New and seasoned leaders alike are all faced with a similar question: how can my troop accomplish all of their goals for the year, and how do we fund it? The new Girl Scout year is the perfect time to set financial goals, make a plan, and establish a strong troop budget to power those amazing adventures all year long!
Because every Girl Scout troop is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to creating your budget, but we have plenty of tips and trips to help make “cents” of it all!
Start off by helping your girls decide what they would like to accomplish for the year. If you plan on taking a big trip at the end of the year, consider scaling back on council-led programs or planning a money-earning project. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio found that troops tend to spend about 65% of their budget on troop program expenses, which includes council activities, field trips, camping, overnights, and more, but it’s completely up to your girls and their interests.
Discuss with Parents
Parent-troop meetings are the perfect opportunity to plan and coordinate your troop budget with parents. After all, they want the same thing you do – incredible experiences for the girls! Discussing topics like who will be responsible for snacks or supplies at troop meetings (will parents contribute or will you use troop funds?), what family’s financial abilities are, what product programs you will be participating in, and how much troop dues should be will get you off to a great start. Keep parents informed on what you plan to do in the upcoming months and what your financial situation is throughout the year. They can also track troop finances through the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK).
Don’t Forget the Basics
Each year, all Girl Scout members (both parents and adults) must renew their membership. Depending on the size and setup of your troop, you may choose to use troop funds to cover these fees or have parents pay out-of-pocket.
Uniforms, Badges, and Patches
First-year or bridging troops that need to purchase new uniforms or insignia will have slightly higher costs, which should be factored into your budget. Discuss with parents at the beginning of the year what will be covered by troop funds and what will come out of pocket
Does your troop want to get creative with their product marketing? Budget a little extra for booth supplies such as a table, wagon, tablecloth, decorations, etc. (or have parents contribute) so you’re not surprised by unexpected expenses! Sometimes troops also choose to do projects for Girl Scout Days, such as World Thinking Day on February 22nd or Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday on October 31st, which can be convenient to have some additional funds for.
Funding the FUN!
The Power of Product Programs
When planning for a big trip or service project, product programs are your best friend! In addition to earning funds for their troop, product programs teach girls valuable money management and leadership skills that will continue to benefit them in their future lives. Have girls set individual goals for what they’d like to accomplish, and determine what you need to cover your troop’s expenses after dues are collected.
Other Money-Earning Activities
In partnership with volunteers and with permission from Council, girls can also partake in group money-earning activities organized by the troop. These could include a multitude of activities including collections/drives for ink cartridges or cellphones, spaghetti dinners and lunch box auctions, walking pets and babysitting, and more!
When in doubt, save the receipts, enlist a parent volunteer to assist as troop treasurer, and ask Council for help! We can’t wait to see what awesome adventures you’ll be taking this year! The money earning guidelines will be live on our website soon. Check your inbox for that update!