Wednesday, January 31, 2018

10 Tips for an Altogether Awesome cookie season

Check out these tips to keep you focused on your goals for the 2018 Cookie Program! From ramping up your selling strategies to shooting for Super Troop status, here are the best ways to achieve Altogether Awesome success!

1. SUPER TROOPS: Any troop that sells a Per Girl Average (PGA) of 160 packages of cookies can earn an exclusive Super Troop T-shirt for each selling girl and one T-shirt for an adult volunteer. Any troop that achieves a PGA of 175 boxes earns an additional 5 cents for every box of cookies sold!

2. GOAL GETTER CARDS: Door-to-door sales don't have to end in January! Make sure girls in your troop are using Goal Getter Order Cards (available for download under "From the Council" at vipetraining.littlebrownie.com). These can be used to take in-person orders after the initial orders are submitted. Additional cookies are available at Cookie Cupboards through March 18 to fulfill customer orders.

3. EXPAND SELLING STRATEGIES: Corporate sales can be a great way for older girl troops to expand their cookie selling methods and sell more cookies in a short amount of time. Working with the council staff and community leaders, girls can identify large companies that might buy large quantities of cookies as customer appreciation and employee recognition. Or, the employees themselves might be interested in stocking up! Consider businesses like car dealerships, service companies (house cleaners, mechanic shops, dry cleaners,etc.), realtors, and hotels or bed and breakfast locations.

4. OPERATION: SWEET APPRECIATION: Girls who participate in Operation: Sweet Appreciation (OSA) or another Gift of Caring program sell an average of 70 more boxes than girls who don't. OSA donations can be made on the Goal Getter Order Card, Digital Cookie and at booth sales, and all donations count toward each girl’s and/or troop’s overall sales. Download these fun printables to use at booth sales to encourage people to donate. 

5. PROMOTE 5 FOR FIVE! Encourage cookie customers to buy five boxes to be eligible to win five CASES of Girl Scout cookies through our 5 for Five! contest. Just give them a 5 for Five! certificate (available for download under "From the Council" at vipetraining.littlebrownie.com), which includes instructions for entering the contest and an exclusive entry code. 

6. BOOMING BOOTH SALES:  Booth sales will run from Feb. 23-March 18. Start brainstorming now, and go outside the box. Wear T-Shirts with your troop's goal or have a mobile cookie booth (ex. selling from a cart, wagon or sled) or organize a neighborhood blitz with a “Cookie Caravan.” And, don't forget the Bling Your Booth contest! Not only will a bling-ed out booth draw customers and increase sales, but your troop could win either $100, $75, or $50 in GSWPA Shop gift certificates through the Bling Your Booth contest! Check out our Pinterest board for some bling-y inspiration. 

7. SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTERFLY: Social media is a great tool for boosting cookie sales. If a girl is 13 or older, she can post about cookies to social media channels herself, otherwise a parent will have to help. Just be sure to follow the guidelines on the Girl Scouts Internet Safety pledge and Safety Activity Checkpoints

8. DIGITAL COOKIE: The Digital Cookie platform makes it easier than ever for friends and relatives that live far away to support a girl's cookie sales. Cookies can be ordered online and shipped directly to the customer, wherever they live, through March 18. Just send them an email through your Girl Scout's Digital Cookie site, so they can place their order!

9. NEW SKILLS=NEW BADGES: Girls can take their cookie sales to new levels by earning cookie-related badges and activity pins. Cookie Business badges demonstrate that girls at every level learn specific skills related to running their own business. Sweet!

10. FOLLOW THROUGH WITH A FOLLOW UP: Once the sale is made, don't stop selling! Hand out recipes that use Girl Scout Cookies to customers to encourage them to buy one more box. Make flyers to give to customers that explain each girl’s cookie goals and how they will use their cookie proceeds, along with information on how they can buy more cookies. Near the end of the program, girls can reconnect customers, who may have eaten all their cookies and want to purchase more! Include an adult phone number or email address with initial deliveries in case customers want more cookies. Print out labels with parent/guardian contact information and stick them on each box.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Answers to the most frequently asked cookie questions

The first week of cookie season is already gone. Time flies when you're learning the 5 Skills!

To help your cookie business run smoothly, here are some questions we're hearing from customers. Learning these answers are a great way to brush up on your people skills.

Digital Cookie Shipping:


Q: If I choose the shipping option on Digital Cookie, when will I get my cookies?
A: These orders are processed and sent to shipment immediately, so you won't have to wait long to enjoy them!

