two distinct taxing authorities in this situation. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the taxing authority of the Federal government, and the Michigan Department of Treasury is the taxing authority of the State government. The IRS allows council and troop level exemption of federal income taxes. As a result, troops are allowed to use Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan’s 501(c) (3) number when opening bank accounts for their troops. The Michigan Department of Treasury allows exemption of income taxes at the council and troop level. Troops are once again in compliance when opening a bank account. The Sales and Use division of the Michigan Department of Treasury does not allow exemption at the troop level. Some cities and counties have taxing authorities, and the council is often subject to those taxes as well.
Troops/Groups and Service Units must use the council Federal Tax ID number for opening all bank accounts. This allows the bank to report interest income earned by Troops/ Groups and Areas to the IRS. Troop/Group and Service Unit Bank accounts are exempt from paying Federal income tax on interest income when they use the council tax ID number to identify the Troop/Group or Area bank account as owned Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan.
Michigan Sales Tax
Girl Scout Troops/Groups or Service Units may not use the Council Federal Tax Identification number to obtain exemption from State of Michigan Sales Tax. State of Michigan Law grants sales tax exemption only to 501(c) (3) organizations. Troops/Groups and Service Units do not have 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation status. Troop leaders and other volunteers must not ask for or use a sales tax exemption for purchases made for the Troop/ Group or Service Unit.
Federal Tax ID or EIN Numbers
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan Council Troop/ Groups and Service Units do not need and should not apply for a tax ID or Employer Identification Number (EIN). Having an EIN or tax ID number does not grant or imply tax exempt status. If you have an EIN send a letter requesting the closing of your account to: Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EO Entity, Mail Stop 6273, Ogden, Utah 84201 or fax it to 801-620-3249. State the reason you wish to close the account. If you have a copy of the EIN assignment notice that was issued include that when you write. Include legal name of entity, the EIN and the mailing address.
* Service Units must adhere to the same guidelines and polices as troops do for their treasury/events/accounts/ money-earning projects.
Fundraising is the responsibility of adults. Fundraising involves appealing to the public to contribute funds to support the overall program and activities of the organization. We look to the community for contributions through individuals, foundations, local businesses, program income through product program, and United Ways. The goal of Fund Development in Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is to diversify and increase income generated with a broad-based adult effort, which will support current and long-term fiscal stability. Methods used for adult-generated fund development include but are not limited to: Annual Giving Campaign, Family Partnership, Financial Assistance/Campership Funding, Foundations and Grants, Honor and Memorial Gifts, Planned Giving, Gifts-In-Kind, United Way, and Special Events.
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