When I was growing up, I was never really taught the fundamentals of money saving… Or spending for that matter. We’ve been teaching our girls the importance of understanding money and the responsibility that comes along with it. As a Girl Scout leader, I see a huge opportunity to help the girls in my troop understand the ins and outs of saving, spending, and giving to meet troop goals. In Girl Scouts, fundraising efforts are referred to as either FUNraising, or money-earning projects.
When my older daughter became a Junior Girl Scout, she couldn’t wait to start planning our big bridging trip to San Francisco. Once our troop realized how costly this trip would be, we had to start thinking about money-earning projects outside of the traditional nut and cookie sales they already participate in. We’ve participated in two projects so far that have worked really well. And have several more ideas in the works.
Here are several fundraising project ideas for Girl Scout troops…
1. Traditional Cake Auction
Taking a page straight out of other scouting books, we decided to try to see how this would go over with our troop. Each girl baked and decorated a cake for auction. We also had several donated items which were made into gift baskets. We planned this money-earning event the day before Mother’s Day so families could maximize the value of their auction winnings. This event was one of the easiest to organize, cost-efficient, casual and fun, and made a substantial amount of money for our troop.
If you have anyone close to your troop who would be willing to be an auctioneer (and good at doing so), I highly recommend using a live auction / raise-the-paddle style of auction for this. I was skeptical of the live auction idea at first. And I was planning to go the silent auction route, with paper bid sheets next to each cake. But one of the dads in our troop pushed for the live auction idea, and volunteered to be our auctioneer. Our auction turned out much more lively. And I believe the live format created more fun, more competition, and as a result, raised more funds for our troop than my original idea to run it as a silent auction.
2. Flamingo Yard Flocking
This was a long time tradition in our community for the local high school. But they’ve since stopped. We inherited their flock of pink flamingo lawn ornaments, and have been making a “stand” in yards throughout our local community. We set up a mini e-commerce website for our FUNraiser. This made it easy for folks to visit a cute website, and donate to order a Flock of a friend’s home, a Relocation of the Flock from their home to another, or a simple UnFlock of their own home.
This is one of those ideas where you can do it several ways. We’re set up to take orders and collect money (using PayPal) via our little website, making it super simple. But you could just as easily create a simple PayPal account for your troop (or something similar). And create some quick flyers advising people on how to make their donations with instructions for where to Flock, Relocate, or UnFlock.
Think of Flocking like playing a game of tag. You get tagged because a friend or family member ordered a Flock of flamingos to be placed in your yard. If a Flock of flamingos shows up in your yard… then, tag, you’re it, and you’ll hopefully play along and keep the Flock on the move. The girls collect the Flock from the current house and relocate it to another house that has been requested by someone to be flocked. This one takes a bit of coordination, but with a great group of parents on your side, this is one of the most fun money-earning ideas out there.
3. Yard Sales
I love yard sales, so this one is perfect for our troop. Hosting a multi-family yard sale is a great way to earn money quickly. Especially for those of you with large troops. Pick a weekend day well in advance, so your parents have time to plan for and commit to the date. Plus, it will allow plenty of time to gather items for the sale. The sale will only be successful if you have items people want to buy. Keep prices low to sell the items, and advertise in your local area. We use the Yard Sale Treasure app. But there are also several others that would work to get the word out.
Our community also has one day a year where they plan an all-community yard sale day. Find out if you have something like this in your area. Once the sale is over, make sure you have a team there to collect any remaining items to donate or package up for a future sale.
4. Babysitting Days
If your girls are a bit older, they can host a babysitting day (or early evening) for parents to enjoy a little time to themselves. We have a short break between Fall Sales and Cookie Sales which for us. which falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is the perfect time to host a babysitting day so parents can get out to do holiday shopping. Or just to take a break from one of the busiest times of the year.
How to make a babysitting event successful is to plan our activities for all level of girls. You can even have stations set up, create a theme for the events, and have a fun patch included. Make sure your girls are set up with CPR/first aid knowledge and are comfortable with this event before planning. And again, you must have adults committed to (and present at) the event for it to work.
5. Scout Class for a Fee
We take advantage of these hosted classes set up by other Girl Scout troops for a fee. One of our favorites was a Harry Potter-themed class, where the girls made magic wands, slime, played cribbage, and drank potions and appropriately themed snacks. Off course, these types of events take a lot of planning, a location, and must have all hands on deck. But when done right, they are one of the most popular money-earning projects around.
Hosted classes not only put money in your troop’s bank account. But they also teach the girls how to plan, implement, and complete a full cycle event. And if you’re thinking feels out of your league, just hit up Pinterest for some amazing ideas.
One of the best ways to get participants to attend your event is to offer an exclusive patch. I can’t tell you how many people comment on the patch from this event. You can order custom patches made for your event, and add the patch cost into the overall class price.
As with all money-earning projects, follow the rules
Like with any scouting sponsored event, make sure you are following all guidelines for your organization. As a Girl Scout leader, we need to have all money-earning projects approved several weeks in advance, have participated in product sales for the year, and use our safety-wise checklist to make sure we are creating not only fun but safe space for everyone involved.
These are just a few ideas. Do you have a money-earning project that has been a success? We’d love to hear about it.