Q: When will cookies arrive when I choose the Girl Delivery option?
A: Cookies ordered under the Girl Delivery option on Digital Cookie will be delivered by your Girl Scout  late February through mid-March. Your Girl Scout has her specific plan for cookie delivery, so check in with her!

Q: How long is the Girl Delivery option available to customers in Digital Cookie? 
A: Customers will only be able to select Girl Delivery as an option through Tuesday, January 30. But, don't worry! Customers can ship and donate through the last day of the cookie program, which is Sunday, March 18.

Traditional Cookie Orders:


Q: What cookies are available this year, and how much do they cost?
A: Girl Scout S'mores cookies are back this year along with the traditional favorites: Tagalongs, Trefoils, Savannah Smiles, Do-Si-Dos, Thin Mints, Samoas and Toffee-tastic. All cookie varieties are $4 per box, except the new Girl Scout S'mores and the gluten-free Toffee-Tastic, which are $5 per box. Can't remember the name of your favorite? Check out our Meet the Cookies page!

Q: When will Girl Scouts be delivering cookies that were ordered on the traditional order card?
A: In late February, Girl Scouts in western Pennsylvania will begin to fulfill cookie orders that were taken by January 26. Delivery continues through mid-March, so check with your Girl Scout for her delivery plans!

Q: I really want to buy cookies now, but I don't personally know a Girl Scout. How can I get my cookies?
A: Girl Scouts will begin their booth sales on February 23. That's when you'll see booths at community locations. Use our Cookie Locator to find a booth near you.

Contributions and donations:


Q: What is Operation: Sweet Appreciation? 
A: Operation: Sweet Appreciation (OSA) allows cookie customers to purchase boxes of cookies to be sent to veterans and men and women serving our country at home and overseas in the U.S. Military, as well as veteran service organizations. In 2017, GSWPA was honored to send nearly 46,000 boxes of cookies to service men and women. OSA cookies can be donated on an individual girl's cookie order forms, at booth sales, and online at gswpa.org/military during cookie season. And, we will continue to accept donations through May 29, 2018!

Q: Where does my money go when I buy Girl Scout Cookies?
A: All proceeds from the cookie program stay within our council to benefit all GSWPA Girl Scouts. Find out more about how cookie proceeds are used.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Starting a Daisy on her epic adventure in Girl Scouting

As you may know, the rewards of being a Daisy Girl Scout are abundant and help her discover her inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™. That’s why we want to offer the opportunity to be a Girl Scout to every girl.

From earning her very first petal and badge to gaining a ton of new skills, Daisies are truly starting an epic adventure through Girl Scouts! We want more girls in grades K-1 to grow and learn like never before in our all-girl, girl-led environment.

This January and February, we're aiming to add more Daisies to our Girl Scout family, and we need your help! 

Daisy leaders, please consider recruiting more Daisies to your troop. Use this flyer to encourage girls to make friends and try new things by joining your awesome Girl Scout troop.

Did you know that some girls join Girl Scouts because they want to sell our iconic cookies? Help these budding businesswomen learn how to work in teams, share ideas, and plan and meet goals. It’s not too late for them to join and be a part of Cookie-powered adventures!

Spread the word. Please consider sharing theflyer and all the benefits of Daisy-hood in your community.


Our long history and research show how much girls grow, learn, and achieve in Girl Scouts—help us share those benefits with more girls in 2018!

For each new Daisy troop that is started between now and February 28, our service unit receives an entry into a drawing for $100. The more Daisy troops that start, the more chances to win. Eligible new troops must have a minimum of two approved leaders and five girls.

Please contact customercare@gswpa.org with your questions, or if you’d like help recruiting more girls to your troop.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Girl Scouts invited to special movie screening of Peter Rabbit

**ALL PASSES FOR THE FREE MOVIE SCREENING OF PETER RABBIT HAVE BEEN CLAIMED AT THIS TIME.

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) members are invited to a free screening of Sony Pictures Animation's new comedy, Peter Rabbit at AMC Waterfront in Pittsburgh, Saturday, February 3!

Peter Rabbit
Saturday, February 3 at 11 a.m.

This Saturday, catch a free screening of Peter Rabbit . There will be some fun family activities beforehand! Register for your free movie passes online. You'll be redirected to a website where you can download your passes. Please have your pass ready to show at the door.

Peter Rabbit, the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude.
Peter Rabbit will be released in theaters February 9, 2018.

The first 100 attendees to arrive with their pass will be admitted. Please arrive early for the best seating options.

Girls are encouraged to wear their uniforms since this is a special screening for GSWPA Girl Scouts! 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Pittsburgh troop leader receives city-wide recognition

Pittsburgh City Council proclaimed Thursday, December 28, 2017, as Elaine Effort Day in the city of Pittsburgh.

