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Family Giving - The Campaign For Girls

Anytime is an important time for Girl Scout families to support Girl Scouts of Northern California.

 Costs per Girl

The fall sale, cookie program and donations help subsidize the Girl Scout experience for all girls.  The fees we charge for programs, camp, property rentals and items we sell in our shops do not raise enough income to cover our costs.  So we need to raise money elsewhere to fill the gap between what we can raise in fees and retail sales and what it takes to operate GSNorCal.  We rely on two main revenue sources to close the gap:  1) the fall sale and cookie program and 2) donations.  You can see below the total net cost per girl (based on 50,000 girl members).  In the 2014 cookies sale, the council will receive $2.96 for each box sold.  Based on the calculation below, it takes 104 boxes of cookies to cover the average cost per girl.   About 62% of girl members participate in the cookie program and the girls who participate sell an average of 145 boxes of cookies. 

What it takes to operate Girl Scouts in Northern California

for 50,000 girls and 30,000 adult members

Cost per girl

Member safety and support for volunteers:  Dollars spent to help ensure that volunteers working with girls are background screened, trained and can get their questions answered and receive support to identify safe vendors for Girl Scout activities and to submit Girl Scout activity insurance claims (in case a member is injured during a Girl Scout activity – the $15 annual national membership fee paid to GSUSA (our national organization) pays for the Girl Scout activity insurance)


Council-run Programs offered to a wide range of girls, including cookie program, enrichment programs (listed in the Program and Events Guide), Summer Camps and support for awards (Bronze, Silver, Gold) and programs provided to over 6,000 girls in under-resourced communities.


Support Infrastructure:  Administration, IT, website, communications, HR, Finance, risk management (insurance), governance


29 Properties.  Local program centers, retail shops, offices, camps


Fundraising costs


Total cost per girl (based on 50,000 girl members)


Family Giving - The Campaign For Girls

As discussed at the August / September SUMMIT meetings, 2013 is the final year of the Service Unit family giving bonus program.  Service Units will receive their 2013 family giving bonus checks in December. 

Why the change? What we’ve been doing isn’t working.  Gifts made through the Service Unit bonus program have declined 80% in 6 years from over $417,000 in 2008 to $85,000 in 2013.

What’s new?  We are encouraging families to give in one of two ways: 

  • Girl Scouts of Northern California Annual fund.  This November, all families of registered girls will receive an annual fund appeal in the mail. 
  • At registration.  Families may donate to GSNorCal at the time of on-line registration for membership, programs or camp. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I can’t afford to give.  That’s okay – we want Girl Scouts to be there for every girl.  That’s why we have financial aid, and it’s also why we ask families who can afford to give, to join us in our Campaign for Girls.
  • I already pay dues to my daughter’s troop.  Why am I also being asked to donate to council?  Your daughter’s Girl Scout experience and her troop are supported by our council – Girl Scouts of Northern California.  Council services include:  volunteer background screening and in person and on-line training for volunteers; web site and weekly communications to troop leaders; school year programs and summer camps, support for Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, and operation of 29 properties, including community–based program centers, retail shops (6 brick and mortar and on-line), offices and 12 camp properties. 
  • What about the $15 registration fee I pay for my daughter to join Girl Scouts?  Your daughter is becoming a member of Girl Scouts of the USA, and 100% of her membership fee stays with our national organization (located in New York).   You can make an online donation when you register and 100% of your donation (above the $15 membership fee) stays with GSNorCal. 
  • My daughter sells cookies; so why should I give too?  If your daughter participates in the fall sale or cookie program, thank you!   Your daughter is developing 5 skills (goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics) and is raising funds to help support her troop and Girl Scouts of Northern California.  Funds raised through the cookie program support about 58% of our annual budget.  We especially encourage families who choose to not participate in the cookie program, to give to our Annual Fund to support their daughter’s Girl Scout experience.
  • I just want to support the camp my daughter attends.  That’s fine! You can support GSNorCal’s Tents and Trails Fund at the DONATE section of the website, and if you want to restrict funds to a specific camp property, please contact our Development Department and they will explain how: 
  • May I spread my payments out over time?  Yes, you may sign up for monthly credit card payments.  
  • What other ways can I participate in the Family Campaign? We have many ways you can help:

    • Monthly / quarterly gifts via our secure web site (set it up once, you choose a schedule, and it makes giving easy!
    • Workplace campaigns (payroll deductions via work, United Way, CFC, or other campaign managers)
    • Matching gifts (to match your own donation)
    • Matching volunteer hours (an employer gift to match your time)
    • Online gift via our membership renewal site, powered by Personify
    • Stock shares (contact Stephanie Chew, Senior Director of Gifts and Campaigns, at, (510) 562-8470 ext. 1502, for more info)
    • Troop gift (girls can choose to designate a portion of their troop treasury)

Volunteer Family Giving Team – call for participants: 

Our staff team would like to work with interested volunteers to plan our next family giving campaign (first meeting in February 2014).  We estimate a commitment of three 1 hour meetings (by phone is fine) to get started. If you or a volunteer in your Service Unit is passionate about building a culture where “everyone gives,” please let us know, and we’ll be happy to add you to our volunteer family giving team:  helpdesk-FundDevelopment

 Troop leaders! Click here for tools to get your troop involved in family giving!

“I've seen firsthand what a positive influence Girl Scouting can have on the development of young women. Both of my daughters grew into impressive young ladies with self esteem and strong leadership qualities instilled by the Girl Scout experience. I know that my financial support enables us to extend Girl Scouting programs to areas that otherwise could not be possible and provide programs which would otherwise not be affordable."

- Woody Shackleton
Girl Scouts NorCal donor and Former Board President

Family Giving Partnership Tool Kit

If you are a troop leader or service unit volunteer, here are some ways that you can promote Family Giving to parents:

Gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please consult your tax advisor as individual situations vary.