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 2020 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 2019-20
membership year (log into MYGS to check your status)
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
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
213-213-0123 - 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
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. 26 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. 26-March 8) 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
At this time, Girl Scouts are prohibited from selling Girl Scout
Cookies online, except through Digital Cookie. This means that other
than through Digital Cookie, 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. 26-March 8). 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 top customer favorite cookies: Thin
Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs, and Do-si-dos, while offering two
specialty, limited cookies: gluten-free Toffee-Tastic, and non-GMO
Girl Scout S'mores. GSGLA will also be debuting a new lemon cookie
Is there a gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie?
Yes—gluten-free Toffee-tastic is available on a limited basis, only
while inventory lasts! 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, with the exception of
S'mores which are also $6. 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.
Is there a non-GMO Girl Scout Cookie?
Yes—the non-GMO, clean ingredients, Whole Foods-certified Girl Scout
S’mores is available on a limited basis, only while inventory lasts!
Learn more about it here. This premium cookie is also $6 a box, like
our gluten-free cookie, because of the higher costs of producing a
non-GMO, clean ingredients product. The cost of the non-GMO S'mores
cookie from the baker is more than that of other Little Brownie Bakers
(LBB) varieties. This is because of the expensive nature of the
ingredients, the separate baking process, and the additional
Is there a new cookie this year?
Yes! Stay tuned for details.
I might be running out of S'mores. What should I do?
As with any Girl Scout cookie, especially our new or specialty
cookies, Girl Scout S’mores are only available for a limited time,
while inventory lasts. While we have the ability to order more – in a
limited capacity for a limited time – we cannot guarantee they will be
available in the cupboard at all times. In the case of this variety
not being available, girls are encouraged to remind customers about
the other great varieties to enjoy and Gift of Caring is a great sales
option to offer. If you are running low on inventory of any cookie
variety, reach out to other troops who may have additional inventory
of the cookie you want/need. This is especially helpful in filling
orders already taken by girls.
What are the rules with councils selling cookies outside of their
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
- Troop number
- Number of girls
- Names of
For further help on this issue, contact your troop or service unit
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 $25 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 package in Greater Los Angeles, except
for the gluten-free Toffee-tastic and non-GMO S'mores which are $6 a
package. No, the pricing has not changed.
Where does the $5 a package 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
- 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 package of cookies, they are also supporting
programs that build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who
make the world a better place.
Can people 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
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 Facebook page: www.facebook.com/GSGLA.
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.
24–25. Troops start selling immediately with cookies in hand on Jan.
26. For two weeks, troops will sell through personal connections and
door-to-door or via “lemonade stands,” and then convert to boothing on
Feb. 7 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. 26), 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 (M2OS DOC), and Facebook are
all viable methods to publicize your sale to customers. Cupboards will
open late January/early February 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. 26, 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
75% of their total anticipated 2020 sale. History and best practices
have informed us that a 75% starting inventory order will provide
enough cookies for two weeks of direct sale plus opening boothing weekend.
To calculate this number, please use the Starting Inventory Worksheet which uses a
formula that factors in each troop’s 2019 sales volume and the 2020
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 2020 sales volume,
and then take 75% of that number to order its starting inventory. To
calculate this, please use the Starting Inventory Worksheet 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. 20 and then collect a
final ACH debit on March 26. The first debit amount is $2/package. 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
What is the Digital Cookie/Digital Order Card?
In 2015, GSUSA launched a national pilot program for a Digital Order
Card (DOC) which allows customers to place cookie orders online and
choose if they want their cookies shipped (for an extra fee) or
delivered by a girl. In 2018, GSGLA opted in to participate.
In 2019, we were one of four councils piloting a different Digital
Cookie platform that mirrored the platform girls used for the Fall
Product Program. We will be utilizing this platform again for 2020.
Customers will be able to place cookie orders online and have their
items shipped directly to them (for an extra fee).
Are there GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies?
Yes, some do. However, GSGLA offers a non-GMO Girl Scout S'mores (from Little Brownie Bakers),
which is available on a limited basis, while inventory lasts. The
Little Brownie Bakers S'mores variety as the only exception. View the
LBB S'mores video here.
Other than the S'mores variety from LBB, the remaining cookie
varieties do have genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in
them. 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 or
individual Girl Scout members’ participation in political movements?
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.
Regarding false Planned Parenthood accusations:
False claims of a partnership with Planned Parenthood and
accusations regarding controversial topics related to Planned
Parenthood is sometimes an issue that is 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.
For answers to even more questions, visit Girl Scouts of the USA's
Cookie FAQs and Social Issues FAQs.
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.