Photo by: Nate Guidry/Post-Gazette
Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Effort was recognized by the city council for her 38-year career at KQV-AM (1410), Pittsburgh's oldest, all-news radio station that went off the air at the end of the 2017. 

Not only has Effort been extremely involved in city matters and events throughout the years, she is a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Her time in Girl Scouting began 26 years ago. As her daughter bridged to the next level of Girl Scouts, Effort worked to continuously recruit volunteers to lead younger girls in the Pittsburgh area. She is currently a leader of troop 52493 in the Pittsburgh East service unit.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Effort was praised by the nine city council members, including compliments from Rev. Ricky Burgess, who called her "a trailblazer, a friend, and a role model," while directing his remarks in part toward young women in the room. She was referred to as the "personification of grace and class," while never getting a fact wrong.

Aftyn Giles, a current troop leader with Effort and one of Effort's previous troop members says "She inspires girls to discover more about friendship, fun, community, compassion, and themselves through the accomplishment of badge work, goal setting, and field trips."

According to Giles, Effort's professional skills impacted the young girls in her troop by teaching them to ask the right questions, dig deeper, dream bigger, think critically, and make good connections. 

"In general, all of us that were in her troop can boast that we are college graduates and in productive careers that center around many of the values that she and Girl Scouts taught," Giles said. "She's a pillar of the community and has helped open doors for us that would have otherwise been closed."

Friends and family joined Effort for the proclamation, presented at council’s last meeting of 2017.

A special congratulations to Elaine from Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania! 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Join us in the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world!




If you’re a new troop leader or a longtime volunteer, you know the Girl Scout Cookie Program is an exciting time for Girl Scouts. Cookies make amazing things happen for girls, and as troop leaders, you see first-hand what Girl Scout cookies can do. 


Below are some great tips to guide you through this year’s Cookie Program:

There’s time to make this year’s sale amazing for your troop!

If your troop is registered, you're ready to start selling cookies! The Cookie Program runs until March 18, so there's plenty of time to participate and be successful. You can sell cookies after the initial order taking ends using the Goal Getter Order Form. Fill these orders by picking up additional cookies at your nearest cookie cupboard. Plus, troops can participate in booth sales starting Feb. 23. Ask your Service Unit Cookie Manager about the sign-up process for booth sales and the Goal Getter Order Form.

Have questions about your Girl Scout bank account?
Just be sure to have your bank account 
opened up and ACH form submitted by Feb. 28.

Extra help with eBuddeConnect with your Service Unit Cookie Manager to have your troop added into the eBudde system. After that, you're ready to enter in your troop's orders! 

Cookie Cupboard details
Cupboards are located throughout the council and house additional cookies for troops to fulfill orders taken on the Goal Getter Cards and for booth sales. They're open to all troops (but closed to the public) starting Feb. 23
. Find a list of cupboards and reserve cookies to be picked up at a cupboard on eBudde.

Keep in touch!
You don't want to miss out on our Cookie Bytes emails that include helpful tips and to-do reminders throughout the Cookie Program. If you haven't received any, please contact your Service Unit Cookie Manager or email 
customercare@gswpa.org.

We've got tons of Cookie Program information on our website (including trainings) and you can always contact us with any additional questions. We also post a lot of great info on Facebook. Be sure to like us!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Scholarship opportunity: 2018 KPMG Future Leaders Program

2018 KPMG Future Leaders Program
Empowering and investing in future generations of women leaders

The KPMG Future Leaders Program is an annual charitable initiative focused on developing future generations of women leaders.

Funded by proceeds from the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, the program affords top female high school seniors, selected by the Office of Condoleezza Rice, the opportunity to enhance their personal growth through college scholarships, a leadership development retreat at Stanford University, a mentor for one year, and an introduction to golf.

The program’s main purpose is to help these young women continue to build a strong foundation and instill the confidence and leadership ability they need to succeed in college and ultimately in their long-term careers.

The Future Leaders selected receive:
  • A KPMG Future Leaders Scholarship of $10,000 per year for 4 years of college
  • A three-day KPMG Future Leaders Retreat with Condoleezza Rice at Stanford University from July 15-17, 2018. The retreat will focus on leadership training, career development skills and an introduction to golf clinic
  • A pairing with a mentor for one year through the KPMG Future Leaders Mentoring Program, the mentor being a female executive leader that attended the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, from whom they can seek guidance and support during their freshman year of college
Applicant criteria includes: 
  • High school senior girl planning to enroll in a 4-year undergraduate program for the upcoming fall semester 
  • Proven track record of academic excellence and leadership potential
  • Minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA 
  • Interest in a business or STEM academic track 
  • Active in the community 
  • Demonstrates a significant financial need

Deadline to apply: January 31, 2018

Download the scholarship application.

