Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why do Girl Scouts sell cookies?
A. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a fun way for Girl Scouts of all ages to earn money that fuels girl-led initiatives, including community service and travel opportunities. This entrepreneurial spirit inspires girls everywhere to set important goals and put leadership skills into action.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country which prepares girls for their future by developing five business building skills:
- Goal setting
- Decision making
- Money management
- People skills
- Business ethics
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is, nationally, a $700 million business run by girls. All the proceeds from the local sale of Girl Scout Cookies remain in the Greater Washington Region to support Girl Scouts, troops and the Council. The Council uses the proceeds to support our troops, develop new programs, maintain our eight camp properties and provide scholarships that insure that all girls, regardless of income, can participate in Girl Scouting.
It is not just a tasty cookie you buy when you purchase Girl Scout Cookies-you are also supporting local girls on projects they find important. During these tough economic times Girl Scouts need your support more than ever!
Q. How do girls benefit from selling Girl Scout Cookies?
A. The Girl Scout Cookie program is the best leadership development and entrepreneurial experience for girls. Selling Girl Scout Cookies is a unique and valuable way that girls can experience the power of goal-setting, develop self-confidence and learn early business skills. Many successful business women got their start selling Girl Scout Cookies.
And, the proceeds from the Girl Scout Cookie program remain in the community and support only Girl Scout activities. Q: What is a cookie cupboard?
A: Cookie cupboards are "warehouses" run by local volunteers from the Council. Troop Cookie Managers, with proper documentation, can go to cupboards to pick up extra cookies.
Q: Where can I see a color picture of the cookie awards?
A:The incentives can be viewed on our website Cookie Incentive Page (PDF) and on the girl's cookie order card.
Q: How do you come up with the cookie award program?
A: Very carefully! All of the cookie awards offered by our bakery must be approved by GSUSA. Awards are program-related and selected to motivate girls to set and achieve goals for their troop as well as for themselves. A set of sample awards is taken to camps over the summer and the girls are surveyed. This summer, we took sample awards to over ten camp programs, where we received important girl input. In 2010, there was also an online survey conducted to reach a wider Girl Scouting audience. The information gathered is compiled and the Volunteer Cookie Task Force chooses incentive items and level based on the girl input while considering fiscal constraints.
Q: Why can't troops keep more profit?
A: All of the proceeds from the sale of cookies directly benefit our Girl Scouts in the Nation's Capital in some way. Troops earned in excess of $2,840,000 in proceeds during the 2010 sale. There are costs related to the sale (i.e. product, incentives, printing, materials, promotion, shipping & distribution, as well as training of volunteers, to name a few) that must be met. Cookie proceeds also aid council in all its work. Whether through full camping services; a broad menu of training opportunities for adult volunteers; technological & web support; staff support for associations, service units & troops through 7 offices; or financial assistance, GSCNC uses the money raised through all of our product sales to the girls' advantage.
Q: Can troops return extra cookies at the end of the sale?
A: No, so please order carefully. GSCNC pays for every case of cookies we put in our cookie cupboards. If only 4,000 troops returned 3 cases that would be 144,000 boxes for the council to absorb at the end of the sale. The money that could be used for great programs or providing more adult support would be diverted to pay for un-sold cookies. While we can't take back cookies, we have set up the Cookie Exchange. During this time troops may exchange up to 5 cases of cookies at a cookie cupboard for other varieties. This helps turn those three cases of Tagalongs you can't sell in your area into a case of Lemon Chalet Crèmes, Trefoils and Thin Mints or some other combination that your customers will love!
Q: Does Little Brownie Bakers bake cookies for all the Girl Scout Cookie Sales?
A: Little Brownie bakes cookies for many of the Girl Scout councils in the U.S. There are two licensed bakers that Councils can choose from. Each baker produces three cookies that are "standard" - Thin Mint, Trefoil and Do-Si-Do (although the other baker calls them something else!). The last five flavors are chosen by the baker. GSCNC has been a Little Brownie Council for more than 30 years!
Q: How does Little Brownie come up with new cookie varities?
A: With input from customers and Girl Scouts from around the country! Little Brownie is always searching for cookie varieties that are special enough to join the current Girl Scout favorites. You can also let them know if you'd like to see a former favorite return to the mix. http://www.littlebrowniebakers.com/cookies/cookies_history.html is where you can place your vote.
Q: I'm not sure my troop is going to use the program pieces provided by Little Brownie. Couldn't we get rid of them to save some money?
A: It is important to remember that the cookie sale is, at its core, a program. It is widely recognized as the leading financial and economic-literacy tool of any youth organization nationwide. The program pieces provided by Little Brownie are excellent! They provide wonderful ideas for goal setting for troops and girls as well as developing business building skills in girls. The program pieces are invaluable in completing the program objectives and are not optional. They are provided to us by Little Brownie as mandated by GSUSA.
Q: If someone returns a box of cookies to us and says it is damaged, what do we do with them?
A: Replace the cookies immediately with those you already have. Then return the damaged box to the closest cookie cupboard. They will do a one-for-one exchange for you. If you do not have an extra box, take the box from the customer directly to the cookie cupboard, exchange it, and then return it to the customer.
Q: The end of the cookie sale always falls around spring holidays. Can't we change that?
A: The Council Volunteer Cookie Task Force is well aware of all the school system's spring break schedules. They are reviewed at the very start of the cookie sale planning which begins in June. Many factors are considered when dates are set. The primary concern is the issue of getting incentives ordered, packed and shipped in a timely fashion so as to ensure distribution to girls prior to the end of the scouting year.
Regardless of when spring breaks occur, the cookie sale must go on. We are confident troops will find a way to reach their sales goals with proper planning and coordination
Q: Why are checks limited to a total of $250.00 per family, troop, or business?
A: Basically it is to limit losses. It is unfortunate but the council does receive lots of bounced checks every year. By limiting the amount a check can be written for, we reduce our liability for loss through bad checks. If you have a business that is making a large purchase, simply contact the Product Sales Manager at Council for approval.
Q: My troop wants to have a booth sale at a coffee shop. Why can't I make the arrangements myself?
A: The Service Unit Cookie Booth Coordinators are appointed and trained to know the best way to approach owners and managers of local shops to get permission for a booth sale. Having one contact person per Service Unit or Association ensures that businesses don't receive excessive phone calls. Hundreds of calls could be very irritating and possibly jeopardize all booth sale opportunities. If you have a great idea for a location or a particular "in" with a local business, share that information with your Service Unit Booth Coordinator so that all the troops in the area can benefit.
Q: Are Girl Scout cookies tax deductible?
A: According to the IRS and GSUSA:
- Customers that accept cookies: If individuals buy cookies for personal consumption, they have purchased a product at fair market value. For this reason, no part of the price of a box of Girl Scout cookies is tax deductible.
- Customers that leave cookies with the Girl Scouts: Those customers that do not receive any Girl Scout cookies, but purchase a box for the Gift of Caring program, do not benefit directly from paying for the cookies. Those individuals may treat the purchase price as a charitable contribution.
GSCNC will provide a tax deductible receipt for charitable purchases of $250 or more. Contact the Product Sales Department at the GSCNC Council Office for specifics. For Gift of Caring purchases below that amount, troops can offer the customer GOC Acknowledgement (NC-G5) as proof of purchase and can act as a tax deductible receipt when properly completed.