Using the links below, walk through the following steps:
We all want to know your troop’s hard-earned money is in safe hands. Typically, one bank account owner is the Troop Leader and the other is the Troop Cookie Manager, the Assistant Troop Leader, or the Troop Treasurer. Identify another trusted adult to have joint access to the account.
What’s a convenient bank or credit union for you and your co-leaders to use? Council staff will also make recommendations of banks that work well with Girl Scouts. Search for no-fee banking. Many banks will waive fees if you sign up for online banking and discontinue paper statements.
Before you open an account, know this: troop accounts are nonprofit (not personal or business) accounts jointly owned by your troop and GSNWGL. Therefore:
The information you need to open a troop or service area bank account is:
For our non-profit tax status and audit needs, you must submit your troop bank account information to keep on file at the council office.
ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. It’s an electronic network for financial transactions. The council can use ACH to pull money from your troop account for product sales or payment for a property rental. It is also used for deposits to refund your troop or to pay for financial assistance that is requested. The council will rarely send you a check, to save you a trip to the bank!
IMPORTANT! Whenever the account information changes (for example, when volunteers are added or removed as signers, or if you move the account to a different bank), you must submit an updated ACH authorization form with a voided check or account verification letter from the bank (see example in this workbook). Email is not a secure way to send account data due to potential internet security risks, so send it via fax or stamped mail
Use the Troop Finance Log right away to record all troop income and expenses. It makes submitting the required year-end finance report fast and easy! Safely organize all paper and electronic receipts.
Troop Tip: Avoid using cash, if possible, and keep all receipts when you do. Use debit cards. Make deposits promptly.
When girls dream big, they earn big money. Be aware of the possibility of theft or misuse of funds, which is the troop's responsibility. Be transparent; share the Troop Finance Log with families at least twice a year; council recommends December (after Fall Product) and May (after Cookie Program).
Once the task of opening or updating your troop bank account is complete, carefully maintain the account with good documentation.
Troop leaders are responsible for managing the account, but if monitoring and managing finances isn’t your thing, partner with the assistant troop leader and/or enlist the help of another volunteer to serve as Troop Treasurer. Together, help one another document income and expenses, carefully filing receipts and bank statements.
Use the Troop Finance Log template right away to start recording all troop income and expenses. It makes submitting the required year-end troop finance report faster and easier. Safely store all paper and electronic receipts and bank statements for future reference.
See the link below for the Google Sheets template.
See the next section of this website on council approval for money-earning activities and donations.
When girls dream big, they earn big money. Be aware of the possibility of theft or misuse of funds, which is the troop’s responsibility. Be transparent; share the Troop Finance Log with families at least twice a year; council recommends December (after Fall Product) and May (after Cookie Program).
Communicate the intention of how the funds will be used and congratulate your Girl Scout families for their hard work and entrepreneurial know-how that helped them earn the funds to cover the troop's expenses.
The Troop Finance Report is due on May 31 of every year. It's submitted online in MyGS/Volunteer Toolkit by the Troop Leader, the Assistant Troop Leader or the Troop Treasurer. There are three parts to the report.
See below for detailed directions and a video tutorial example.
Get the following documents in digital format, titled with the troop number and the year (the preferred file formats are pdf, Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets):
Get the name and address of your bank, and the last 4 numbers of your troop bank account.
To access your troop finance report, go to www.gsnwgl.org and log in to MyGS. Open the Volunteer Toolkit and click on the Finance tab at the top of the screen.
The troop financial report is divided into six sections.
Input the amount of money your troop received in the following categories:
Troop Dues – The total amount of troop dues you received from caregivers or the financial assistance received from GSNWGL to cover any troop dues.
Fall Product Program – The total amount of all deposits made during the Fall Product Sale.
Cookie Program – The total amount of all deposits made during the Cookie Program. If you still have cookies to sell, there is a section at the end of the report to let us know how many you still have left to sell.
Donations – Any monetary donations your troop received from May 1 of the previous year to April 30 of the current year.
Money Earning Activities – Any money the Girl Scouts in your troop earned outside the product program sales, from council-approved money-earning activities.
Other Income – Any other income received by your troop. Please explain what the income sources are in the note section. (If your troop received financial aid reimbursements for membership fees for girl or adult members, that goes here.)
Input the amount of money your troop spent in the following categories.
