Dealing with financial challenges quickly

How to take action if you're facing a financial challenge

No matter how much we plan, sometimes things go wrong and that’s okay.

The most important thing is to take action quickly when it does.

This guidance is part of our finance procedures.

Anyone in the leadership team can raise  any concerns that they have about the unit or levels finances. The sooner it's raised, the more options there'll be for solving any difficulties.

It’s a good idea to have a process for raising any issues, before any actually come to light. Discuss and agree what the plan will be with your leadership team.

What should I do? 

What you need to do will depend on the sort of financial challenge your unit or level is facing.

Sudden financial challenges could be an unexpected rise in costs. For example, the rent of your meeting place could increase, or a lot of young members leave the unit. It’s a good idea to tell your commissioner what's happening, but you and your leadership team might be able to sort them without any extra help.

If your unit or level has been the victim of a financial crime, this needs to be reported to the police immediately. Make sure to tell your commissioner too, so that they can give you practical support.

If the financial challenges have been caused by a volunteer managing the finances badly or making mistakes, talk to your commissioner before taking any action.

Being honest about any financial mistakes you or your team might have made is the best thing you can do. We will respond to significant or deliberate mismanagement in line with our Managing concerns about adult volunteers policy.

How can I cover costs during challenging times?

Reserves

If your unit or level is facing financial difficulties, this is the time to dip into reserves. By following our budgeting guidance, you should have built up between 3 and 6 months worth of reserves you can use

Have a meeting with your leadership team to talk it through and agree how much you'll use. Keep reviewing the situation during the time you're using reserves and aim to build them back up as soon as possible.

Grants

There are a several grants available from Girlguiding to help support units through difficult financial times and you can find out more in our grants and funding information. Check if there are grants offered in your local area, which your unit or level can apply for.

Fundraising and Gift Aid 

Our fundraising toolkit provides useful advice, as well as tried and tested ideas for raising money. Claiming Gift Aid can also help to provide some extra funding when times are tough. 

Borrowing 

In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to borrow money to support your unit or level. You must not take out a  loan from the bank, but you may be able to borrow money from your county, division, or district. Find out more about how a county, division, or district can lend money

What do I need to do as a commissioner? 

If you're a commissioner, you can help other units and levels avoid financial challenges by making sure that financial responsibilities are correctly handed over when a volunteer moves roles or leaves guiding.

This is especially important if the volunteer is a signatory on a guiding bank account, as they'll need to have their access to the bank account removed. A new signatory might need to be added. You can refer to the checklist to make sure everything has been handed over properly.

If a unit has to close, you must make sure their bank account is also closed. Having one signatory at a district or division level means that a unit bank account can still be accessed if the unit team can't close the account themselves. Find out more on the steps which need to be taken when opening and closing accounts.

If a unit or level is facing financial difficulties, you might need to provide support and advice.

For problems with unit accounts, this advice on your responsibilities for unit accounts (PDF) might help youFor more complex or serious concerns, contact the Compliance team at Girlguiding HQ by emailing [email protected].