How to Raise Money To Travel With Your Girl Scout Troop

This post is part of the  “Ask a Leader Advice” series. I get many leaders writing me asking me questions and help every month. This post will answer your question with tips and suggestions from my perspective and often the perspective of other leaders who have shared with me how they have done things with their troop.  I also encourage you to add your advice in the comments below if you have experience with the question.

LEADER’S QUESTION: “How to Raise Money To Travel With Your Girl Scout Troop?” 

Advice from one leader to another….

This is one question I get asked often is “How to raise money to travel with my Girl Scout troop?” If you know my back story you know I was a leader for 14 years and a Girl Scout myself for 12 and for all those years I was involved with a multi-level troop. So I have had the opportunity to try many different fundraising ideas not only for travel but to earn money to use for the big awards or to donate things for service projects.

Before I jump in, I will start by saying fundraisers are a touchy subject with Girl Scouts, and as we all know each council handles them differently. So before pursuing any of the following ideas please check with your council. I am basing my ideas on what I know my council allowed. 
  • Yard Sale – Depending on your Girls ages a Yard sale is a lot of work but can bring in a lot of profit, and when your girls are done donate whats left to another organization who wants to have a yard sale.
  • Car wash – If you choose the right location you can bring in a good profit from this type of fundraiser. If you wanted to add a bake sale and sell water at the car wash as well people can snack while they wait for their cars.
  • Cookies in a jar during the holiday season – These were a big seller – the girls sold them up front before making them and then got together and purchased the material and put together the orders.
  • Collecting Cans, Old Ink, or Cell phones – Believe it or not after 3 months of collecting, putting signs up in local businesses to get old ink and cell phones, and asking all the troops in service unit to collect cans my girls earned over $200 dollars toward their bronze award. After collecting all the cans we took the girls to a recycling facility they got to take a tour and drop off their cans for recycling.  For the ink we used a company called empty4cash – click here to learn more
  • Host a Dog Wash – This is a unique fun way to earn some cash. You can bring dog treats to give pets after wash.  Maybe also include special deals for families with more than one pet.
  • Host a Community Meal – You can get every Girl Scout level involved in this and can even work toward their cooking badge while earning money. Ideas are to have a chili cook-offs, spaghetti supper or pancake breakfasts. You could also consider trying a unique meal if you have parents with cooking skills try a new cooking adventure such as Chinese or traditional Bolivian cuisine.
Few other helpful tips for fundraising that I have shared on the blog in past:

I personally do not have all the answers on how to earn enough money to go on bigger trips with your girls so I asked another leader, this is one response from a leader named Pamela Fleming who has a troop of girls who have been together since kindergarten she shared with me her story of how her girls who are now in 10th grade have went on a number of trips and plan to go on a even bigger one this summer.

Pamela writes…. “My girls have been together since kindergarten.  This year they are all in 10th grade.  It is sometimes difficult to keep them interested in Girl Scouts.  For my girls, I have found that travel is the best way to keep them engaged.

In 2015, we visited Savannah for six days.  This July, we are going to London and Paris and including a visit to Pax Lodge and Disneyland Paris.

How are we paying for this travel? 

First, we participate in the Fall Product Sale and of course cookie sales.  However, that is not enough.  I do not want to burden the parents with a lot of bills for travel.  Therefore, we hold Girl Scout Par-Teas.  We do them in March and call it a Girl Scout Birthday Par-Tea and do another one in the fall and call it a Founders Day Par-Tea.

We have food, crafts, and table games.  We also offer portraits or a photo booth (done with my iPad and a photo strip printer).  This last time, we had a professional face painter and the cost was $2 per face.  The parents of the girls donate food and the funds come from ticket sales and the portraits/photo booth.

They have been very successful and we vary the theme.  Last time it was dress fancy.  So that the person running the photo booth or portraits do not have to handle money, I have the girls and parents buy tickets from the cashier and use that to pay for what they are wanting to do.  For the portraits, they are uploaded to Shutterfly and then the participants are given a private link to view the photos and they can purchase prints from Shutterfly or download them to their device.  It keeps the costs down for us and makes it easy to deliver the pictures.”


Need More Inspiration?

For over 100 ideas that could get your creative juices flowing checkout this book from Richard Black called The Fundraiser Guru: 100 All New Fundraising Ideas while some ideas wont work for Girl Scout Troops there are lots of ideas to get your girls thinking about Fundraiser they can do as group.