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. For example, how much will a venue cost each month? What equipment will you need?

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 think about how to cover 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 loan from local guiding. This could be from district, division or county level. Talk to your commissioner about what is available.
  • Fundraising with the unit.

Understanding subscriptions

There are two subscriptions that members pay 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

In addition, every year Girlguiding collects an annual subscription – or membership fee – for all members active on GO. The income from the annual subscriptions goes towards the making of resources, insurance for guiding activities, and training and support for adult volunteers. The membership subscription fee varies according to costs in different counties, divisions and districts.

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 girls may feel that they can't join us because they, or their parents, believe guiding may be unaffordable. Both young and adult members may struggle to afford regular subscriptions or unexpected costs for activities or 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.

When selecting a bank account, 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 does not involve 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 to get your unit started 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 ways to raise money while making sure your fundraising is well planned, legal and safe to do.

Get new volunteers and local leaders involved in your fundraising. It's a great way to get to know your new team and local guiding community. Involve the girls in your unit and their families, 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.