Product Program
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Product Program

As the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world, the Girl Scout Cookie Program and the Girl Scout fall product program are foundational experiences during which girls learn to think like entrepreneurs and to develop vital business skills. Plus, Girl Scout Cookie proceeds power fun and enriching experiences for Girl Scout troops year-round!  

Teaching Essential Skills for a Lifetime of Leadership

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.  

Check out our 5 Skills for Girls Toolkit to see how you can foster these keys to success with your troop. 

But the exciting skill building isn’t just tied to the cookies themselves! Girls continue to hone their entrepreneurial skills and go-getting spirit by earning  Cookie Business badges and Financial Literacy badges. 

Before your cookie bosses open shop, be sure to check out these helpful 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. 
  • Understand just how much your girls are capable of by grade level and how their entrepreneurial skills progress. 
A Sweet Tradition

It has been decades since Girl Scouts began selling home-baked cookies to raise money. The idea was so popular that in 1936 Girl Scouts enlisted bakers to handle the growing demand—and the rest is history. Explore Girl Scout Cookie History  to find out how cookies have bolstered generations of girls who make the world a better place. 

Where Cookie Proceeds Go

After paying for the cost of cookies and materials, Girl Scout Cookie proceeds stay local and help councils 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. Check out the “Where the Cookie Money Goes” handout to learn more.  

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 [Council: hyperlink] 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 (February 2019), page 22

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 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 in a girl-led, cooperative setting. Some of the things you’ll do include: 

  • Get girls excited about the opportunities to support her troop (but allowing her participation to be voluntary).
  • Support both competitive and apprehensive cookie bosses, helping all your girls set meaningful goals for themselves. 
  • Fostering partnerships with each girl’s family to ensure cookie season success, whatever that may look like for her. Check out the Creating Cookie Success and Coaching Your Budding Businesswoman resources that will help you build a positive partnership with girls and families. 

Not only can girls sell individually, both in-person and using 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 and ensure every booth is in a safe and appropriate location for girls

As your girls grow, your role will evolve from a hands-on one to providing oversight and support where needed. No matter their 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
Girl 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 safety section of girlscoutcookies.org.

Should safety come into question, please contact Crystal Jones, Chief Operating Officer at cjones@citrus-gs.org or call 407-228-1630.

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. Remember that:

  • Girls may only post about their participation on Digital Cookie in a way that allows them to restrict access to family and friends, such as on Facebook.
  • Parents/guardians must approve the content of a girl’s Digital Cookie webpage before it goes live.
  • For girls under age 13, a parent/guardian must manage the girl’s web site and be responsible for all content. 

The Buddy System
Using the buddy system, girls are divided into teams of two. Each girl 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, facilitated within council jurisdiction, and participants must follow all council guidelines with regard to setting up, running, and taking down a booth. 

Council staff and Service Community Product Chairs will be the only persons allowed to set up booths for the Service Community.

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.  

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

Booth Violations:

Any troop found violating booth policies will be subject to booth restrictions, which could include forfeiture of upcoming booths for the remainder of the sale.

The following violations will be subject to the above restrictions:

  • Conducting booths prior to the Council wide start date of Booth sales
  •  Conducting booths at a location outside of the Community boundaries without the consent of the impacted Community during the lottery and FCFS (First Come First Serve).  Once booth picks are open to the Council, booths will be permitted in any Community without getting consent from the Community that the booth is in.  You will still need your booth confirmation card or print out from Smart Cookies.
  • Conducting a booth with adults who do not have a current registration and approved background check.
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

The Girl Scout Cookie Program has always been about and focused on the program outcomes through which girls learn important entrepreneurial and life skills and invest their earnings to positively affect their local communities. 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. 
Understanding the Fall Product Program

The Fall Product Program in Citrus Council is made up of three parts:

  1. Mags and More, “Friends and Family” magazine renewal, candles, tumblers and organic veggies, Great American Opportunities
  2. Chocolate and nut sale from Ashdon Farms
  3. Reachout Booklets

Troops/Groups may participate in one or all parts of the Fall Product Program. The girl and her parents must be given the option to decide. Participation is voluntary. Participation in at least one part of the Fall Product Program is required as a prerequisite for obtaining approval of future money-earning projects.

The Fall Product Program is usually held in September and October for troops to earn “start-up” funds. Girl Scouts of Citrus determines specific dates and establishes procedures for the program. Training is provided for the troop leader and product program chair.

