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August 27, 2021

How Revenue is Spent at the Girl Scouts

by Anne Paddock

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (Girl Scouts) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) (3) based in New York, NY. With more than 1.7 million girl members and about 700,000 volunteers the Girl Scouts works to build “courage, confidence, and character” in young girls.

There are 29 independent voting members (board members) of the governing body (board). 26 of the 29 (90%) are female while 3 of the 29 (10%) are male.

In 2020, the Girl Scouts reported total revenue of $112 million (compare to $122 million in 2019) which came from:

  • $50 million:  Membership Dues
  • $28 million:  Investment Income, Royalties, Gains on sales of assets
  • $17 million:  Sale of Inventory
  • $ 9 million:  Events, Software, Camp
  • $ 8 million:  Contributions, Gifts, and Grants

It is important to note the Girl Scouts had $188 million in net assets at the beginning of the year.  In April, 2020 the Girl Scouts received $7.3 million as a payroll protection loan, which was accounted for as deferred revenue but will be reclassified as grant revenue when the conditions for the loan have been met and the loan forgiven.  The question begs:  How does a non-profit with nearly $200 million in net assets get a $7 million loan from the government that will be forgiven? The organization could clearly absorb the costs of keeping their employees (as they were also able to pay for first class or charter travel and make gross up payments and provide tax indemnifications).

Expenses totaled $110 million (not including $12 million in depreciation) and can be categorized as follows:

  • $59 million (53% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $23 million (20% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $18 million (16% of revenue):  Fees for Services (consult, temp staff, fundraisers, etc)
  • $ 3 million (2% of revenue):  Grants (primarily to related Girl Scout organizations)
  • $ 2 million (2% of revenue):  Advertising and Promotion
  • $ 2 million (2% of revenue):  Travel
  • $ 2 million (2% of revenue):  Other Expneses
  • $ 1 million (1% of revenue):  Payments to Affiliates

As illustrated above, compensation is the largest expense.  558 employees received $59 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $106,000, although only 170 employees received more than $100,000.  The most highly compensate employee was Sylvia Acevedo, CEO who received $732,132 and who departed in August, 2020.

So, to answer the question of how revenue is spent, note the following:  Every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

 $100:  Revenue

-$ 53:  Compensation

-$ 20:  Office-Related Expenses

-$ 16:  Fees for Services (consultants, temp staff, fundraisers, etc)

-$  6:  Advertising, Travel, and Other Expenses

-$ 95: Subtotal Expenses:  Comp, Office, Fees, Advertising, Travel, Other

 $    5:  Revenue Remaining

-$  2:  Grants

-$  1:  Payments to Affiliates

-$  3:  Subtotal:  Grants and Payments to Affiliates

 $   2:  Revenue Remaining:  To General Fund

As illustrated above, the Girl Scouts spent $95 out of every $100 on organization expenses – primarily compensation for the employees, office-related expenses, and fees for services.  $3 out of every $100 was spent on grants (primarily to affiliates) and payments to affiliates.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019 for the year ending Sept 30, 2020), click here.

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