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Girl Scout Cookie Program and Fall Product Program

The Girl Scout Cookie Program and the Girl Scout fall product program are foundational experiences during which girls learn to think like entrepreneurs and to develop vital business skills. As the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world, the Girl Scout Cookie Program equips girls with the business smarts they need to take on the world. Plus, Girl Scout Cookie proceeds stay local in your community to power amazing year-round experiences—experiences that broaden their worlds, teach them essential skills, and launch them into a lifetime of leadership. 

Teaching Essential Skills for a Lifetime of Leadership

Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls  as young as five develop  thes e five essential skills that will help them be successful today and throughout their lives:  

  • Goal setting: Girls learn to create a plan to reach their goals.  
  • Decision making: Girls learn to make decisions on their own and as a team.  
  • Money management: Girls learn to create a budget and handle money.  
  • People skills: Girls find their voice and up their confidence through customer interactions that build relationships. 
  • Business ethics: Girls learn to act responsibly and honestly, both in business and in life.  

Check out our 5 Skills for Girls Toolkit to see how you can foster these keys to success with your troop. 

But the exciting skill building isn’t just tied to the cookies themselves! Girls continue to hone their entrepreneurial skills and go-getting spirit by earning  Cookie Business badges and Financial Literacy badges. 

Before your cookie bosses open shop, be sure to check out these helpful resources that will empower you to:

  • Manage your troop’s funds.
  • Learn how girls participate in money earning. 
  • Discover how your troop can reach its financial goals. 
  • Understand just how much your girls are capable of by grade level and how their entrepreneurial skills progress. 
A Sweet Tradition

It has been decades since Girl Scouts began selling home-baked cookies to raise money. The idea was so popular that in 1936 Girl Scouts enlisted bakers to handle the growing demand—and the rest is history. Explore Girl Scout Cookie History  to find out how cookies have bolstered generations of girls who make the world a better place. 

Where Cookie Proceeds Go

After paying for the cost of cookies and materials, Girl Scout Cookie proceeds stay local and help councils provide Girl Scout programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), the outdoors, life skills, entrepreneurship, and more—in camps, through leadership training, and multiple other ways. A portion of the proceeds is directly managed by girls, and it’s up to them to decide how to invest their troop’s share of the earnings. Check out the Check out “Where the Cookie Money Goes” to learn more.

Cookie Program proceeds make it possible for GSCO to serve girls. 100% of the cookie program proceeds stay in Colorado to provide the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to girls in our communities. Cookie program council proceeds provide membership financial assistance when needed and opportunity grants for girls to attend GSCO events, camps, and council-wide girl programs, as well as funding for events, camps and council-wide programs. The only portion of the $4 or $5 that doesn’t stay in Colorado, is what we pay to the bakery to make the cookies.

Troop members share in the proceeds from a successful product program; proceeds aren’t distributed to individual girl members. Girls, however, may be eligible for rewards and credits that they put toward council-sponsored camps, programs, and Girl Scout swag. The council plan for rewards applies equally to all girls participating in the product program activity. Visit the cookie section of  your council website for more information about individual rewards and troop proceeds locally.  To learn more about what girls can do with cookie credits, visit the Cookie Credit FAQ page on our website.

The Girl Scout Blue Book of Basic Documents specifies that: 

“All money and other assets, including property, that are raised, earned, or otherwise received in the name of and for the benefit of Girl Scouting must be held and authorized by a Girl Scout council or Girl Scouts of the USA. Such money and other assets must be used for the purposes of Girl Scouting.” 
 —“Ownership of Assets,” Blue Book of Basic Documents (February 2019), page 22

Making s’mores under the stars, creating a lasting impact on your community, or ordering supplies for an eye-opening STEM project—there are limitless ways to put troop proceeds toward dynamic Girl Scout experiences! There are a few things, however, that don’t qualify for “purposes of Girl Scouting,” for instance, using troop proceeds to purchase memberships in or uniforms for another organization.  We encourage all councils to remind their volunteers of this policy in order to protect the all-girl environment and to avoid diversion of Girl Scout funds.