 

QSP

Troops/groups who participate in this portion are asked to solicit magazine renewals or subscriptions from friends and family members only. Troops/Groups are also asked to submit one address booklet per girl of at least eight names and addresses of people personally known by the girls, outside of their city/town. Magazine renewal and subscription information then will be sent to those individuals through the mail. Troops earn a percentage of each magazine subscription and each photo keepsake they sell. Troops will earn a flat rate for each complete reachout booklet they submit. The GSC Board of Directors establishes the price for all products.

Chocolate and Nut Program

Troops who participate in this portion of the fall product program sell Chocolate and Nuts to the general public. Troops take pre-orders for the chocolate and nuts. They may sell door-to-door, to family and friends or at established chocolate and nut booths.

Juliettes and Product Program

Juliettes (Individually Registered Girls) may participate in all GSC product programs in one of two ways:

  • “Juliettes” can partner with another troop in their Service Community. The Service Community can connect her with a troop in her area. The program is handled the same as with any other girl in the troop. The money earned from the Juliettes product program stays with the troop she has partnered with for the program. The troop votes ahead of time what they will do with the proceeds and the Juliette participates in those activities. All monies from the Juliette will be turned into the troop.
  • “Juliettes” work directly with the Juliette Coordinator in their Service Community to ensure they have completed training for the product program. All monies will be turned into the GSC finance department and earned product credits will be held in a custodial account for the Juliettes to use for Girl Scout related activities or purchases from the council shop. The Juliette will need to contact the finance department and complete a “Juliette Credit Request” Form to use their credits for the Girl Scout related activities or Council Shop purchases they choose. 
ACH Debits for Products

Fall Products

  • All troops must complete the ACH section of UNIFY by the due date printed on the Fall Product paperwork. This authorizes the council to debit all monies due to council from their troop accounts and validates current banking information.
  • UNIFY will be updated when the draft occurs, if an ACH is returned to us there will be a separate entry indicating that as well as a fee for all returns due to NSF or closed account.

Cookies

  • All troops must complete the ACH section of SMART COOKIES by the due date printed on the Cookie paperwork. This authorizes the council to debit all monies due to council from their troop accounts and validates current banking information.
  • SMART COOKIES will be updated by council after the debit has taken place. if an ACH is returned to us there will be a separate entry indicating that as well as a fee for all returns due to NSF or closed account.

 

All monies due to council need to be in the troop’s bank account on the day the final paperwork is due. It will be the troop’s responsibility to have the entire balance in their account on the date the paperwork is due to council. GSC staff will not review troop accounts for funds availability. If funds are not in the account when council debits the troop’s account that troop will be responsible for all charges incurred to that account.

Overcharging for product:

Any troop/girl/parent found overcharging for Girl Scout products will be subject to the following:

  • Restrictions for the remainder of the sale, which could include forfeiture of booths and restrictions for the girl/troop to receive additional product
  • Adult volunteers engaged in this activity will be subject to removal from their volunteer role

Procedure for Outstanding Product Monies

There are two types of outstanding balances:

  • Troop Debt to the Council Business Office
  • Parent /Guardian Debt to the troop

Troop Debt to Council Business Office

When unresolved debt occurs, the troop will not be able to participate in any product sales until the troop has resolved their outstanding balance with the Council Business Office.

  • The Council Office will send up to two collection letters to the Troop Chair and the Leader to try to collect the outstanding monies.

After the second time with no action taken by the troop, it will be turned over to local law enforcement.

Parent/Guardian Debt to Troop

 

Since Recognitions cannot be guaranteed after about 6 weeks for Troops with an outstanding amount due to Council, we recommend contacting Customer Care at customercare@citrus.org as soon as you realize there may be Product Money due or you have not been able to collect from a Troop Parent. We are here to help! When Product money is due to the Council Business Office and you have not been able to collect from a troop parent, do not hold up your troops paperwork. Make sure all monies collected have been deposited into your Troops Bank Account by the deadline.

As soon as you realize there is a problem, act immediately!

  • Collect as much money as possible and set up definite deadlines for additional payments. Promptly Notify Customer Care at: customercare@citrus-gs.org with information listed in “information needed for further review” section, if deadline is not met.
  • Make at least three attempts to collect money. The attempts to collect money must be documented in writing. Be aware that an answering machine or phone message might not be received by the person involved. It is not a reliable form of contact.
  • Attempts to collect monies need to be pleasant and tactful, but firm. Do not harass. Emphasize that missing money denies girls program opportunities.
  • All outstanding parent debt must be reported within 2 weeks of the end of the sale. It becomes increasingly difficult to help with collections after time has passed.
  • If you need additional help or need to talk it over, contact the Product Director, Debbie Zito, (dzito@citrus-gs.org or call 800.367.3906).

