When you’re getting started as a new troop leader, the financial portion can seem a little intimidating. Especially if you are like me and hate all things numbers.
But I want you to know that the process of setting up and managing a troop bank account has been made really easy for you AND we’re here for you if you have any questions at any point in the process.
First things first, we have some amazing training gurus at Girl Scouts River Valleys who have made short videos which break down the whole process of managing troop money and opening a troop bank account. If you haven’t watched them yet I recommend that’s where you start.
When a troop first forms there are a few items that Girl Scouts usually purchase—a uniform, the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting for their program level, and a Journey book (all available at the Girl Scout Shop); so the next questions you may ask are—how do we pay for these items? Is the troop responsible for paying? Am I? How do we earn money? What are dues? Should I collect dues? How much should I ask from parents? And so on.
Here’s the skinny: As a troop leader, you’ve got a lot of options about how to handle troop expenses.
Some troop leaders ask for dues. This could be a yearly due, a monthly due, a per meeting due, etc. The amount to charge really depends on what purchases the troop will be making and how much money will be coming in from participating in the Fall Product Sale and/or the Cookie Program.
Other troop leaders have a more “pay as needed” policy. If they are planning on attending an event that has a fee associated with it, they’ll let parents know what the cost is, give them a date they need to have their money turned in by, and then the leader can register the girls for the event with the funds. Once the money comes in from participating in any product sales then that money can be used for troop expenses.
Some leaders do a combination of both. Some leaders have parents make all of the purchases and use any troop funds for a fun activity or field trip that the girls vote on.
Keep in mind—there is financial assistance for all girl members.
Girl Scouts is an organization for all girls and we do not want a family’s financial constraints to have any bearing on her ability to wear her uniform proudly, attend council events and camp, and do fun things with her troop. Grant forms for shop purchases, troop dues, camp, and events can all be found on our financial assistance page.
A few tips about troop finances:
- Be very transparent with parents about what the troop’s finances look like throughout the year. Talk about what was made in sales and what expenses are coming up. Keeping the lines of communication open will help avoid any conflict, suspicions, or concerns.
- Save receipts, check your bank statements frequently, and keep good financial records. Should there ever be any issues that come up you will have the necessary documentation.
- When you’ve got questions—ask!
Above all, remember you don’t need to spend money for your troop to have a fun and meaningful Girl Scout experience.
I was a Daisy and a Brownie way back when and my memories of this time are few. I don’t remember any of the field trips we went on or any of the special parties we had. I remember my troop mates. I remember my troop leaders. I remember going for nature walks and learning about ducks. All the things I learned and loved about Girl Scouts didn’t cost a thing!