Troop Finance Basics: Account Setup and Money Management

So, you’re all set to start your troop! Let’s go over some basics about how to set up a troop bank account and manage your troop funds.

What you need to know about managing troop money:

  • Girl Scout troops are funded through product programs (Fall Product Program and the Girl Scout Cookie Program), approved money-earning projects, and any dues the troop may choose to charge.
  • All troops should have a troop bank account with associated checks and debit card.
  • If you’re stepping into an existing troop, you may inherit a checking account; if you’re starting a new troop, you will create a new account.
  • All deposits and withdrawals to the troop checking account should be related to Girl Scout activities, noted in the troop financial records, and monitored by the two signers.
  • Account balances should be kept at a reasonable level and may be carried over from one year to the next.
  • See Volunteer Essentials Chapter 5: Managing Group Finances for full details on troop and group finances.

How do I set up a troop bank account – or make changes to an existing account when troop leadership changes? 

  1. Identify the two signers on the account.

Girl Scout troop accounts must have 2 unrelated adult volunteer signers. Often signers include the Troop Leader and Co-­Leader, or the Service Unit Manager. If a parent or family member from your troop is interested in helping with troop finances, that individual should register as a Troop Leader or Troop Support Volunteer and complete a background check.

  1. Call the bank ahead of time to understand what items they require to open or change an account.

Some banks may require additional paperwork from the council before they will open a troop account. If a letter is required, contact us at info@gsiowa.org.

  1. Open checking account:
  • Account Name: Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa, Inc., DBA Troop # __
  • ID #: The bank will open the account using the GSGI Federal Tax ID number (EIN). You should not be required to use your social security number.
  • Account Address: Open the checking account with the Primary Signer’s address or the Service Unit Manager’s address.Do not use the council address!
  • Submit account information to the council as required using the Troop and Service Unit Bank Account Form.
  1. Manage Troop Finances
  • Be sure to keep your receipts on file for 2 years. One person may be appointed to keep track of troop expenditures, and regularly report out the account status to the troop.
  • Submit required Troop Finance Report to the council each year by the council deadline each summer.

Don’t hesitate to contact your support team with any questions! You can find help by emailing info@gsiowa.org or dialing the Girl Scout Hotline at 800-342-8389.

Find Your Shout Out! Newsletters – Your Product Program Resource

Shout Out! Newsletters are your weekly resource for Product Program news! Need to glance at a previous edition? Use the links below:

2016 Cookie Program

2015 Fall Product Program

 

Know someone who needs to receive the Shout Outs? Send them to this online sign-up form!

Five Ways to Have a Great First Troop/Parent Meeting

You’re registered, you’re trained, and now you’re ready to hold your first troop/parent meeting! We know it can be scary starting something new, so we’re here to help.

Here are five ways to make sure your first troop/parent meeting goes smoothly:

  1. Have your troop parents/guardians attend the first meeting so you can go over meeting times, locations, troop funding, etc.
  2. Be sure to have an activity for the girls to do while the adults are meeting! Activity idea: have the girls look through a copy of the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting or one of your grade level’s three Journey books and pick out some of the things they’re most excited to do this year.
  3. Once the girls are excited and the parents are more prepared, take an opportunity to have a “get to know you” portion of the meeting to help the girls ease into meetings. You can pick out a name game, do a fun craft, or build a snack together to get the girls more comfortable with each other.
  4. Now is a great time to start talking to the girls about what they’d like to do this year! As we know, Girl Scouting is girl-led — we want the girls to have the opportunity to lead and find their way. Talk to the girls about what they’re interested in, which badges they’d like to pursue, and which Journey books they’d like to explore. Our younger Girl Scouts may have a harder time fully “leading” their Girl Scout experience, but sometimes narrowing things down to two or three options and having them choose can be a great way to let them guide their experience without making it overwhelming.
  5. Wrap up the meeting with details on when you’ll next meet and what your troop will start working on first — the girls will be so excited! Be sure to leave a little time for parents to ask any questions that may have popped in their heads during the meeting. Good communication with parents/guardians is a key to troop success!

