Guides, Webinars, and FAQs
- Cookie Program
- Nuts & Magazines
Cookie VIP eTraining
Cookie Program Guides + Webinars
Frequently Asked Program Questions
Troop Guide (large file, may take a few minutes to download)
Boothing Webinar | Boothing Webinar Slides
Cookie Delivery and Cookie Cupboards Webinar
Troop Cookie Chair Training PDF
Troop eBudde Training Guide
Service Unit eBudde Training Guide
Cookie Club Instructions for Troops
Cookie Club Instructions for Girls
Cookie Club Overview Video - coming soon
Starting Inventory Worksheet | Starting Inventory Order Help Guide
Determining and Placing Your Starting Inventory Order
Scheduling Booths in eBudde
Cookie Rookie - coming soon
Cookie Captain Training
Cookie Captain Best Practices
Cookie Captain Notebook
Cookie Captain Promotional Flier - coming soon
Cookie Captain Step-by-Step Guide
Safety Activity Checkpoints
Juliettes and the Cookie Program
Safety Activity Checkpoints go hand in hand with Volunteer Essentials. The checkpoints help you ensure the safety of your girls as you do activities throughout your Girl Scout adventure, like the product programs. Download the Safety Activity Checkpoints for all activities, here.
Why should girls participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program?
Selling cookies teaches goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—aspects essential to leadership, to success, and to life. Plus, it provides a dynamic way for girls and troops to raise funds for the exciting programs, projects, and trips that they dream up!
What is the deadline to sign up to sell cookies for 2016 and how can my girl or troop get started with the cookie program?
Girls and troops can sign up to sell cookies, and the earlier you start, the better! Troops need time to be trained in order to handle the policies and procedures of the cookie program. Here's how to being participating:
- Make sure you are a registered Girl Scout for the 2015-16 membership year (log into eBiz to check your status)
- Families: tell your troop leader or service unit manager that your girl(s) wants to sell cookies; Troop leaders: tell your service unit (SU) cookie program chair or SU manager your troop wants to participate
- If you are a late starter, we can help get you up to speed. Reach out to your local service unit cookie program chair, or call 213-213-0123.
Where do I send people who are looking for cookies?
- The public can go to www.girlscoutcookies.org to find the closest Girl Scout Cookie booth. They can also download the “Girl Scout Cookie Finder” Mobile App on iTunes and the GooglePlay store
- Call a local GS service center. Every receptionist is equipped to help people locate their nearest cookie booth.
How soon can I start telling my family and friends about Girl Scout Cookie Season?
You are welcome and encouraged to remind people about the Girl Scout Cookie Season as soon as you are ready - you do not have to wait until Jan. 24 to promote cookies! This includes sending emails or posting social media messages reminding people that cookie season is coming, or letting people know how they can connect with your girl to place an order once the season starts. By policy, the only activity that MUST HAPPEN WITHIN our council’s program dates (Jan. 24-March 6) is the actual selling of cookies, which includes boothing and direct sales. Otherwise, you can publicly talk about cookies throughout the year!
What are the rules with online selling or online promotion of Girl Scout Cookies?
At this time, Girl Scouts are prohibited from selling Girl Scout Cookies online, meaning they cannot transact/exchange money online for cookies via email, website, or any other online vehicle. However, GSGLA encourages girls and adults to use age-appropriate online tools to help market the cookie program at any time, such as email, social media, blogs, or personal websites to tell customers when cookie season is coming, how they can find cookies, and how to connect with a troop or girl to place an order once the season starts. (NOTE: USING EBAY OR ANY OTHER MARKETPLACE WHERE PAYMENT CAN BE TRANSACTED IS NOT ALLOWED). Remember, you can ONLY TAKE orders during GSGLA’s cookie season (Jan. 24-March 6) Refer to pages 133-140 of the Safety Activity Checkpoints to review all online safety rules.
Why are some of our cookies different from those sold at other councils OR why don’t we have a certain cookie in our line-up?
There are two bakeries that make Girl Scout Cookies in the country. If a customer asks for a cookie that is not in our lineup, it is likely that the bakery connected with GSGLA does not make that particular cookie. GSGLA sells the “awesome eight” top customer favorite cookies: Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Savannah Smiles, Rah-Rah Raisins, and gluten-free Toffee-Tastic.
I heard there is a gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie. Is GSGLA selling it?
Yes! Our baker developed a gluten-free cookie called Toffee-tastic, which GSGLA girls sold in 2015 for the first time. We’re bringing it back to GSGLA for a second year! Learn more about it here.
