Money Earning Basics

Girls planning a trip or other special program activity may require funds in addition to those earned through the council product sales. As girls decide on activities that they want to accomplish during the year, they should create a troop budget. Using the budget, the girls should then set goals for their participation in the fall product sale, cookie sale and/or other money earning activities.

Troop money earning provides girls with a valuable opportunity to learn about all aspects of goal setting, money management, and entrepreneurship. The service unit manager must approve any money-earning activity other then the council sponsored product sales. Complete the Approval for Additional Money Earning Project Form and submit it to the service unit manager for approval.

Please remember that parents have the right to inspect financial statements at anytime and troop leaders have the responsibility to keep them informed.

Girls earn money in two distinct ways: 
  • “Council-sponsored product sales” are council-wide sales of Girl Scout–authorized products (such as Girl Scout Cookies, calendars, magazines, or nuts and candy), in which members participate as part of the Girl Scout program.
  • “Group money-earning” refers to activities organized by the group (not by the council) that are planned and carried out by girls (in partnership with adults) and that earn money for the group. These activities must be approved by the council in writing.

Girls’ participation in both council-sponsored product sale activities and group money-earning projects is based upon the following:
  • Voluntary participation
  • Written permission of each girl’s parent or guardian
  • An understanding of (and ability to explain clearly to others) why the money is needed
  • An understanding that money-earning should not exceed what the group needs to support its activities.
  • Observance of local ordinances related to involvement of children in money-earning activities, as well as health and safety laws
  • Vigilance in protecting the personal safety of each girl
  • Arrangements for safeguarding the money

Making Decisions About Money With Girls in the Troop
Troops can choose to set up troop funds in a variety of ways. Some examples include:
All earned money goes into a “common pot” to be drawn from equally. This method works particularly well with younger Girl Scouts. This is where every troop should start and is the most common approach.

A portion of money earned goes into a “common pot” to be used equally to cover common expenses or activities in which the majority of girls plan to participate. An additional portion of the money is tracked individually to save towards a long term, bigger troop activity or to be used to individual concil sponsored activities like resident camp. Girls track all troop money earning individually and agree to subtract equal amounts for all troop activities. The troop as a body still makes decisions about how the money should be spent. This accounting method does not imply that the money is the property of an individual girl.

To determine which method is right for the girls in your troop and the specifics of how it will be managed, the leader and girls should ask themselves the following kinds of questions:
  • What is meaningful to the girls right now? How actively involved are they in managing their troop funds?
  • What is our philosophy about the way that we run our troop?
  • What are we trying to learn from the way we manage our money?
  • What will we do with our money if one or more girls join the troop with no money or a different amount of money?

In addition, consider the following reminders or cautions
  • Groups are encouraged to participate in council product sales as their primary money-earning activity; any group money-earning shouldn’t compete with the Girl Scout Cookie Sale or other council product sales.
  • Obtain written approval from your council before a group money-earning event by submitting Troop/Group Money Earning Approval Form to service unit manager. 
  • Girl Scouts forbids use of games of chance, the direct solicitation of cash, and product-demonstration parties. 
  • Group money-earning activities need to be suited to the age and abilities of the girls and consistent with the principles of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
  • Money raised is for Girl Scout activities and never belongs to individuals members - girls or adults. Girls can, however, be awarded incentives and/or may earn credits from their Girl Scout product sales, to be used for Girl Scout activities.
  • Funds acquired through group money-earning projects must be reported and accounted for by the group, while following council procedures.
  • Decisions about how troop money will be accounted for and spent should be made by the girls in the troop and communicated in writing by the girls to parents to ensure clarity.
  • No account may be set up in a girl’s name that is replenished through troop funding efforts or donations. No matter what accounting method is used, money earned by girls in Girl Scouting is the property of the troop.
  • Money donated to the troop may not personally benefit one member of the troop.

The best way to earn money for your group is to start with Girl Scout Cookie sales and other council-sponsored product sales. From there, your group may decide to earn additional funds on its own. 

Helping Girls Reach Their Financial Goals
One of your opportunities as a volunteer is to facilitate girl-led financial planning, which may include the following steps for the girls:
  1. Set goals for money-earning activities. What do girls hope to accomplish through this activity? In addition to earning money, what skills do they hope to build? What leadership opportunities present themselves?
  2. Create a budget. Use a budget worksheet that includes both expenses (the cost of supplies, admission to events, travel, and other costs) and available income (the group’s account balance, projected Cookie sale proceeds)
  3. Determine how much the group needs to earn. Subtract expenses from available income to determine how much money your group needs to earn.
  4. Make a plan. The group can brainstorm and make decisions about its financial plans. Will cookie and other product sales—if approached proactively and energetically—earn enough money to meet the group’s goals? If not, which group money-earning activities might offset the difference in anticipated expense and anticipated income? Will more than one group money-earning activity be necessary to achieve the group’s financial goals? In this planning stage, engage the girls through the Girl Scout processes (girl-led, learning by doing, and cooperative learning) and consider the value of any potential activity. Have them weigh feasibility, implementation, and safety factors. 
  5. Write it out. Once the group has decided on its financial plan, describe it in writing. If the plan involves a group money-earning activity, fill out an application for approval from your council and submit it along with the budget worksheet the girls created.
Remember: It’s great for girls to have opportunities, like the Girl Scout Cookie sale, to earn funds that help them fulfill their goals as part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. 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!