Annual subscription procedures

What to expect from our subscription process

Last reviewed: October 2019
Content owner: Membership systems

Girlguiding commissioners and level main contacts need to understand and follow the annual subscription procedure. This explains how Girlguiding expects fees and levies to be paid.

These procedures should be read alongside the annual subscription policy.

Stage 1 - The national subscription

How we tell you what this will be each year

  • Girlguiding approves the business process for the year.
  • Girlguiding publishes the national subscription fee on the website. We also email it to level main contacts and include it in the regular e-newsletter.
  • We publish the official business process on the subscription webpage and send it to all county commissioners and county GO coordinators by email.
  • Girlguiding emails all level main contacts with information about the business process for the coming year, including a reminder to update records and add levies.
  • The subscription system is tested for security and performance.

Stage 2 - Local guiding levies

How we advise on and expect these to be collected

  • Girlguiding gives guidance to commissioners about the central collection of all levies. This includes instructions to add the amount to be collected from each member and they should check that the bank details for their district, division, county, country and region are entered correctly in the subscription system by the published date. Guidance is sent by email and through e-newsletters.
  • Country and region managers are contacted and asked to enter their levy amounts and check their level’s bank details by the published date.
  • Girlguiding reminds members that all data must be kept up to date (by email, e-newsletter, the website and guiding magazine). As a commissioner, you are responsible for checking that details of the main contact and other main roles for the level are correct.

Stage 3 - Trial invoice phase

  • As a level main contact you will be notified that the trial invoice is available on the subscription system. Information about the publication of this trial invoice will also be available in e-newsletters, on our website and in guiding magazine.
  • All leaders will be encouraged to check unit trial invoices and look at the number of members being charged using the subscription system. You are responsible for checking and updating the membership for girls in the unit. Leaders are expected to do this and make any amendments by the published deadline. You must also inform your commissioner of any changes to volunteer details.
  • Commissioners are responsible for checking and updating the membership for volunteers in their area. Any amendments made in GO will show on the trial invoices from 10am the next morning.
  • Commissioners must also make sure that trial invoices for all units in their areas are viewed and downloaded ahead of the published deadline. As a commissioner you should offer support where needed. Remember, those with an active membership status of member pay the annual subscription, those with a status of recognised volunteers do not.
  • As a level main contact, you will be sent a reminder to view your trial invoice before the published deadline if you have not done so. This reminder will be sent two weeks before the trial invoice deadline.

Stage 4 - Published trial invoice deadline date

The subscription system will close at the published date and time, until the official invoices are available. GO will also be unavailable during the published time.

Stage 5 - Payment of annual subscription

How to find the official invoices

  • Information from GO will be uploaded to the subscriptions system. The subscription system will then re-open and your official invoice will be available for download to send with payment. The invoice payment slip will have information on it about how and when to pay the invoice.
  • As level main contacts you’ll be told by Girlguiding that invoices are available from the subscription system and that payments must be received by the publicised date (you’ll be advised through email, the webpage and e-newsletters).
  • Members at Girlguiding (Association) level will have their invoices sent to them by the national subscriptions team.
  • Commissioners will be asked to print off and deliver invoices to any units who do not have computer facilities with internet access or printers.

Stage 6 - Receipt of payment

How we give you a record of your payment

  • The subscription system will show the status of your invoice and payment.
  • Payment must be for the exact amount invoiced.
  • Finance (Trading) will record payments and transactions received daily into the subscription system. The subscription system will update invoice payment status and show it on the next working day.
  • Finance (Trading) will process payment upon receipt and the subscription system will display reports for district, division, county and country and region levels to access.
  • The system supplier and membership systems team monitors subscription system activity and performance.
  • Level main contacts of units which have not yet paid their invoice will receive a reminder email asking for payment approximately two weeks before the publicised deadline.
  • Commissioners are responsible for monitoring the units which have and haven’t paid and will send reminders to relevant units. Any difficulties in paying invoices should be raised with local commissioners at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • Once an invoice is shown as paid in full, levels are encouraged to download and save their invoice as a receipt for their accounts.

Stage 7 - What happens if you miss the published deadline?

If your payment is received after this date it won’t be processed in the national collection process.

Instead it will be entered on the subscription system as unpaid and as the level’s main contact you will be emailed and advised to contact your county commissioner to make arrangements to send replacement payment directly to the county.

Each county will take on the responsibility for monies not paid. Countries/regions and counties will undertake their own procedures to recover unpaid subscriptions.

Stage 8 - Levy repayment

Finance (Trading) process all payments received by the published payment deadline. Once the payment has cleared, the country/region and its county, divisions and districts will be allocated their levy amounts, based on the payments received.

You can then also view summary reports giving details of these payments on the system.

Payments will show in all level bank accounts by the published date. If bank details are incomplete or incorrect this will result in a delay to the repayment.

All outstanding national subscription amounts will be deducted from the levy owed to counties or countries/regions, and financial details will be shown on the reports in the system.

What's the payment date?

You will be told the final dates for payment by email, ahead of the trial invoice period. They will also be published in the annual subscription section.

Important terminology on subscription system

‘Payment being processed’ – means payment received.

‘Paid in full’ - means payment processed by the bank, and funds cleared.

‘Error in payment’ - means there has been a problem with the payment.

Stage 9 - Did the process work for my level?

Girlguiding evaluates how the subscription process worked for each level annually – to see if there is room for improvement. Once payment has been received in full the link to an online evaluation will be shared in your payment complete confirmation email.

How we help if your unit cannot cover the cost

It’s important that units plan ahead to make sure they have sufficient funds in the budget to cover the cost of the annual subscription.

We can help. As a commissioner or leader, if your unit is in an area of deprivation or is struggling financially you may be eligible to apply for a UK units in need grant. Although this cannot be used to pay the annual subscription, it can be used for other guiding activities, freeing up funds for subscriptions.

You can look at our fundraising support for more advice on growing unit funds.