Your Council’s Role

When you are set up for success, you are better able to set up your girls for success! That’s why every year, your council provides trainings, guidelines, and procedures for conducting the Girl Scout Cookie Program and fall product program and determines how the proceeds and product rewards system will be managed. Check the  cookie section to find the answers you need as well as local trainings and resources. 

Each council also selects the vendors of its choice to provide the products for their product programs. Two commercial bakers are licensed by GSUSA to produce Girl Scout Cookies: Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers. Girl Scouts of Colorado works with Little Brownie Bakers. For additional information on cookie varieties, including nutritional details, visit the Meet the Cookies section on girlscoutcookies.org. 

Councils also work with vendors to offer magazine subscriptions, nut and candy products, and more for the fall product program. These companies are Ashdon FarmsTrophy NutQSP/GAO and M2 Media group. Girl Scouts of Colorado works with M2 Media Groups and Trophy Nut. M2 provides online tools for girls and adults to use and activities for girls to download. Nut, candy and magazine selection take place online and in-person. Visit the Fall Product Page to see product information, program guides and additional resources.

Your Role

You play an exciting role in giving your girls opportunities to practice the five skills in a girl-led, cooperative setting. Some of the things you’ll do include: 

  • Get girls excited about the opportunities to support her troop (but allowing her participation to be voluntary).
  • Support both competitive and apprehensive cookie bosses, helping all your girls set meaningful goals for themselves. 
  • Fostering partnerships with each girl’s family to ensure cookie season success, whatever that may look like for her. Check out the Creating Cookie Success and Coaching Your Budding Businesswoman resources that will help you build a positive partnership with girls and families. 

Not only can girls sell individually, both in-person and using the online tools provided by each vendor, they can also participate in group booth sales during product programs. Your local council has additional guidance and processes to market and ensure every booth is in a safe and appropriate location for girls

As your girls grow, your role will evolve from a hands-on one to providing oversight and support where needed. No matter their ages, remember that volunteers and parents/caregivers do not sell the product. Your role is to encourage your girls and let their entrepreneurial spirit soar. Learning by doing is exactly how your girls develop the business savvy and communication skills that will empower them to reach any goals they set for themselves.

Another critical task for each troop is to establish a clear accounting system for all proceeds and product during the programs. It's up to you to make sure that troop money is spent wisely, that excellent records are kept (remember to keep copies of all receipts in a binder or folder), and that all product is tracked. For older girls, your job is to oversee their work as they learn to keep impeccable records. Be sure to attend product program training so you are aware of the systems and helpful tools available.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program and the fall product program can be exhilarating and busy times during the troop year, but you’re never alone in your efforts! You can reach out to your service unit cookie manager (SUCM) or fall product manager (SUFPM) manager when you‘re feeling stuck, and you can build a cookie team to provide the support your troop needs. Each troop will have one Troop Cookie Manager and a Fall Product Manager as the product program lead, but you can recruit other adults to support the girls and to help you manage the program. You can also reach out to GSCO product program staff for support.

Product Program Safety
Girl safety is the top priority while selling Girl Scout Cookies and other products. Volunteers, families, and girls should be familiar with and practice the safety guidelines outlined in local program resources as well as those available in the safety section of girlscoutcookies.org.

Find more information and support on reporting incidents that happen during the product programs under the accident/illness reporting section of Volunteer Essentials.

Selling Cookies Online

Will your troop use the Digital Cookie® platform to manage its cookie business? Check the specific guidelines provided by each cookie vendor before participating. Before girls use their Digital Cookie or Smart Cookie site, they should partner with their families to learn how to safely run their business online.