Membership Fees – GSUSA membership registration fees paid for out of troop funds.
Uniforms, Badges, & Patches – Any uniforms, badges or patches paid for with troop funds.
Troop Supplies – Any supplies purchased for troop meetings or badge or Journey activities.
Trips & Council Events – Any money spent on troop field trips, overnights, extended travel, or council events.
Camp Fees – Any money spent to send girls in the troop to camp(s).
Community Service Projects – Any money spent on community service or Take Action projects or philanthropic donations.
GSNWGL Fall Product ACH Withdrawal – The total amount pulled from the troop account during the Fall Product Sale.
GSNWGL Cookie ACH Withdrawal – The total amount pulled from the troop account during the Cookie Program.
Other Expenses – Any other expenses during the year. Please explain what the expense sources are in the note section.
This section will auto populate once you enter your starting balance. New troops will have a starting balance of $0. If this is not your troop’s first year, your starting balance should match the ending balance you reported in the previous year's troop finance report.
Provide the name of your bank, the branch name (if applicable), the last 4 numbers of your troop bank account, and the names of the adult members who are authorized signers on the account.
In this section, share these details.
Once you hit submit, you will no longer be able to make changes to your troop financial report. You will receive an email with a copy of your submitted report to keep with your troop files.
When you submit the report, a pop-up window will prompt you to upload the required documents (the Troop Finance Log and the troop’s April bank statement). Now you’re done! Your report will be reviewed by a council staff member. If there are questions, someone will reach out to you via email or phone. If everything looks good, you will receive an email notifying you that the report has been reviewed and approved.
Note: Failure to submit a troop finance report on time may result in a volunteer suspension. If you anticipate any delays in submitting your report or if you need additional help, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When it’s time for a troop to merge, disband, or graduate, it’s important to help interested Girl Scouts and their families continue to participate in another way. When possible, troop funds and supplies move with the girls, and then the troop bank account will need to be closed. We've got a form for that, and a step-by-step process to make it happen smoothly. Here's what we're talking about.
What's a Merged Troop? A troop is considered merged when at least two troops combine to form one troop.
What's a Disbanded Troop? A troop is considered disbanded when either new leadership cannot be recruited, or girls and volunteers no longer wish to participate in Girl Scouts.
What's a Graduated Troop? A troop of 12th grade Ambassadors who have completed their years of Girl Scouts as youth and can now participate as adult members.
First - Contact your local Girl Scout staff member about the troop disbanding, merging, or graduating. Every situation is different, so you can expect personalized advice and instructions on how to proceed.
Second - Connect with the girls and their caregivers. Council staff will give you a template message you can use to communicate next steps and share options. If a troop leader is stepping down, the letter template helps you ask troop families which girls want to continue in Girl Scouts and ask if another volunteer can take a turn as the troop leader, in order to keep the girls together! If no one volunteers to be the next troop leader, council staff will help the girls join another troop nearby. If a new troop leader(s) is found, they can sign up for new leader training right away to keep the troop going.
Third - Complete the Disbanded, Merged, or Graduated Troop Form below and return to email@example.com. This form gives your troop (and council staff) a lot of help in reallocating troop resources, details about which members are moving on, and getting new volunteers into new leader orientation training. Council staff will be in touch to confirm everything is complete.
Remember, troop funds belong to all registered girl members in the troop. If a troop is disbanding, the troop leaders can guide girls in making decisions on how to use their troop funds; for example, plan a troop trip, an end of the year party, or make a donation to a local charity. Troops can support Girl Scouts with a donation to their own Girl Scout service area or the council’s Family Partnership Fund. Troops are encouraged to use funds to renew Girl Scout memberships (for girls continuing with a new troop or as a Juliette (an individually registered girl) or purchase a Lifetime Membership for graduating Ambassadors.
If funds are not used, the troop bank account will be closed by the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. If the troop is reactivated within 18 months and Council is notified, the funds are reissued to the troop.
Note: Funds ARE NOT to be given to girls/adults individually (this includes cash and/or gift cards). If you have any questions about how to use troop funds during this transition, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For girls continuing in another troop, a portion of the funds can be transferred to the new troop. Council staff will advise you on this transition.
The form will ask the troop leader to check all that apply.
Thank you very much for all the time and energy you gave in Girl Scouts to give girls a memorable experience! Thank you for taking a turn as a troop leader!