FAQs

Buying Girl Scout Cookies

When do Girl Scout Cookies go on sale and how do I find them?

Girl Scout Cookies can be purchased only from girls participating in Girl Scouts and only during your local council’s cookie season. To find cookies, learn when cookie season starts in your community, and locate cookie sales booths, simply enter your zip code in the Find Cookies! search box.

You can also call your local Girl Scout council. You can find its phone number(s), website, Facebook page, and Twitter account on the Council Finder page of our website. Volunteers or staff there can help you find a cookie booth or a Girl Scout group near you. A council conducts only one cookie sale per year. Most of these activities take place between January and April, but some occur as early as September.

Finally, try our free mobile Cookie Finder app for your iOS® or Android® device. You can search for cookie sales in your neighborhood, get details on your favorite Girl Scout Cookies, and use social media to learn more and tell your friends. 

Can I buy Girl Scout Cookies online?

Yes. With the Digital Cookie™ platform, Girl Scouts are able to sell in a fun, safe, and interactive space. This online cookie selling enhancement to girls’ sales adds a digital layer that expands and strengthens the ways girls learn five essential skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics. A bold step into the future of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, the Digital Cookie platform introduces vital twenty-first-century lessons about online marketing, app usage, and ecommerce to Girl Scouts who will be in the driver's seat of their own Digital Cookie businesses.

Girl Scouts of the USA currently engages girls and consumers in online and mobile Girl Scout Cookie Program experiences. Select councils offer girls the ability to sell cookies online and via mobile handheld devices. To find out if the Digital Cookie platform is available in your area, visit www.girlscouts.org/digitalcookie for a list of participating Girl Scout council offices.

Girl Scouts of the USA realizes that many Girl Scouts and their loyal cookie customers enjoy having the option of selling and buying cookies online, and we hope to expand online and mobile offerings to more girls and consumers in future cookie seasons. We caution against purchases of Girl Scout Cookies found for sale online at auction and via community list sites, such as eBay and Amazon, because GSUSA, your local Girl Scout council, and our licensed cookie bakers cannot guarantee the freshness or integrity of these cookies. In many instances, these cookies are actually expired. Further, purchasing cookies in this way does not support Girl Scouts participating in the cookie program. 

Are Girl Scout Cookies shipped?

Girl Scout Cookies purchased via the Digital Cookie platform can be shipped within the United States, including Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, and to military bases with an APO/FPO address. To find out if the Digital Cookie platform is available in your area, visit www.girlscouts.org/digitalcookie for a list of participating Girl Scout council offices.

Why are Girl Scout Cookies available only for a short time?

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 sale is just one of those activities. And because only girls may sell Girl Scout Cookies, their market availability is normally limited to the six- to eight-week period when they are engaged in the program in their local council. 

What is the value of the Girl Scout Cookie Program to girls?

When you buy Girl Scout Cookies, you power amazing adventures and life-changing opportunities for girls—from trips to our nation's capital to community projects, from summer camp to charitable donations. The more cookies you buy, the more you help today’s girls transform into tomorrow’s G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders)™.  And it's about the skills a girl gains from interacting directly with you, the cookie customer! It's about the experience of running her very own cookie business, working with others—and building a lifetime of confidence as she learns five skills (goals setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics) essential to leadership, success, and life.

 

Product Information

What if I'm not satisfied with my Girl Scout Cookies?

Contact the cookie baker if for any reason you aren't satisfied with a package of Girl Scout Cookies you purchased. The baker contact information is listed on each package. 

How can I be sure my Girl Scout Cookies were baked for the current season?

Every Girl Scout Cookie package is stamped with a seasonal “use or freeze by” date. This date corresponds with the end of each cookie season. Accordingly, Girl Scout Cookies with a 2017 date would be baked for the 2016–2017 season.

What are the sizes, quantities, and prices of Girl Scout Cookies?

Girl Scout Cookies are sold by weight, not by size or number. The number and size of cookies vary by variety and by baker. This information is featured on every package. You can also learn about the cookies in the Meet the Cookies section of the Girl Scout website.

Packages of Girl Scout Cookies sell for different prices in different areas of the country. Each of the 112 Girl Scout councils sets its own price, based on its needs and its knowledge of the local market. Today's prices reflect both the current cost of cookies and the realities of providing Girl Scout activities in an ever-changing economic environment. Up to 75 percent of the price of every package goes directly to Girl Scouts in your local area. To find out which local council serves your area, use the Find Cookies! search box.

Who bakes Girl Scout Cookies?

Currently, two commercial bakers are licensed by Girl Scouts of the USA to produce Girl Scout Cookies: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.

Why are my Caramel deLites® now called Samoas®? Why are my Trefoils® now called Shortbread?

