Support with paying subscriptions
If you're worried about paying subs and unit finances, check out these ideas for help and support
During February and March each year, members pay an annual subscription.
This amount pays for the cost of running effective, safe guiding at all levels of the organisation, including Girlguiding HQ, countries and regions, counties, divisions and districts. The total amount payable varies for each member depending on where they live or do their guiding.
In 2024 the Girlguiding HQ subscription will be £31 - an increase of £3 from last year. We know this could feel like a lot for some volunteers - particularly if you’re already worried about unit finances.
To help you prepare for invoices and subs payments, we’ve pulled together some tips to help you, including where to go for support.
Check you’re only being charged for the girls and volunteers in your unit
There are a few ways to check that your unit is only paying what it needs to. Make sure you:
- Keep your unit records up to date on GO.
- If a girl or volunteer leaves, make sure their role is made inactive.
- If new girls or volunteers join your unit, make sure they’re added to GO.
- If you have volunteers in your unit who also help at another unit or have roles outside the unit, speak to the them, or your commissioner, to find out what invoice her main role will be on.
- If you have a young leader who is also a Ranger, her Ranger unit may be able to pay for her – check with them.
Parent and carers letter template
To help you talk to parents and carers, we’ve developed a template message for you. It explains subs payments to parents and carers, and you can send it as a letter or an email.
It’s designed for you to adapt to reflect your unit’s situation. There’s options in there which you can delete or use as needed.
Copy and paste the template text from below.
Dear parents and carers [insert first name if sending individually],
It’s been brilliant seeing your daughter/ward/child in your care/[name of child] at our meetings. We’re really enjoying meeting the girls, watching them learn and have fun as well as sharing their successes.
[Use the following paragraph if you’re charging parents a weekly/termly cost towards the annual subscription]
As you know you currently pay subs weekly/termly [change according to unit]. This covers two separate costs.
Part of the subs is used to run the unit. This includes unit activities, paying hall rent, paying for programme materials (including badges), equipment and to pay for any unit leadership training that we have to attend to ensure unit meetings are run safely.
The other part is used to cover the annual subscription (sometimes known as census) which we pay Girlguiding HQ in February/March. This covers your daughter’s/ward’s membership of Girlguiding (UK) and the guiding region, county, division and district we belong to. The money is used to develop the guiding programme and badges, including insurance and safeguarding plus the costs of running our local area such as the rent on the county camp equipment storage.
[Use the following paragraph if you charge parents yearly for the annual subscription]
As you know you currently pay subs weekly/termly [change according to unit]. This is used to run the unit and includes activities, paying hall rent, paying for programme materials (including badges), equipment and to pay for any unit leadership training that we have to attend to ensure unit meetings are run safely.
In addition, every year you pay the annual subscription (sometimes known as census) which we paid Girlguiding HQ in February/March this year. This covers your daughter’s/ward’s membership of Girlguiding at a national level and the guiding region, county, division and district we belong to. The money is used to develop the guiding programme and badges, cover insurance and safeguarding plus the costs of running our local area, such as the rent on the county camp equipment storage.
Annual subscriptions 2024
We’ve been notified by Girlguiding HQ that their part of the 2024 annual subscription is going to be £31. The increase is to make sure that Girlguiding can continue so that your daughter/child in your care can carry on having fun, and our unit will carry on in the future.
This is only part of the costs. We still need to budget for the guiding region, county, division and district. This year the annual subscription for each member of our unit was £XX [add amount]. We are expecting this will increase for 2024. As soon as we know the other amounts, I’ll let you know.
As you have been paying subs, we believe that we have enough money in our unit not to charge you an additional amount to cover the annual subscription. Please can you continue to pay your subs as usual, if you’re able to.
If you’re struggling financially, please let me know so that your daughter/ward doesn’t miss out.
Thank you for everything you’re doing to support our unit.
Apply for a grant
If your unit is in an area of deprivation, you can apply for the UK units in need grant. This can help with buying small items of equipment, resources and uniform, which can free up funds to help with subs. Remember that you can’t use this grant to pay for subs.
Grants to help with the cost of living
There are various grants available at UK and local level to help support you. Find out more about grants and funding.
This year we’ve boosted support for members by making a cost of living grant from Girlguiding HQ to each country and region, a total of £300,000 to support units. This funding aims to:
- Help girls experiencing financial insecurity with the costs of guiding.
- Allow existing members to continue enjoying guiding experiences.
- Help struggling units to stay open.
Each country and region is distributing the funding to units based on local needs. In some areas distribution is already underway, as units applied for grants earlier in the autumn. In other areas there's still time to apply. Some countries and regions merged funds from the cost of living grant with other existing grants - so you may still be able to apply for funds even if the grant is under a different name. Details are below.
- Anglia - apply for the cost of living grant. Applications remain open until all funds have been distributed.
- Cymru - apply for the cost of living grant.
- London and South East England - apply for the cost of living grant.
- Midlands - applications are now closed. Keep an eye out for more information on grants and funding in this region.
- North East England - applications are now closed. Keep an eye out for more information on grants and funding in this region.
- North West England - funds have been added to the region grant, apply here.
- Scotland - funds were added to the good guiding grant. Applications are now closed and distribution is underway, keep an eye out for more information on grants and funding in this country.
- South West England - apply for the cost of living grant. Applications are open until 31 March 2024.
- Ulster - applications are now closed.
Keep a lookout for alternative sources of funding and other local grants. There might be opportunities from local councils, other charities, or large businesses like banks and supermarkets.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out the advice on applying for grants in our fundraising toolkit. Your local commissioner may also be able to signpost to funding available in your local area.
Handling difficult conversations
We know that talking about money isn't easy, and collecting subscriptions can mean having some difficult conversations – don't forget this resource will help you.