Whew! You’re all set to kick off a great year in Girl Scouting!

Have your own tips to share for holding a first troop meeting? Share them with us in the comments!

October 2015: Checklist for Success

Need a refresher from last month? Click here for the September Service Unit Checklist!

Be sure to renew your membership (and your troop’s memberships) through MyGS!

MyGS is your Girl Scout member community where you can renew memberships by family or troop and log into the Volunteer Toolkit. Remember, troop leaders who have not yet registered by October 1 will lose the ability to view the Volunteer Toolkit and complete online Troop Renewal through MyGS!

If you need your password:  Go to the “MyGS” portal and click the “Forgot Password” link to reset your information. Use the email that you gave the council to register! Please share that with parents/families as well – all members and parents/guardians have a MyGS account.

Join us for an awesome weekend at camp for the Fall Leader Retreat on October 23 – 25.

Our Fall Volunteer Retreat is a weekend of sessions to enhance your experience as a volunteer and making a difference in a girl’s life. Register for the event here, but be sure to check out our Fall Leader Retreat Info Sheet for descriptions of the available sessions, and helpful details on what to bring!

The Volunteer Toolkit is here! Check out this amazing resource for troop leaders.

The Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) provides new digital resources for troop leaders – including step-by-step meeting planning guides for K-5 troop leaders, based on the Girl Scout journeys and badges. Plus, leaders of all grade levels have a troop view where you can streamline communication with parents, customize your calendar, and create an outline for your whole year!

How do I access the Volunteer Toolkit? It’s easy! You can renew your membership and access the Volunteer Toolkit through one easy “MyGS” portal. This portal is accessible on our website by clicking on the gold “MyGS” link in the main navigation.

Keep an eye out later this month for some great video resources about the VTK!

We’re making it easier for families to find troops near them – you can help!

Have you heard about the Girl Scout Opportunity Catalog? The Opportunity Catalog offers easier entry into Girl Scouting and better visibility for parents about how girls can participate by allowing them to search for troops by zip code. In addition, troop leaders will receive an instant email notification (with contact information) when a new member joins your troop. Parents will be able to view how many volunteers are currently supporting a troop, and what opportunities are available for them to get involved.

How can your Service Unit support the Opportunity Catalog? Encourage troop leaders to update their troop information to display in catalog. The more information available for new parents and families, the more girls have a chance to participate!

Subscribe to the Shout Out for all of your Product Program news.

The Shout-Out is a weekly email to guide volunteers through our Fall Product Program and Cookie Program. If you’re not receiving the Shout-Out each Thursday evening, you can sign up here.

We have streamlined the required forms for Girl Scout activities! 

  1. The form previously called the Event Activity Application is no longer required. If your troop or service unit is planning an activity including horseback riding, water activities or swimming at a location without staff lifeguards, submit those requests for council permission.
  2. For troop or service unit overnights or trips, see the Event/Activity/Trip Checklist for all of your planning steps, including the required Overnight/Trip Application.
  3. Is your service unit or troop planning a fun event that you would like to invite all Girl Scouts to attend? Submit the Event Listing Request Form eight weeks prior to your event to have it listed on our online calendar and open for online registration. Girls will be able to use 2015 Munch Money and 2016 Cookie Dough for troop and service unit events that are open to members from across the council!

October To-Dos!

  • All members should re-register before October 1. Troop leaders who have not yet registered will lose the ability to view the Volunteer Toolkit and complete online Troop Renewal through MyGS
  • Be sure to submit your 2015-2016 Volunteer Agreements.
  • Remind troops to hold a parent meeting.
  • Get to know the families of the girls, plan for upcoming activities, and find additional volunteers for the troops.
  • 2016 Destinations application materials are due November 1! Refer to our Apply for Travel page for details.

Coming Soon:

  • Special training session for volunteers at the Science Center of Iowa – November 14.
  • Fun fall programs for girls are happening across the council – see our Event Calendar.
  • Don’t forget to start planning your event for our founder, Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday on October 31! Use our “Share Your Story” form to submit cool photos of your event.