The retail price of the gluten-free, Toffee-tastic cookie is $6; this is $1 more than all the other cookies we offer. Because of the cost associated with producing gluten-free products, most gluten-free products are more expensive than regular products. Customers seeking a gluten-free alternative know and expect to pay more for a gluten-free item. The cost of the gluten-free cookie from the baker is more than double the cost of all the other Little Brownie Bakers (LBB) varieties. This is because of the expensive nature of the ingredients, the separate baking process, and the additional distribution costs.
Can I get the gluten-free cookie from the cupboard?
No. GSGLA ordered a set amount in September 2015 which will be fairly allocated to troops. The council cannot order more from LBB, nor can troops order more from GSGLA.
What are the rules with councils selling cookies outside of their geographic territory?
Girls who have a DIRECT, tangible customer in another council's region may still contact them and sell cookies to them. For example, if the girl lives in Temecula (San Gorgonio council), but her grandmother lives in San Diego (San Diego council), the girl is allowed to sell to her grandmother and grandmother's immediate friends. However, the girl cannot set up a booth, go door-to-door, or market her sale publically in another council's territory.
Boothing in a different council's geographic region of any format is strictly prohibited, from simple lemonade stands on private property, to setting up at a grocery store without permission, to loading a cargo van and driving to a market parking lot. None of this is permitted.
If you come across a troop boothing in a region which is not their own, do not become confrontational. Instead, discreetly take down the following information, and a photo if possible, and report them immediately to your troop or service unit cookie chair.
- Date, time, and location
- Region the troop/girl is from
- Troop number
- Number of girls
- Names of adults
For further help on this issue, contact your troop or service unit cookie chair.
How does the cookie program support Girl Scouts?
GSGLA cookie proceeds—100%!—go to supporting Girl Scouting in the greater Los Angeles area. Cookie proceeds support troops and help provide high-quality, low-cost, and safe experiences for more than 40,000 girls and more than 20,000 adults, including programs and activities, training, materials, services, resources, communications, collateral, and facilities.
GSGLA spends approximately $365 per Girl Scout. Funding to support Girl Scouting in greater Los Angeles is through a combination of product sales (cookie program and fall product program), program and camp fees, retail sales, and fundraising. GSGLA receives none of the annual $15 GSUSA membership fee.
What is the price of Girl Scout Cookies this year—is it different than last year?
Girl Scout Cookies are $5 a box in greater Los Angeles, except for the gluten-free Toffee-tastic, which is $6 a box. Our prices are not changing—these are the same prices as in 2015.
Like many councils around the nation, GSGLA increased the price-per-box last year (February 2015) from $4 to $5 a box. For 2016, several additional large councils are going to $5 and it may become a media story.
The increase in the cookie price was because inflation has increased the cost of doing business for troops, service units, and the overall council. Through recent program evaluation surveys and review by our volunteer-led Product Sales Go Team, you provided us with great feedback. This decision was not made without volunteer consideration. Before that, the last time we increased the price was more than 10 years ago.
Where does the $5 a box go?
After the cost of the cookies, 30 percent of the $5 sale goes to local Girl Scout troops for activities (such as travel, camp registration, or community service projects), and 70 percent goes to the local Girl Scout council to support high quality programming and volunteer and member support.
What are some good ways to market cookies?
Girl Scout Cookies are a tasty treat and the public knows this is their primary opportunity to support girls and Girl Scouts.
- Share the goodwill of Girl Scouting. Troops are encouraged to be prepared to tell their story. It’s a great way to draw in customers.
- Speak to customers about how buying cookies helps Girl Scouts locally in their community.
- Inform customers about how the cookie program helps girls build their confidence and learn skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
- Talk about the 5 Skills! The cookie program is the largest financial literacy program in the world. The five skills girls learn are goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. They are the bedrock of the cookie program, and they can convey a moving story when girls give good examples about how they’ve used these skills in Girl Scouts.
- Customers are not just buying a box of cookies, they are also supporting programs that build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
- Look for more great ways to market Girl Scout Cookies coming soon to www.girlscoutsla.org.
Can someone donate money instead of buying cookies?
Absolutely! Customers can donate money in any amount to go towards the Gift of Caring (GOC) program. This program sends cookies to soldiers overseas and local non-profit partners like the LA Food Bank and Goodwill Southern CA. Troops still get credit for the “virtual sale” and the public can support Girl Scouts, even if they don’t want cookies. Donations collected during the cookie program must be contributed toward the GOC program. Troops cannot solicit/accept donations from the public specifically for the troop during cookie season.
Who can I contact if I need help or have questions during the cookie program?
If you are unable to find the information you need on the GSGLA website, the best person to go to for assistance is your troop cookie chair or service unit cookie program chair. You can also ask questions and get answers on GSGLA’s Cookie and Nut Friends Facebook page: www.facebook.com/GSGLACookieNutFriend.