A few more online safety practices to keep in mind:

  •  The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a girl-led program, and online marketing and sales efforts should always be led by a girl, with the supervision of her parent or caregiver.
  •  Girls engaging in online sales and marketing must review and apply the Digital Marketing Tips for Cookie Entrepreneurs and Families .
  • Girls, volunteers, and parents must review and adhere to the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge, the Digital Cookie Pledge , the Supplemental Safety Tips for Online Marketing , and Girl Scouts’ Safety Activity Checkpoints for Computer and Internet Use and Cookie and Product Sales (with the exception that they may share beyond friends and family).
  • Girl sales links should never be posted to resale sites (Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc.).
  • Girls must adhere to all terms and conditions on Digital Cookie and Smart Cookie platforms. For copies of terms and conditions, please contact GSUSA, ABC, Little Brownie, or M2 as needed.
  • GSUSA reserves the right to remove or disable the link for any reason including violation of guidance, inventory fulfillment issues, safety issues, or if sales and marketing activity goes viral and otherwise creates unanticipated disruption.

Additionally, families, girls, and volunteers should contact and collaborate with their councils and GSUSA in advance on any national news media opportunities tied to girls’ online marketing and sales efforts.

The Buddy System
Using the buddy system, girls are divided into teams of two. Each girl is responsible for staying with her buddy at all times, warning her buddy of danger, giving her buddy immediate assistance if safe to do so, and seeking help if needed. Girls are encouraged to stay near the group or buddy with another team of two so that in the event someone is injured, one person cares for the patient while two others seek help.

Preparing for Your Girl Scout Cookie Booth

Cookie booths—that is, cookie pop-up sales in areas with lots of foot traffic—are a fun way for girls to connect with their community and practice their sales pitch with new customers. Booth locations must be approved by councils, facilitated within council jurisdiction, and participants must follow all council guidelines with regard to setting up, running, and taking down a booth. 

Girl Scouts of Colorado offers Council Sponsored booth sites and GSCO encourages Girl Scouts to use their creative, entrepreneurial spirit by holding “My Sales” at unique community locations and area small businesses. Detailed information about both Council Sponsored and My Sales booths can be found in the cookie product program guides. You can also connect with your service unit cookie manager with questions, or contact GSCO customer care to speak with a product program specialist at 1- 877-404-5708 or email inquiry@gscolorado.org.

Create a great cookie booth experience for your girls by: 

  • Using your best judgment in setting up cookie booths in locations that will be open, accessible, and safe for all girls and potential customers.  
  • Choosing a high traffic area—this could be your local supermarket, mall, or park—where you’ll maximize the number of visitors to your booth.  
  • Checking out your booth site ahead of the sale. Talk to business owners in the area so they’ll know what to expect. Find out what security measures are in place—these may include lights for evening sales and whether a security camera watches the booth area—and where the nearest bathrooms are located. 
  • Respecting the surrounding businesses by making sure your booth isn’t blocking a store entrance or exit. 
  • Encouraging your girls to unleash their creativity—and work on their advertising skills—to make colorful signs and booth decorations that potential customers can’t resist! Remind girls to be polite, have their sales pitch ready for interested customers, and to say thank you. 

And keep in mind: 

  • A minimum of two volunteers (at least one of whom is a registered Girl Scout volunteer with the required background check) and one girl should be present at the booth at all times. With two or more volunteers, you’ll have adequate booth coverage if the girls need to be accompanied to the restroom. 
  • Individual girls may have a booth with a parent/caregiver. This parent/caregiver does not need to be a registered volunteer.  
  • If your Daisies are still learning how to make correct change, help them handle money as needed. But remember that girls make all sales at the booth! 
  • Changing your cookie booth hours or location? Keep your customers in the loop and update eBudde with the new details. All scheduled booths are available on the Cookie Finder App (IOS or Android).
  • Girl Scouts of Colorado encourages girls and caregivers to work with family, friends, and local businesses to uncover new selling opportunities and increase their cookie-selling success. These sites must provide a safe and secure location for the girls and cannot conflict with a Council Sponsored Booth site or any other My Sales sites. All My Sales sites must be approved by the manager of the location and the Service Unit Cookie Manager. 
  • Additionally, with respect to marijuana dispensaries, we have been steadfastly combating the unauthorized uses of the Girl Scout trademark by the cannabis community, which has been marketing—without our authorization—certain cannabis products under our youth-appealing brand. We are continuing to aggressively fight these unauthorized uses of the Girl Scout brand and hope that our councils and volunteers will join Girl Scouts of the USA’s efforts. Girl Scouts of Colorado does not prohibit troops from selling in front of adult oriented business nor do we encourage it. We trust caregivers and troop leaders to make appropriate choices with the safety of girls and the image of Girl Scouting in mind.

