First financial steps

Set up a bank account for your new unit, get to grips with subscriptions, and learn how to estimate costs

Budgeting for the unit is a key part of being a leader but your commissioner can help you too

Estimate and budget for start-up costs

First, you'll need to estimate your start-up costs. These costs need to cover initial room hire and any equipment. Once you’ve got a list of what needs to be paid for, and you know roughly how many girls will be in your unit, you can decide how to cover these costs.

Options include:

  • Asking girls to pay a joiner’s fee to pay for things like books.
  • Spreading the cost over the year in subscriptions, paid by girls either weekly or termly.
  • Applying for a grant from local guiding. Talk to your commissioner about what is available.
  • Fundraising with your unit.

Understanding subscriptions

Members pay two different subscriptions during the year.

Unit subscription

Young members pay a unit subscription to cover the day-to-day costs of the unit, such as books, badges and equipment. It’s important that the unit subscription is realistic so that it covers unit costs but doesn’t put girls off coming.

Add up all the potential costs that you will have, like badges, books, craft equipment and potential event or trip costs. Then divide this by the number of girls you will have in the unit. This will give you a good idea of your cost per head, so you can set your subscription amount for the year ahead. It can be revisited annually to take into account increases in the cost of living.

Annual subscription

As well as the unit subscription, every year Girlguiding collects an annual subscription – or membership fee – for all members active on GO. This money goes towards the making of resources, insurance and training and support for adult volunteers. The subscription varies according to costs in different areas.

Get more information on how this process works and how Girlguiding uses the money from subscriptions.

How to collect subscriptions

You decide how you'll collect the subscriptions over the year. Choose a way that works for you and your members and is sensitive to the local area.

Make sure you let parents know how you're collecting subscriptions and why. Not every parent or carer can afford to pay termly or annually, so you may need to collect weekly if that’s the best option for them.

Some families might feel they can’t join in because of the cost. They may struggle to afford regular subscriptions, or money for activities, uniform and equipment. 

Being flexible and thinking creatively will help you to ensure that money doesn't stop members from getting involved. Read more about what to think about when including members on low incomes.

Have a look at further guidance that’s available on how to manage unit finances, including a template budget spreadsheet and guidance on how to use it.

Setting up a bank account

Every new unit must have its own bank or building society account. Your unit must be registered on GO for this to be possible. Your commissioner is responsible for ensuring that these two things happen.

Visit local banks and building societies to find out which treasurers’ accounts, club accounts or community accounts are on offer. Try to choose an account that doesn't have bank charges.

Banks require picture ID and proof of address when you open an account so take these with you when you go. You'll ideally need three signatories, two from the unit and one from your local guiding district or division, so having other volunteers on board before doing this is essential. All the signatories will need the same proof of ID and they will all need to go at the same time to open the account.

It is a good idea to take your Certificate of Charitable Status to the bank to make the status of the unit clear. Find out more about this certificate and your unit's charitable status.

Fundraising

Fundraising is a great way to help pay for equipment and resources - or for planned trips and events that aren’t covered by subscriptions. See our fundraising toolkit for tried and tested ideas, and other useful advice.

Get new volunteers and local leaders involved in your fundraising. It's a fun way to get to know your new team, and others, in the local guiding community. Involve the girls in your unit and their families too, as it's also a chance for the new unit to do something fun together.

Partnerships

Partnering with local businesses can be a great way to fundraise for your unit.
Read about how to build successful partnerships and everything you need to know on the legal planning involved.