Annual subscription policy

All about our annual subscriptions

Approved: February 2020
Version: 1
Content owner: Membership Systems

This policy is for commissioners and those who hold the role of main contact in a unit or level. It explains what the annual subscription is, why Girlguiding needs it, how we decide how much it is, how we use it, who pays it, and our expectations about payment.

Annual subscription - this is made up from the national subscription payment (which is decided by the Girlguiding trustees board) and a levy payment (which is decided by countries and regions, counties, divisions and districts). This process happens on a yearly basis.

National subscription – the national fee paid to be a member of Girlguiding

Levy – an extra fee that is added to the national subscription by countries and regions, counties, divisions and districts. This is to support guiding in their local area.

Active member – all Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers. Also all volunteers whose membership status is recorded as a ‘Member’ on their GO record. This includes members with an ‘active pending’ status.

Admin user group – volunteers with access and responsibility to update members (girls or volunteers) records in the level.

Official invoice – issued after the trial invoice deadline has closed. This is a payment invoice only. It represents the amount of money each unit and level must pay, and it’s non-amendable. It does not include names, just the total number of members payable.

Level – unit, district, division, county or countries and regions.

Level main contact – the volunteer in the level responsible for receiving all communication related to the level. They may then action, share or delegate tasks and information with the relevant volunteers in their level.

Levy repayment – the amount Girlguiding collects per member on behalf of a level and transfers/pays back to the level.

Member at Girlguiding Association level – individual membership to Girlguiding without an active volunteering role.

Recognised volunteer - an adult volunteer who is not a member, performing any role with Girlguiding. This includes occasional roles.

Trial invoice – this is a provisional record of the names and number of members in a level that are being charged according to GO records. You can access the trial invoice via the subscriptions system.

Unit subscription – a ‘subs’ payment made directly to units from young members of each unit. This is often collected on a weekly, monthly or termly basis as determined by each unit leadership team. These unit ‘subs’ pay for running the unit – including buying resources, paying rent and training leaders – or for events and activities. The unit might choose to collect funds to cover the annual subscription in these regular subs too, or they might just ask parents for a one-off payment each year.

Every year since 1948 Girlguiding has asked every active member to pay an annual subscription – or membership fee.

Subscriptions support our volunteers to change the lives of girls and young women and inspire them to be their best. This is one payment, per active member, per year, payable by a published date. The annual subscription amount is updated yearly.

Girlguiding head office collect both the national subscription and on behalf of countries, regions counties divisions and districts. It acts an agent to collect their amounts and then redistributes these payments within an agreed timeframe.

How we use the annual subscription

The annual subscription is an investment in the future of Girlguiding

The national subscription money is used to cover the costs generated through Girlguiding UK such as providing insurance, legal, safeguarding and data protection support. Further detail about this can be found in our annual report and accounts. 

Other level subscription levies are used in a variety of ways to cover costs generated at that level, including to help maintain campsites and offices and to subsidise events like activity days and training days.

Non-payment of the annual subscription means that there is less money to distribute.

Girlguiding expectations

If you are the main contact of a level you must ensure the annual subscription for your level is paid for each active member, by a published date every year.

You’ll find information about the annual subscription process in guiding magazine and the making guiding happen email newsletter, which is sent to all members, as well as in emails sent directly from the subscription site. There's also information on our subscription pages.

Payments are made through Girlguiding levels. As the main contact of the level’s admin user group you will be given details of how these must be made. Girlguiding issues a trial invoice for each level first. If you have amendments to the trial invoice you must make these through GO by the published deadline.

Active membership is taken on the date that final invoices are calculated, and you must make payment based on those final numbers. Members must not be removed and added  back later in order to avoid payment. There is no refund process for active members transferring or leaving after this date. The invoice must be paid in full by the level and must be paid by the published date.

As the unit leader or level commissioner you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the annual subscription is paid. Failure to comply with payment may result in a compliance process.

As the level main contact, you will be notified of underpayment. If this is not rectified the county will take responsibility for the shortfall in the first instance and will expect the underpayment to be reimbursed. Notification of non-payment will be sent to the county commissioner who will be responsible for collecting this. Countries/regions and counties will undertake their own procedures to recover unpaid subscriptions.

You will also be notified if there is an overpayment. Overpayments are donated to Girlguiding and are not refunded.

If the national subscription team receive a payment after the deadline, they will not bank it and it will be destroyed. As the level main contact you will be notified and advised that payment needs to be made to the county. You will need to contact the county commissioner or county treasurer for payment instructions.

This policy recognises and allows for any BGO and Salvation Army units that have agreed a different payment process.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the annual subscription procedures.