Each Girl Scout council chooses a licensed baker, either ABC Bakers or Little Brownie Bakers. Each baker uses different names for some cookies. So a cookie may be called Trefoils® when baked by one baker and Shortbread when baked by the other. The two cookies look and taste similar, but the name of the cookie and the recipe are dependent on the baker. The exceptions are Thin Mints® as well as Girl Scout S’mores™, which are the names used by both bakers.

How do I find out the ingredients, nutritional value, and allergen information for Girl Scout Cookies?

Cookie ingredients, nutritional information, and allergen information are clearly listed on both the cookie package and the cookie order form. This information can also be found in the Meet the Cookies section of the Girl Scout website.

With special regard for allergen concerns, our bakers bake Girl Scout Cookies in state-of-the-art facilities, and consumers can be assured that every required safety protocol is adhered to in order to prevent cross-contamination of ingredients. Consumers with additional questions can find out more by visiting the baker websites: www.abcsmartcookies.com or www.littlebrownie.com. To find out which licensed baker supplies your council with cookies, please contact your local Girl Scout council. Ingredients may differ slightly by baker.

Who selects Girl Scout Cookie varieties?

The licensed bakers may offer up to eight varieties of Girl Scout Cookies. Only three types are mandatory: Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-Si-Dos, and Shortbread/Trefoils. Girl Scouts of the USA reviews and approves the varieties proposed by the bakers. Any of the five optional cookies can be changed every year.

To see a listing of all current varieties of Girl Scout Cookies, along with pictures and descriptions, go to Meet the Cookies.

Are all Girl Scout Cookies kosher?

Yes. All Girl Scout Cookies are kosher. For more information about cookie ingredients, please see Meet the Cookies, or visit our bakers’ websites: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.

What are the bestselling Girl Scout Cookies?

The top sellers are:

  • Thin Mints
  • Caramel deLites/Samoas
  • Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs
  • Do-si-dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich
  • Shortbread/Trefoils 
Where can I find recipes using Girl Scout Cookies?

You can find recipes on our Cookie Recipes page or on the websites of our two licensed bakers, ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. You can also visit Pinterest to find and share recipes.

Who are the girls on the Girl Scout Cookie boxes?

All of the girls pictured on the packages are registered Girl Scouts or Girl Scout alumnae. Every package shows Girl Scouts in action and participating in real Girl Scout program activities.

Do Girl Scout Cookies have trans fats?

Girl Scouts of the USA is proud that all Girl Scout Cookies have "zero trans fat per serving," with the same great taste that has made them one of America's favorite treats over the years. All varieties contain less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving, which meets the FDA guidelines for the "zero trans fat" designation. Selected varieties can claim 100 percent trans fat–free status, meaning there's not a speck of trans fat in the whole package. For a list of specific cookie ingredients, please see Meet the Cookies.

Is high-fructose corn syrup used in Girl Scout Cookies?

We trust our licensed bakers, who are industry leaders, to develop recipes using ingredients that will produce the best-tasting and highest-quality cookies while simultaneously addressing industry trends, scientific trends, and, of course, consumer preference. One of our bakers, Little Brownie Bakers, has removed HFCS from its cookies. For a list of specific cookie ingredients, please see Meet the Cookies, or visit our bakers’ websites: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.

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. Per GSUSA's licensed bakers, it is necessary to use palm oil in our cookies for the sake of shelf life, to offer customers the highest quality in taste and appearance, 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.

The world's food supply is intricately tied to the use of palm oil, so we believe promoting sustainable manufacturing principles is the most responsible approach for Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Cookie development. At Girl Scouts, we have an opportunity to use our strong voice to bring about positive change on this very important issue, and our bakers have made the following commitments:

  • GSUSA and our licensed bakers are members of—and our bakers source palm oil exclusively from—the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization of growers, buyers, manufacturers, conservationists, and other interested parties striving to develop and follow best practices to ensure sustainability.
  • Our licensed bakers joined other industry leaders in making a pledge to move to a segregated, certified-sustainable palm oil source, based on market availability.
  • Our licensed bakers are committed to using as little palm oil as possible in Girl Scout Cookies and have committed to continuing to research viable alternatives. Please visit www.littlebrownie.com or www.abcsmartcookies.com to read more about our bakers' positions on palm oil.

American palm oil use represents approximately 2 percent of total global consumption, and palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies represents a tiny fraction of that. Thanks to the encouragement of and partnership with Girl Scout members, we and our bakers have realized the power of the Girl Scout brand to make a positive difference in the move toward sustainably produced palm oil.

What does the GreenPalm logo on the side of my Girl Scout Cookie package represent?

