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Girl Scout Cookie Program and Fall Product Program

Learning to think like an entrepreneur? Developing business smarts? Getting to know customers and building lasting relationships? There’s so much more to that box of Thin Mints®.

Whether they participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program or the Girl Scout Fall Product Program (or both!), everything your Girl Scouts learn prepares them 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 and spark their sense of wonder.

Five Essential Skills

Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls as young as five develop these 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.  

But the exciting skill building isn’t just tied to the cookies themselves! Girls of all Girl Scout levels can continue honing their entrepreneurial skills by earning the Cookie Business badges, Cookie Entrepreneur Family pin, and the Financial Literacy badges year over year.

Before your cookie bosses open shop, be sure to check out these helpful troop leader 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.
  • Plan activities to help her earn cookie pins and badges
  • Understand just how much your girls are capable of by grade level and how their entrepreneurial skills progress
Girl Scout Cookie History

What started with Girl Scouts selling home-baked cookies to raise money grew into enlisting professional bakers in 1936 to handle the growing demand—and the rest is history. Explore Girl Scout Cookie History to find out how cookies have helped build generations of female entrepreneurs and leaders who make the world a better place. 

Where Cookie Proceeds Go

After paying for the cost of cookies and materials, local councils use Girl Scout Cookie proceeds to help 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.

Your council will provide a breakdown of how cookie program proceeds support Girl Scout activities locally. Please share this information with girls and their families so everyone understands that product program sales make it possible for your Girl Scout council to serve girls.

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.

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 (April 2020), page 21

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 of your council’s website to find the answers you need as well as information about 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. 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. Each provides online tools and activities for girls to download. Magazine selection and sales may take place online—check with your council for more details.

Your Role

You play an exciting role in giving your girls opportunities to practice the five skills as they learn how to think like entrepreneurs in a girl-led setting. Some of the things you’ll do include: 

Not only can girls sell individually, both in person and with 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 booths and ensure they are situated in safe and appropriate locations for girls

As your Girl Scouts grow, your role will evolve from a hands-on one to providing oversight and support where needed. No matter your girls’ 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 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 orientation or 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 product program manager when you‘re feeling stuck, or you can build a cookie team to provide the support your troop needs. 

Product Program Safety

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 troop leader resources section of girlscoutcookies.org and in Safety Activity Checkpoints.

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: 

  • Girl Scouts of the USA 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, the troop is divided into teams of two. Each Girl Scout 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 and facilitated within council jurisdiction, and participants must follow all council guidelines with regard to setting up, running, and taking down a booth.

Please check your local COVID-19 guidelines for any restrictions on booth locations and other safety considerations, or consider a virtual cookie booth  or virtual cookie rally if it makes sense for your troop. 

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 and to have their sales pitch ready for interested customers. 

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. 
  • 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 your baker’s Digital Cookie system with the new details. All scheduled booths are available on the Cookie Finder App (IOS or  Android). 
  • Certain locations may be inappropriate for young girls based on the standards of your local community, may negatively impact the cookie program experience for girls, and/or may negatively impact our brand in your community. For additional clarity, girls should not sell in or in front of establishments that they themselves cannot legally patronize.  
  • 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 by discouraging cookie booth locations at such locations.  

GS-TOP Cookie Booth Guidelines

When setting up booth sales, it’s important that:

