Money Earning Tips for Big Adventures and Projects

Your girl has big dreams for her Girl Scout experience. Orlando in 2020 for Girl Scout’s 55th National Convention. A troop trip to Savannah or an individual Girl Scout Destinations adventure in Iceland. An awesome Highest Awards project that has a positive impact on her community.

These are all possible. With some determination, advance planning, and hard work, she can make her dreams come true with Girl Scouts!

Step 1: Choose Your Adventure

Girl Scouts is girl-led, so sit down with your girl (or girls) and discuss their dreams. You can make a list of possible trips, activities, and projects, and then decide which ones they want to do the most, which ones they may need to wait until they’re older to do (like when Brownies pick whitewater rafting or Juniors want to tour Europe ), and which ones are second tier (awesome if we have time and funds, but not a top choice).

Step 2: Make a Plan

After girls decide what experiences they want as part of their Girl Scout adventure, they should ask questions and do some research to estimate how much money they’ll likely need, decide what types of activities they can do to raise that money, and estimate how long it may take. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, her trip to Europe likely won’t be funded with one money-earning activity. Some troops or individuals set goals 2-3 years out when fundraising for large trips and projects to help them reach their goals.

Some questions to consider as the planning begins are:

  • What money earning activities do they want to participate, in outside of the council’s Product Sales Programs?
  • How many boxes of cookies or items do they need to sell to cover their costs?
  • What funds from their current troop account or past fundraisers can they put toward their goal?
  • Will they ask families to contribute, or are they willing to use personal funds to cover part of the cost?

All of these are important questions as girls make their plan.

Step 3: Check into Policies and Procedures

Before you start raising funds, review Helping Girls Reach Their Financial Goals and Money Earning Basics on pages 62-64 in Volunteer Essentials for information on our council’s policies and procedures, as well as some ideas for common fundraisers.

If the plan involves a group money earning activity beyond the Girl Scout Product Sales Program, make sure to fill out the Girl Approval for Additional Troop/Group Money-Earning Project found at gswo.org/formsanddocs.

Step 4: Fundraising Time!

You’ve got a dream and a plan to get there. It’s time to put it all into motion. There are several ways for Girl Scouts to raise funds for projects and activities. One of the most common is participating in the Girl Scout Product Sales Program.

There are two great opportunities for Girl Scouts to be able to participate in a Product Sales Program: the Girl Scout Cookie Program and the Fall Product Program. The foundation of both programs are the 5 skills that girls learn by participating: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. This is what distinguishes our programs from fundraisers that girls might participate in at school or other youth organizations, and it is those same 5 skills that will help your girls make a plan to earn funds for a big adventure or project.

Here are some tips to help your girls make the most of these fundraisers.

  • When girls sell Girl Scout Cookies or Fall Product, they should do it with a goal in mind. Whether that goal is a zoo overnight, a community service project, a camping trip, or an out-of-state destination, girls should add up an estimated cost and figure out just how many boxes or items they need to sell to make it happen. Girls can easily adapt our Troop Budget template for their goal if they’d like!
  • Once they’ve set their goal for the sale, it’s time to make a plan to reach it. Think of it like a road trip. You set your ultimate destination (your goal) and then you add a few stops along with way for food and/or gas as you drive toward your destination!  That means setting smaller goals with girls such as “during our Cookie Sale, we will sell 3,000 boxes during the Initial Order phase, another 2,000 during the Goal Getter phase, and participate in 4 booth sales averaging 70 boxes per booth sale.”
  • Remember to vary your selling methods. Girls can sell online, door-to-door, through email, at cookie booths… the opportunities are endless!  Each package sold is another step toward your girl’s dream.
  • Girl Scout Junior, Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador troops can opt to forego rewards to earn a higher percentage rate of their sale, increasing their troop proceeds.
  • Individual Girl Scouts who are not members of a troop can participate in our Product Sales Programs and earn cookie dough instead of monetary proceeds from the sale. Cookie dough can be used like a gift certificate to renew membership registration, to purchase items in our council shops when shopping in person, to pay for camp or event registration (use a paper registration form and submit your cookie dough with your form), or to help pay for a Girl Scout Destinations trip (contact Elizabeth Vessell at elizabethvessell@gswo.org for Destinations procedures).

Of course, there are many different fundraisers beyond our Product Sales Program that the girls can do.  All of the basic fundraising ideas are good (bake sales, babysitting, car washes, making something to sell), but we know that those are a little hard when you’re trying to raise a large sum of money. So here are some of our tips as you start planning additional ways to raise those funds!

  • Girls can create a presentation about what the girls are doing, why they are excited, what they’ll learn, and how they’ll use their new knowledge. This helps them share with others easily their plan and becomes a part of their fundraising pitch.
  • Plan a silent auction. Ask friends, family, people from school, church, etc. to donate items and come to a silent auction party. Girls can have some light refreshments, give their fundraising pitch, and then have people bid on the items, with all of the money going toward the project or trip.
  • Start a letter/email campaign. Girls can record a video of the presentation and send it out to family and friends asking for donations (or let everyone know that this would be the perfect holiday gift this year!).  In the letter include a project plan, a map of where the girls plan to go, an itinerary, a budget, etc.
  • All other fundraising events that are planned should always have her project information displayed.  Create a poster board or flier so people know what she’s working toward — even at cookie booths!

Need more ideas? Check out these fundraising tips from girls who’ve gone on Girl Scout Destinations.


Learning how to set financial goals and plan strategies to achieve those goals gives girls confidence, boosts financial literacy skills and, best of all, lifelong skills for pursuing their current and future dreams. So what are you waiting for? Start planning the next BIG adventure with your Girl Scout!