Document all information: Written/Verbal Documentation needed as follows:

  • Date
  • Who made contact
  • Method of Contact (phone, letter, in person)
  • Summary of what was said and the response
  •  Your follow-up actions and plans
  • Information Needed for further review (see next section)

Information Needed for further review:

  • Names (girls and parents)
  • Phone numbers
  • Physical Address
  • Total Products checked out and returned from all signed M3 receipts
  • Amount owed troop and Council Business Office
  • Signed Parent Permission Agreement
  • All signed M3 receipts from parent
  • If you have all the signed documentation, the Council Business Office will be able to help with future payments from the parent/ guardian.

How can this be avoided?

  • By training and informing the parents/guardians during a meeting about the consequences of outstanding balances.
  • Meeting the deadlines for payments during the sale.
  • Be firm with the guidelines about payment before additional product is given out.
  • Keeping in touch with parents and girls to verify all payments are received for delivered product with corresponding signed M3 receipts.

Misappropriation of Funds by Troop Chair or Leader

If misappropriation of troop funds is suspected, Leaders access to troop funds could be suspended during research and review of the allegations. If evidence of misuse of funds or personal use of troop funds is substantiated, this will result in Girl Scouts of Citrus action including, but not limited to, staff oversight, termination from the volunteer position, and/or restrictions of further fundraising activities until the matter is resolved.   The leader/chair could be reported to Law Enforcement for further investigation.

Report the concern immediately to Customer Care at customercare@citrus-gs.org. If review of the concern yields substantial evidence of theft or fraud, Council Office is the legal party to file Police Reports and will do so.

Third Party Theft

In the event that funds are stolen by a third party (home robbery, auto theft, booth robbery), a completed police report must be provided to the Council Business Office.

  • Receipts will be helpful to prove possession and value of property.
  • Council Staff will work directly with the victim with regard to the resolution of missing funds.
  • Do not speak to media – contact Crystal Jones, Chief Operations Officer, 407-228-1630 or email cjones@citrus-gs.org.
Selling Product On-line

Using Online Resources and Social Media to Market Cookies and Other Products

Girls are only to use the Internet to market the Girl Scout Cookie Program and Fall Product Program to friends and family (for clarity, “friends and family” are people whom the girl or her family personally know).

  • The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a girl-led program and online marketing and sales efforts should always be led by a girl while also being supervised by her parents or caretakers.
  • Friends and family of a girl participating in the cookie program must not market or share a girl’s contact information, sales links, or sales information on public-facing online sites. They also should not share their sales link with any news outlets (this includes online and traditional news media, such as radio, television, or magazines).
  • For safety purposes and other reasons, online marketing activities, especially those conducted through social media platforms, should always be done through accounts set to “private.”
  • Should any online marketing activities be identified as in violation of guidance, GSUSA or the council reserves the right to intervene and request removal or remove the post.
  • Parents, girls, and volunteers should contact and collaborate with their councils and GSUSA in advance on any national news media opportunities.

Girls may use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text messages, IMs, and emails as online marketing tools to let family, friends, and former customers know about the sale and collect indications of interest. All are effective ways that girls 13 and older can promote cookie and other product program. Girls under 13 cannot independently set up online marketing sites.  Girls under 13 can use their parent or guardians online sites with their approval and supervision.

The following sections detail how girls can use electronic marketing, social media, and group websites to gather sale commitments from family, friends, and previous customers. But first, please keep in mind that girls:

  • Can market to and collect indications of interest from customers within their councils’ zip codes. Refer prospects that come from outside council jurisdiction to the council finder at www.girlscoutcookies.org. Family members and Digital Cookie sales are the exception to this rule.
  • Must sign the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge (available at http://www.girlscouts.org/help/internet_safety_pledge.asp) before doing any online activities, and all online activities must be under the supervision of volunteers.
  • Cannot expose their own or any other girl’s email address, physical address, or phone number to the public. When writing e-mail messages or online announcements, girls should sign with their first name only, along with their group number or name and their council name.

 

Selling Product on-line:

If a girl/parent creates an online store/post on a public online marketplace (EBAY, Amazon, FB Marketplace, Craig’s List, any other similar sites or garage sale type sites), for the purpose of selling Girl Scout Product, the parent/volunteer will be contacted and instructed to remove the online store/post from the site within 48 hours.

 If the online store/post is not removed within 48 hours:

  •  The girls sale will be restricted –The girl will be permitted to participate in troop booth sales and in online sales through our GS approved vendors (Smart Cookies and Unify), but will not be permitted to order any additional cookies for walk-abouts for the remainder of the sale.
  • If the parent of the girl holds a volunteer position within the troop, they will be subject to removal from their volunteer position.
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