The GreenPalm logo on Girl Scout Cookie packages signifies a commitment by our licensed bakers to developing a worldwide supply of sustainable palm oil. (Unfortunately, we have not been able to assure a fully sustainable supply in the quantities required by our bakers.) GreenPalm investment supports farmers' initiatives to become sustainable, and the presence of the logo on cookie packages ensures consumers and Girl Scout members that our bakers have purchased enough GreenPalm “certificates” to offset 100 percent of the palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies. Visit www.greenpalm.org to learn more about these certificates.

What’s the significance of the RSPO logo on the side of my Girl Scout Cookie package?

Little Brownie Bakers, one of our licensed bakers, uses an RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) logo on its cookie packages because Little Brownie Bakers shifted from GreenPalm to the “Mass Balance” system. The RSPO logo signifies that this baker has “contributed to the production of certified sustainable palm oil” and was audited by the RSPO to ensure its compliance with RSPO criteria. Visit www.greenpalm.org to learn more about RSPO.

Are Girl Scout Cookies "sustainable"?

Yes. Sustainability refers to social, environmental, and economic factors that an organization addresses to provide value not only to consumers, but to the world. Girl Scouts is very proud of the initiatives its licensed bakers report on annually that speak to their corporate sustainability and social responsibility. The Girl Scout commitment to “make the world a better place” is a tenet we and our licensed bakers take very seriously.

Is the cocoa used in Girl Scout Cookies “conflict-free”?

Our licensed cookie bakers are actively working with their suppliers to ensure that the cocoa used in Girl Scout Cookies is responsibly sourced. Our bakers are required to provide assurance that cocoa sourced for Girl Scout Cookies is child- and slave-labor free. In order to provide this assurance, our bakers require compliance from their cocoa suppliers through strict supplier codes of conduct. Our bakers are also working with third-party organizations focused on creating a sustainable marketplace that rewards cocoa farmers who prohibit unethical practices.

GSUSA understands that, in spite of the best efforts of our manufacturers and the ongoing work by their suppliers, we also have a responsibility to provide leadership on the topic of slave labor and human trafficking. We are committed to using our powerful voice and brand wherever possible to effect change in this area.

Are there GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies?

Girl Scouts of the USA is committed to providing cookie customers with the highest quality products available. We understand that customers have questions about the foods they choose to eat and GSUSA works alongside its trusted bakers to develop recipes using ingredients that will produce the best-tasting and highest-quality cookies.

At the current time, there are genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in some Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors and depending on specific cookie recipes. In some markets, the specialty-ingredient Girl Scout S’mores sandwich cookie baked by Little Brownie Bakers is made with ingredients that are verified as not containing genetically modified organisms. Girl Scouts recognizes that many people have concerns regarding GMO ingredients, and we monitor member and consumer opinion on this matter while simultaneously addressing industry trends, scientific trends, and, of course, consumer preference.

It is important to note that there is worldwide scientific support for the safety of currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops. The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment. It is also important to note that in the future, GMO ingredients may offer new, cost-effective alternatives to feeding the world’s growing population

Are there (PHOs) in Girl Scout Cookies?

ABC Bakers, one of our licensed bakers, no longer includes partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in its Girl Scout Cookie varieties. This year Little Brownie Bakers offers five cookie varieties with no partially hydrogenated oils: Trefoils®, Do-si-dos®, Girl Scout S’mores™, Savannah Smiles®, and gluten-free Toffee-tastic™.  Little Brownie Bakers is phasing out PHOs in Thin Mints, Samoas®, and Tagalongs® in this 2016–2017 cookie season. Please check your cookie carton for ingredients.

For a list of specific ingredients in our cookies, please see Meet the Cookies or visit the websites of our two licensed bakers: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.

Why are my Girl Scout Cookie boxes labeled “produced with genetic engineering”?

Starting with the 2016–2017 cookie season, some Girl Scout Cookies will include a disclosure statement—“produced with genetic engineering”—on the side panel of the box as a result of Vermont Law Act 120 requiring food containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled.

GSUSA will abide by the recently passed bipartisan legislation which created a nationwide mandatory disclosure standard for products made with GMOs. We respect and understand that many customers want to know what is in their food and where it comes from. We fully support transparency with consumers.

Should people with diabetes buy or consume Girl Scout Cookies?

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most people with diabetes can enjoy sugars in moderation as part of their meal plans, depending on blood glucose control and body weight. We encourage consumers concerned about sugar intake to discuss dietary options with a doctor or registered dietitian.

For consumer convenience, each of our licensed bakers lists dietary exchanges on the cookie package and the cookie order form so that people with diabetes and parents of children with diabetes can make informed choices. The amount of sugar and carbohydrates is also listed on the box. Dietary exchanges should always be consulted, even if a product is labeled "sugarless." With regard to labeling, terms such as "sugar free" or "sugarless" are not synonymous with "diabetic-friendly," owing to the carbohydrates.

