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Top 5 Things I Wish I Knew For My First Girl Scout Cookie Season

Blog, February - Cookies
1. It’s Bigger Than Just Cookie Booths 

There are numerous ways to participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.  When you think about Girl Scout Cookies, you typically think about door-to-door sales or troops at supermarket entrances. But the Girl Scout Cookie Program has hit the 21st century and the possibilities are almost endless.  Girls can have a drive-thru cookie booth or even a virtual cookie booth where they sell to friends and family using social media (with their parent/guardian’s permission of course).  Girls can make a pitch to local businesses to ask if the owner would like to buy cookies for their staff, or even to local restaurants who want to use the cookies in recipes.  Girls can sell online and take payments using a credit card.  They can use their personalized Digital Cookie site to sell to friends and family all over the world or hold a stand-a-bout cookie booth right on their front lawn.  Here is a list of ways to participate.

2. Cookie Season Phases 
Photo of Drive-Thru Cookie Booth

There are 3 phases of the Girl Scout Cookie season at GSSC:

  • The first phase begins in late December and is called the Initial Sale Phase.  During this phase, girls begin taking orders, either in person with their order card and/or online using the Digital Cookie app. Customers can place orders online to be shipped to their homes from the bakery, or they can opt for Girl Delivery.  For Girl Delivery, and for all the orders from the order card, the cookies are sent to your local Service Unit for a specific delivery day (you will get more information on this date from your Service Unit Cookie Manager).  There are additional rewards that can only be earned during the initial sale phase, and they are listed at the top of the order card.  The initial sale phase ends at the end of January.  And it’s important to note that you may need to round down when you place your final initial sale order for your troop.  The system will automatically organize your troop’s order into full cases.  There are 12 boxes in a case for all flavors.  So, if the total boxes for Thin Mints for your troop is 27, you will automatically receive 3 cases on your delivery (36 boxes).  If you don’t want the extra boxes, you need to change your order to 24 boxes and then come pick up your “Catch Up” order of 3 Thin Mints boxes from the local Cupboard when it opens.  Now someone always wants Thin Mints, and you have time to sell the rest whether you do it at a booth sale or stand-a-bout or just to the many, many people who will ask you for cookies now that they know you have them.  But if it is a different flavor, like the gluten-free Toffee-Tastics, you might want to round down. You can also swap flavors at the cupboards if you don’t get what you need.
  • This leads us to the second phase, the Catch-Up Phase.  The time after the initial sale is the Catch-Up phase.  Orders needed during this part of the phase are picked up at your local cupboard.  There are 3 Cookie Cupboards in Suffolk County.  You will make an appointment and place your catch-up orders online through eBudde or using the eBudde app. For a complete list of instructions and helpful videos, check here.  Catch-ups can be picked up until the end of the sale in late April. 
  • The Booth Sale phase occurs at the same time as the catch-up phase, but you’ll pick up your orders in a slightly different way.  For a booth sale, you will need to talk to your Service Unit Cookie Manager and get permission from the company or manager of the property where you want to have the booth.  The booths are broken down by location and service unit, and different service units have different rules for booking, so check with your SUCM before proceeding. Once you have permission from both your SU and the place you are holding the booth, you will need to book your booth with GSSC.  There are also booths that are assigned by the council.  These booths may include locations that are national partners, railroads, and malls. They are typically given to the SU closest to the location, but you will need to contact the council to arrange them (or they may contact you for help).  You can schedule an appointment online to pick up your product from a local cupboard. A normal booth comes with 5 cases Thin Mints, 5 cases of Samoas, 3 cases of Trefoils, 3 cases of Tagalongs, 3 cases of Do-Si-Dos, 1 lemon, 1 S’mores, 1 toffee. Adventurefuls will not be offered at this time.   If you’d like more cookies for your booth because you think it will be a very busy day, you can ask for more when you come to pick up your cookies at the cupboard.  You must pick up and return any unsold boxes to the same cupboard. Returns need to be made by the Wednesday after your booth is held. (If you need more time, call the Product Sales department, and they will mark it on your paperwork). 
3. Marketing Made Easy 

You can use social media to bring awareness to your troop’s cookie sale, and parents and girls over 13+ can post their digital cookie link to their page. We have tons of graphics that can be used to market to customers. We also have recipes that you can print out and share with customers, and baking videos that you can share online.  Some of our top sellers print out recipes and give them to customers who buy 3 or more boxes at a time.  You can print out business cards with your Girl Scout’s personalized Digital Cookie link or make labels to attach to boxes that have the link so people can order more when they run out. Some Girl Scouts use thank you cards with their Digital Cookie link for the same reason. Make sure you follow Safety Rules and the Internet Safety Guidelines. But if your Girl Scout can dream it, we probably have a tool to help her get there. 

4. Stay Organized and Keep a Paper Trail 
Cookie Booth with Troop and Volunteer

We all have so many things going on at the same time and it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially with 300 boxes of cookies in your garage or your living room...Every troop is given an Initial Sale tracking sheet that you can use to tally up the order cards for Initial Sale. But you can use this form for catch-ups too. If your troop has a big goal this year, or your Girl Scout wants to be a Cookie All-Star there will be a lot of cookies coming and going. So, it’s best to use tools to keep track. Make sure you have a meeting for parents/caregivers go they know the procedures. Read the Cookie Program Family Meeting Guides for Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. Pick one day that you will go to the cupboard (as needed), and parents will know they need to get their catch-up orders to you by a certain time. Use receipts when you collect money and give products.  It may seem like a pain now, but you will be thankful for the paper trail at the end of the sale.  

5. You are Not Alone

Ask the parents/caregivers of your Girl Scouts for help whenever possible.  You can even add them to eBudde as volunteers that can pick up cookies for you. Your Service Unit Cookie Chair has seen it all before and can help you when you need it. And the Product Sales Department is here to help you. They have helpful videos to get you started, including a virtual training available on gsLearn.  There are videos on our website and our YouTube page, plus mini in-time training videos are posted to social media at different points of the cookie season. Cookie Rookie training is held by the head of the department Kelly Drechsler, and is available every year, both online and in-person. And don’t miss our Cookie Chats with Kelly for help when you need it most. Plus, you can call or email if you need assistance. Email to get started.