For more tips to make your booth a success, check out our Cookie Booth Essentials. For additional information about setting up a booth and safety and security suggestions, consult your council guidelines.

Do you have other concerns about booths, media, or safety? Submit questions and concerns on the Cookie Action Report. For emergency situations or to report a incident related to cookie sales, contact your volunteer support specialist, product program specialist or contact GSCO customer care at 877-404-5708 or email inquiry@gscolorado.org.

Cookie Donation Programs

Cookies also help girls make a big impact in their community! GSCO has two cookie donation programs – Hometown Heroes and Gifts of Caring - where customers can purchase cookies that will be donated to an organization or group by the troop or by GSCO. Cookie donations are not only a great talking point for girls to share with their customers—they’re also a thoughtful way to show girls how cookies can help them give back. It gives girls an opportunity to learn about and practice philanthropy and community service through the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

With the Hometown Heroes (HTH) Program customers who do not want to buy cookies for themselves may want to purchase HTH packages to give to others while supporting Girl Scouts at the same time. Girls/troops choose a group or organization to receive donated cookies. Recipients can be “heroes” in the community such as various nonprofit organizations, like food banks and shelters or they may be firefighters, police officers, or local military groups. Troops should contact the selected organizations or group to get their approval prior to collecting HTH cookie donations.

With the Gift of Caring donation option, customers can purchase virtual packages of cookies which GSCO will deliver to the military, both local and overseas, and to nonprofit organizations on behalf of Girl Scouts. Girls collect the money for the donated packages, but do not physically take possession of the cookies. With cookie donations, remember that:

  • All cookie donation programs must be approved by your council.
  • Donated cookies must stay within the council jurisdiction unless your council has approval from other council jurisdictions. 
  • Donated products cannot be resold and must be used in a responsible and ethical way.
  • Donated products must be used in a way that does not undermine the work of councils or jeopardize the integrity of the Girl Scout brand. 

 

Handling Product Complaints

Girl Scout Cookies are well loved and for good reason—it has always been the practice of Girl Scout councils and the bakers to guarantee customer satisfaction with their delicious cookies. If a customer is not satisfied with the quality of their cookies for some reason, they can contact the baker via the phone number printed on the side of the cookie package.

Troops should notify their council if they are aware of any customer dissatisfaction.

Recognizing Cookie Program Participants in the Media

The Girl Scout Cookie Program has always been about and focused on the program outcomes through which girls learn important entrepreneurial and life skills and invest their earnings to positively affect their local communities. The cookie program has never been about and does not focus on individual girls’ sales results. 

  • There are many impressive cookie bosses throughout the United States, and the Girl Scout organization will continue to recognize dynamic cookie program participants for various achievements tied to the Girl Scout Cookie Program.  
  • Girl Scouts of the USA does not currently track the top seller(s) of Girl Scout Cookies on a national level and does not identify a specific Girl Scout as the number one or “record-breaking” national cookie seller. 
  • Girl Scouts of Colorado recognizes the efforts of “Top Achievers” around the state but also highlights the experiences and accomplishments of all girls participating. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is based on offering girls important experiences in entrepreneurship, business, and finance from a young age as well as providing girls and local Girl Scout councils with the funds necessary to power amazing experiences and opportunities for Girl Scouts year-round. GSCO strives to support girls experiences and efforts in a variety of ways.