  • At least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers present at a booth sale who are registered adults and must be screened by your council before volunteering. Adult volunteers must be at least 18 years old.  One adult must be a female.
  • At a cookie booth only Girl Scout Cookies no other fundraisers are allowed to be combined with the cookie program this includes but not limited to school fundraisers, sports teams or any other youth organization.
  • Clover Credit card swipers are only allowed to be used for Girl Scout fall product and the cookie programs.
  • The cookie sale is a girl experience; adults are to not host cookie booths without girls present.
  • Girls and volunteers do not confront or engage an irate customer, but call local authorities for assistance
  • We encourage volunteers to use their best judgement in setting up cookie booths in locations that will be open, accessible, and safe for all girls and potential customers.
  • Certain locations may be inappropriate for young girls based on the standards of your local community, may negatively impact the cookie program experience for girls, and/or may negatively impact our brand in the community.
  • For additional clarity, girls should not sell in or in front of establishments that they themselves cannot legally patronize.
  • 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 by discouraging cookie booth locations at such locations.
  • Walmart, Sam’s Club, Jo Ann’s, Dunkin Donuts are national sponsors that will be in the booth scheduler.  Other locations will vary by geographic area which may include but limited to:  Tom Thumb, Albertsons, Kroger, United Foods, Market Street, Lowe’s, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop and other locations determined by the area product sales department.

Daddy and Daughter Booths

  • Daddy and daughter booths are permitted at non council sponsored booths.
  • There must be an adult with a Girl Scout at all times.
  • A father can be present at booths so long as the only girls present are their daughters.
  • If one of the daughters chooses to bring a friend then there would need to be a second approved adult present that is female.
  • Please enter in the booth so that it comes up as an option for the booth locator app.
  • We are spending additional marketing money this year in order to drive people to the cookie booths so we wouldn’t want your booth to miss out on that additional customer base.
  • Under “store name” in Smart Cookies please type the name of your location and add “daddy daughter booth”.

Mommy and Daughter Booths

  • Mommy and daughter booths are permitted at non council sponsored booths.
  • There must be an adult with a Girl Scout at all times.  
  • Please enter in the booth so that it comes up as an option for the booth locator app.
  • We are spending additional marketing money this year in order to drive people to the cookie booths so we wouldn’t want your booth to miss out on that additional customer base.
  • Under “store name” in Smart Cookies please type the name of your location and add “mother daughter booth”.

Booths at bar and grills

  • So long as the girl can enter the establishment without someone 18 years and older they will be permitted to have a booth there.
  • Council recommends however that the booth shut down at 6 PM as the intention of the patrons could change from more of a dining experience to increased alcohol consumption.

Troops may not book troop/private booths until December 1.

  • Once you’ve obtained council approval, check out the booth site after December 1st, and before the day 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. In addition, review the Girl Scout Cookie/Council-Sponsored Product Program Safety Activity Checkpoints, as well as Safety section to make sure you and the girls are as prepared as possible.
  • This means that adults cannot host cookie booths without girls present.

Troops are to check in with the customer service desk  and thank the business for allowing them to sell there.

  • Follow individual store guidelines as to where to set up, and how to approach customers
  • As a Girl Scout when we are done with our booth, we take all of trash which includes empty boxes with us.

If your troop is unable to follow the booth guidance above and must cancel a booth location do it as soon as possible.

  • Release the booth to allow other troops to fill in the spot in Smart Cookies.
  • Cancellation also removes the booth from the national Girl Scouts booth locator as a possible sight for the customers.
  • If customers contact the council office that no one was the booth location at the assigned time, the troop will be contacted.
  • If these procedures are not followed your troop is in danger of losing all council/area booth locations that have been booked.

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 and to have their sales pitch ready for interested customers.
  • Encouraging girls to wear their Girl Scout uniform.
  • Reporting any suspicious people in the area to the local security.

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.

Please contact your local Product Program area coordinator to report any issues. 

Adult at the location must complete the Accident/Incident Report and send to the council within 48 hours.

Cookie Donation Programs

Cookies also help girls make a big impact in their community! Your council may have an established cookie donation program where customers can purchase cookies that will be donated to an organization by your council. 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. 

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 the approval from other council jurisdictions.  
  • Donated products cannot be resold and must be used in a responsible and ethical way. 
  • Donated products are 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 Sellers in the Media

Focusing on entrepreneurial outcomes has always been the focus of the Girl Scout Cookie Program. 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 sellers 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 Scout councils should not reference such girls as “top sellers” in the media. Doing so detracts from the essence of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which 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. 

 

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