As a not-for-profit organization, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio must follow all IRS guidelines for a 501c3 organization. All Girl Scout groups (troops) and service units are an extension of the council, including the council IRS not-for-profit status. Therefore, all group and service unit finances are considered assets of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. In order to ensure compliance with IRS and audit guidelines, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has the following policies regarding sponsorships, donations, and grants from individuals and organizations to Girl Scouts groups or service units.
Sponsors help Girl Scout councils ensure that all girls in the community have an opportunity to participate in Girl Scouting. Community organizations, businesses, religious organizations, and individuals may be sponsors and may provide group meeting places, volunteer their time, provide activity materials, or loan equipment. The council or your troop/group or service unit may already have relationships with certain organizations, or may know of some reasons not to collaborate with certain organizations. Volunteers must obtain permission before seeking financial support from sponsor. (See donation section for more information.)
If your group or service unit has a sponsor, the sponsor’s contribution can be recognized by sending thank-you cards composed by the girls, inviting the sponsor to a meeting or court of awards, or working together on a service project. The contribution should also be reflected in the troop/group’s financial records and report.
When collaborating with any other organization, keep these additional guidelines in mind:
- Avoiding fundraising for other organizations: Girl Scouts are not allowed, when identifying ourselves as Girl Scouts (such as wearing a uniform, a sash or vest, official pins, and so on), to solicit money on behalf of another organization. This includes participating in a walkathon or telethon while in uniform. You and your group can, however, support another organization through take-action projects or by making a donation from your group’s account. And Girl Scouts as individuals are able to participate in whatever events they choose, so long as they’re not wearing anything that officially identifies them as “Girl Scouts.”
- Steering 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 are participating in a political rally, circulating a petition, or carrying a political banner.
- Being 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.
- Avoiding selling or endorsing commercial products: “Commercial products” is any product sold at retail. Since 1939, girls and volunteers have not been allowed to endorse, provide a testimonial for, or sell such products.
- Girls may not directly solicit funds from individuals or organizations.
- Troops and service units may receive a donation from any one individual or organization for no more than $250 during the membership year (single donation or cumulative).
- Any donation amount over $250 must be turned into the regional Girl Scout center and will be the responsibility of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. These funds will be directed to the council general fund.
- If donors are requesting a letter of acknowledgement for any amount (letters of acknowledgement will only be sent for amounts over $250.), the funds must be turned into the regional Girl Scout center using a Girl Scout Donor form attached to the check. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio will then send the donor a letter and reissue the money to the troop/group/service unit. If a donation is received without a Girl Scout Donor Form attached, it is assumed that this donation is to the Girl Scout general operational budget.
- All donations must be reported on the Troop/Group/Service Unit annual financial report.
- Girls may not directly solicit funds from individual or organizations
- Troops and service units may not solicit grants or financial donations from foundations or corporations.
- Troops and service units may receive up to $250 during a membership year from companies that offer volunteer matching grants. These funds are to be used for special service projects conducted by the service unit, day camp or troop. In order to receive these funds, troops and/or service units must receive prior permission and submit a Project Funding Approval Form to the director of regional services and have a current financial report on file with the regional office.
Please contact your director of regional services to discuss any exceptions to the above.