Why don’t Girl Scouts sell cookies all-year long?
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the premier entrepreneurship opportunity for girls, but it is just one part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Girl Scouts participate in many activities throughout the year and work on many projects. The cookie program is just one of those activities. Also, because only girls may sell Girl Scout Cookies, their market availability is limited to the eight-week period when they are engaged in the program in their local council. Cookie season dates vary per council.
What do I say if someone asks if Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles allows Girl Scouts to conduct booth sales in front of adult-oriented businesses?
Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA) does not allow girls to sell cookies outside of any adult-oriented business, including but not limited to a bar, strip club, casino, liquor store, gun show, or marijuana dispensary. We recognize these are legitimate businesses, but feel they are inappropriate places for girls and the Girl Scout brand.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a council-run business. All the money stays in local councils, and the councils make all decisions on how the business is run with girl safety a top priority. Both GSGLA and Girl Scouts of the USA offer booth safety guidelines, but we rely on troop leaders and parents to make booth sale location decisions.
GSGLA Girl Scouts use a direct sale model during the cookie program. How is a direct sale different from the initial orders model?
Initial orders model (8 weeks): At the start of the sale, girls go out with an order card to collect orders from their customers. Girls turn in their order cards, wait for their order to arrive, and then girls go back to the customer to deliver them a few weeks later. Girls finish off the sale with boothing.
Direct sale model (6 weeks): The process of collecting customers’ order pre-delivery is eliminated. Using a formula, troops place a “starting inventory” order and cookies get delivered Jan. 22–24. Troops start selling immediately with cookies in hand on Jan. 24. For two weeks, troops will sell through personal connections and door-to-door or via “lemonade stands,” and then convert to boothing on Feb. 5 to finish the sale.
Do girls still use an order card?
Girls will use a condensed girl order card to help them track sales and orders, but it will not be submitted to place an order like it was used in the past.
How is a direct sale more beneficial than an initial order sale?
Taking orders in the past with a girl order card was lucrative, but it can’t compete with the speed and efficiency of an instantaneous sale and delivery, all in one transaction. There is no need to go back to a customer for delivery, and customers will be happy that they can enjoy their cookies right away. The instant gratification also tends to increase sales. Since girls will always have a supply of cookies in-hand, they can always make the sale. A direct sale is also faster, taking less time to complete each sale.
What are the phases of a direct sale?
Starting on “Go Day!” (Jan. 24), troops can begin selling with cookies in hand for the first two weeks of the sale. Girls should not sell before this date. Door-to-door sales, “lemonade stands,” cookie mobiles, personal asks, networking, email (Cookie Club), and Facebook are all viable methods to publicize your sale to customers. Cupboards will open earlier than before to support this direct sale phase.
After the initial two weeks and for the remaining four weeks, boothing is available. As in prior years, service units (SU) will secure sites for the Booth Scheduler, and troops will self-select their boothing options.
What is a “starting inventory,” and why do I need it?
Starting inventory is the initial set of cookies a girl will need to have “in hand” to start making sales. It is important to order a sufficient inventory of cookies to stay ahead of her customers’ needs. If girls do not have cookies in hand on Jan. 24, they are going to miss the first opportunity to engage with customers.
How do I know how much to order for the troop’s starting inventory?
GSGLA is training troops using best practices from other councils who have already converted to the direct sale model. We recommend that returning troops place a starting inventory order (SIO) of at least 80% of their total anticipated 2016 sale. History and best practices have informed us that an 80% starting inventory order will provide enough cookies for two weeks of direct sale plus opening boothing weekend. To calculate this number, please use the Recommended Starting Inventory Worksheet (Returning Troops tab) which uses a formula that factors in each troop’s 2015 sales volume and the 2016 number of girls selling. Troops that are new to cookie season can calculate their SIO using the same worksheet, but under the New Troops tab which uses a formula based on regional per-girl-average. Trainings will provide more details.
This is my first time participating in the cookie program. What do I order for my starting inventory?
Using our experience and data from past sales, GSGLA will provide details on how to forecast a new troop’s expected 2016 sales volume, and then take 80% of that number to order its starting inventory. To calculate this, please use the Recommended Starting Inventory Worksheet (New Troops tab) which uses a formula based on Girl Scout level, geographic location, cookie flavor popularity, and per-girl average to help new troops compute a good, strong number. The last thing we want to see is a troop take on too much product when they are not experienced at how to sell it, or a troop that is too conservative and does not order enough product to fulfill their customers’ needs. Veteran troop leaders, cookie mentors, and staff are all here to help train you. You are not alone.
How many troop payments to GSGLA are there?