Cookie Orders Start TOMORROW!

Tomorrow begins the most wonderful time of year for Girl Scouts! We’ve been counting down to the big day by talking about the foundation of the Cookie Program—the 5 Skills. Check out our previous posts on Goal Setting and Decision Making and Money Management. In case you missed it, this is a great recap of what this year’s Cookie Program has in store!

While the first three skills are more focused on the logistical side of business, these two—people skills and business ethics—are centered on people. From your customers and your team to yourself, people are the biggest part of business success!

People Skills: Girls learn how to talk (and listen!) to their customers, as well as learning how to work as a team with other girls.

Your team: Whether girls are working towards a troop or individual goal, each Girl Scout will have a team to rely on to help her be successful. Your team may include fellow troop members, parents, or an adult volunteer. Who’s on your team? Remember, these people are excited to see Girl Scouts achieve their goals, and they are willing to help you! At the end of it all, don’t forget to thank everyone for their support.

Your customers: It can be uncomfortable to talk to new people, but the more you do it, the easier it gets! It’s important to improve this skill, because your customers are more likely to understand and be eager to support your goals. Practice your sales speech in your troop—practice makes perfect!

Learning to listen to what others are saying is a trait of a strong leader, and it is a large part of being a strong team player, which is an important piece of girls doing well in school (in group projects, on sports teams, and on the playground) and, later, at work.

Business Ethics: Girls act honestly and responsibly during every step of the cookie sale.

“Honest” and “responsible” are both a part of the Girl Scout Law, but the Cookie Program puts it into practice. From respecting the opinions of others during goal setting discussions to honoring promises with each fulfilled order, girls are learning what it means to be a considerate, passionate, accountable, courageous, and empowered girl leader.

2017 Cookie Program Shout Out: Girl Scouts in Troop 30956 spent a week camping together at Camp Hawthorne Ridge. We heard the weather was rainy, but the girls made a million memories anyway!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sculpting the responsible leader and the ambitious achiever

Three days. Just three days away from opening the door to the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world. We’re currently in a countdown to program kickoff day on Friday, Jan. 5. Check out the first Cookie Program countdown post on goal setting.

The 5 Skills all work together to help make the most of cookie season!

Decision Making: Girls decide where and when to sell cookies, how to market their sale, and what to do with their earnings.

After setting your goals for cookie proceeds, the next question is, “How will I accomplish my goal?”

Where and when will you sell cookies? Create a plan to go door-to-door, visit local business, hold a booth sale and set up your Digital Cookie site. Make sure you’re always partnering with adults for safety!

How will you market your sale? Marketing is a process of promoting and selling a product. Because we’re selling cookies to power amazing adventures and projects, consider sharing your Girl Scout experiences with your customers.

Here are a few ways to match a marketing skill to a selling opportunity!
  • When going door-to-door, leave a door hanger including an adult’s contact information if no one is home. (Available at gswpa.org/cookie-resources.)
  • With a business owner’s permission, girls can leave their order card at a workplace. When possible, make a sign, include a short paragraph about yourself and your goals, and follow up with a personal thank you.
  • With a small, extra touch, you can build on a sale you’ve already made. A thank you card during cookie delivery is thoughtful and builds customer loyalty year after year. Because booth sales happen after initial cookie delivery, consider telling your customers where your booth will be, just in case they run out!
By figuring out these pieces, you’re making decisions to support your plan and goals for the 2018 Cookie Program. Decision making, big or small, is a part of each girl’s life. This program develops the skill to help them make good ones!

Money Management: Developing a budget, taking cookie orders, and handling customers’ money are tasks done by each girl.

Money management skills are a part of each step of the Cookie Program. From planning how to spend the proceeds and understanding how many cookies need sold to tracking which customers need to pay and collecting the funds, it’s formulated to grow a sense of responsibility and ownership.

Here are a few tips when managing money:
  • When preparing to use your proceeds, try to think of all expenses like parking fees, gas money, food cost, and application fees.
  • Be consistent with your order process. When you receive money put it all in the same, safe place and mark it on your order card.
  • Always have a plan for keeping money safe. Girls should avoid having large amounts of cash or keeping it at home or at school. 

2017 Cookie Program Shout Out: Troop 36142 in Erie County planned a trip to Niagara Falls, which was funded with their cookie proceeds. They explored the Cave of Winds, rode the Maid of the Mist, and ate lunch at the Rainforest Café. What an adventure!