Digital Cookies Takes On A New Meaning

December 11, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) this month unveiled Digital Cookie, the first national digital platform in the history of the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Nearly 90 of the Girl Scouts’ 112 national councils are expected to participate in the initial phase of Digital Cookie this munchie season. Enhancements and improvements are expected in the future Digital Cookie 2.0 and by the end of 2015, most, if not all, councils should be involved.

Digital Cookie 1.0 adds a digital layer that expands and strengthens the ways girls learn the essential five skills of the program: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. From inception to launch, the Digital Cookie platform was about three years in the making, with an approximately cost of $15 million, including research, development and budgeting for future iterations of the platform, according to the organization. GUSA experts counseled with both cookie bakers to create both platforms, along with various IT vendors.

Customers will be able to buy Girl Scout Cookies through two separate digital sales platforms, depending on their market area. Some girls will market their online cookie business by inviting customers via email to visit their personalized cookie websites. Other girls will take in-person orders using a unique mobile app newly enhanced to allow for credit card processing and direct shipping, in addition to directing customers to a non-personalized website where cookies can be purchased.

Previously, Girl Scouts were not allowed to sell cookies online. For safety reasons, Facebook is the only approved social networking site where girls may post a link to their cookie selling sites, and both girls and caretakers will sign an Internet safety pledge vowing to use the Internet safely and responsibly, according to GUSA.

Girls and their caregivers take an Internet safety pledge before using the web-based platform, and caregivers must approve all updates and changes girls make when customizing their Digital Cookie site. Girls using the mobile platform will adhere to the same safety standards as those participating in traditional Girl Scout Cookie sales.

Cookie season generally runs from December through April but varies by council. Each year, Girl Scouts sell about 200 million boxes of cookies, generating almost $800 million in cookie sales. About three-quarters of revenue from each box sold goes to the local council, with 25 percent to the bakeries that secure licensing from national headquarters, which receives royalties.

To see if Digital Cookie is available in your area, visit www.girlscouts.org/digitalcookie