GSGLA will collect a first ACH debit on Feb. 12 and then collect a final ACH debit on March 18. The first debit amount is $2/box. It is not in GSGLA’s interest to try to collect too much or too fast. We want troops to be successful, and we want to provide a manageable schedule of collection. More details to come at training.
Digital Cookie/Digital Order Card (GSGLA will not participate in 2016)
In 2015, GSUSA launched a national pilot program for a Digital Order Card (DOC) which will allow customers to place cookie orders online and choose if they want their cookies shipped (for an extra fee) or delivered by a girl. Little Brownie Baker councils had the choice to opt in or opt out of this program; GSGLA chose to again opt OUT for 2016. However, this program may be mentioned in the media, so we want to prepare members for questions from the public.
What is the Digital Order Card (DOC)?
The Digital Order Card is an optional, national pilot program that GSUSA introduced in 2015. It is only available to Little Brownie Bakers (LBB) councils, not councils who get their cookies from ABC Bakers, the other licensed Girl Scout cookie baker. The Digital Order Card program allows girls to send emails to customers and links them to a girl’s individual sales website. Through that website, customers can place orders for cookies and choose an option to have them delivered by the girl, or shipped (for an extra fee). Customers can also get connected to a girl’s sales page to place an online order via girlscoutcookies.org.
Why isn’t GSGLA participating in 2016? Will we ever opt in to an online sales program?
GSGLA has made the strategic decision to opt out of Digital Order Card (DOC) for 2016 for the following reasons:
- The system is new (designed summer 2014) and the 2016 launch is considered a “Phase II” test of the system. GSGLA feels the risk is too high to jump into a system in its early stage of development. Like all pilots, there is an inherent risk to taking on projects too early in their development.
- There are still many unanswered questions about the Digital Order Card system related to shipping costs and process, additional processing fees, finance system details, logistics, etc.
- We have the option to opt in for 2017 once the system has been more fully developed.
- Our volunteers and customers have shared that they don’t really want it.
Will girls still have the Cookie Club?
Yes! Girls can still use Cookie Club to reach out to customers through email, and customers can make order “promises.” However, unlike Digital Order Card, customers cannot transact money/pay for their cookies over the internet. With Cookie Club, customers still need to connect with a girl to pay for and receive their cookies.
Will ABC Bakers’ councils have their own online order system in 2016?
Yes. It is called CocoDirect and is largely focused around a mobile app. However, their system will not be integrated with girlscoutcookies.org at this time.
Download a PDF flier of the 2016 Social Issue FAQs (coming soon)
Are there GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies?
Yes, at the current time, there are genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies. Our bakers determine whether to use GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors and depending on the specific cookie recipe.
Girl Scouts listens to its customers, and we work with our trusted bakers, who are industry leaders, to develop recipes for these sweet treats using ingredients that will produce the best-tasting and highest-quality cookies while simultaneously addressing industry trends, scientific trends, and of course, consumer preference. As an organization, we continue to defer to required federal guidelines as they relate to our products.
Why is palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies?
Palm oil is an ingredient found in the majority of baked snacks sold in the United States. GSUSA's licensed bakers tell us it continues to be necessary to use palm oil in our cookies to ensure shelf life, to offer customers the highest quality, and to serve as an alternative to trans fats. One of the primary goals of our Girl Scout cookie bakers is to create the best-tasting cookies possible using the healthiest ingredients available. Click here for more information.
What do I say if someone asks about a cookie boycott or Girl Scouts' position on social issues, such as Planned Parenthood?
With the increased media focus on Girl Scouts during the cookie season, a number of groups with their own agendas see this as a chance to draw attention to their causes--at the expense of the girls.
And although rare, a few of our leaders and parents may encounter people approaching girls/troops during the cookie sale, wanting to discuss sensitive issues. Usually, a calm request to speak with the Girl Scout adult away from the girls takes care of the matter and helps to not disrupt the girls.
In particular, false claims of a partnership with Planned Parenthood and accusations regarding controversial topics related to Planned Parenthood are two of the issues being raised. It's been nearly a decade since the rumors first surfaced. There was no partnership then and there is none now.
Here are the facts:
- Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and GSGLA do not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood.
- Girl Scouts does not provide financial support of any kind to Planned Parenthood.
- Girl Scouts does not advocate on behalf of any cause or mission outside of the Girl Scout mission, which is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts does not take a position on abortion or birth control, nor do we endorse or provide funding to organizations that advocate on behalf of these issues. We believe these are matters that are best discussed/handled within the family.
- 100% of cookie proceeds go to the local council.
If you do not feel comfortable commenting on sensitive issues, please refer the inquirer to Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles' External Relations Department: firstname.lastname@example.org, so that staff can assist.