Don't Girl Scout Cookies contribute to childhood obesity?

Girl Scout Cookies are sold for a short time every year and are considered a snack or special treat. As with all treats, they should be enjoyed in moderation.

Starting with our youngest members, the Girl Scout organization promotes a healthy lifestyle for girls, which includes a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercise. Our health and fitness programs encourage girls to adopt fitness and healthy eating habits early in life and to continue them into adulthood. Girls are also taught to consider ingredients and portion size when choosing snacks.

The Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) released a research review entitled Weighing In: Helping Girls Be Healthy Today, Healthy Tomorrow that addresses various underlying causes that have led to the epidemic of obesity and of being overweight among children and adolescents, and the lifestyles, culture, and behaviors that have contributed to this condition. Read more about this research review. 

Why don't you offer cookies that are whole wheat, wheat-free, sugar-free, casein-free, organic, low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat, non-fat, fat-free, and the like?

Girl Scouts Cookies are produced only once a year for a limited time, making the production of specialty cookies, such as those described in the question, difficult. In addition, the demand has not been great enough to make it economically feasible. Each of our bakers strives to use the most healthful ingredients available in the production of one of America’s most trusted sweet treats. Don’t forget to check the labels—you may just find a variety that fits your dietary restrictions or goals. 

Do you offer vegan cookies?

Yes. For more information, visit the Meet the Cookies section of the Girl Scout website or check our bakers’ websites: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers.

Are there gluten-free Girl Scout Cookies?

Responding to an important consumer trend, Girl Scouts will be selling Trios™ and Toffee-tastic™ Girl Scout Cookies, both gluten-free, again during the 2016–17 cookie season. Please check with your local council about availability. For more information on Trios™, visit ABC Bakers, and for Toffee-tastic™, visit Little Brownie Bakers.

Is my Girl Scout Cookie package recyclable?

Girl Scout Cookie packages are intended to be recyclable, but may or may not be accepted by your local recycling service depending on the types of materials they process.

ABC Bakers produces several Girl Scout Cookie varieties in soft-pack packaging only, without a carton. The film overwrap is similar to the protective wrapping found inside the boxes of all cookie varieties, and is recyclable. Film overwrap packaging is currently the "greenest" packaging available for Girl Scout Cookies, eliminating thousands of pounds of paperboard from the waste stream.

 

Girl Scout S’mores™

What is the Girl Scout S’mores cookie and why is it being introduced now?

The Girl Scout S’mores cookie is a newly introduced cookie for 2016–2017, released to coincide with the celebration of 100 years of Girl Scouts selling cookies and to highlight Girl Scouts’ strong connection to s’mores and the outdoors. 

Will both bakers carry the same Girl Scout S’mores cookie?

Girl Scout councils contract with one of two licensed bakers—Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers. Each offers a different version of the Girl Scout S’mores cookie, therefore only one version will be available through each council, depending on its baker.

How are the two Girl Scout S’mores cookies different?

The ABC Bakers Girl Scout S’mores cookie is a crispy graham cookie double dipped in yummy crème icing and finished with a scrumptious chocolatey coating. It strives to provide an “innovative take on this truly classic treat.”

The Little Brownie Bakers Girl Scout S’mores cookie is a crunchy graham sandwich cookie with a chocolate and marshmallowy filling. This s’mores-inspired cookie, made with natural flavors and specialty ingredients, was created with emerging consumer trends in mind. Each cookie features an embossed image of one of the five Girls’ Choice Outdoor badges.

Why are there two different Girl Scout S’mores cookies?

There’s no wrong way to eat s’mores! Some people lightly roast their marshmallows, others burn them to a crisp. Some prefer double chocolate, while others might use Girl Scout Cookies as a substitute for graham crackers. That’s why, in conjunction with our two licensed Girl Scout Cookie bakers, we developed two distinct Girl Scout S’mores cookies. 

Which councils will be carrying Girl Scout S’mores cookies?

Most councils will be selling Girl Scout S’mores cookies. Contact your local Girl Scout council to find out if they will offer Girl Scout S’mores. 

Why did Girl Scouts introduce a s’mores-inspired cookie?

GSUSA introduced a s’mores-inspired cookie as a way to highlight the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies and Girl Scouts’ strong connection to s’mores and the outdoors.

What are “specialty ingredients?”

“Specialty ingredients” means the product contains no artificial colors or flavors, and is free of preservatives—this is indicated on the ingredients label. 

How do you explain the lack of marshmallow in Girl Scout S’mores cookies?

These products were design to be reminiscent of a s’more—thus they contain the characteristic flavors of that campfire treat. Marshmallow is not a naturally occurring food and is not kosher. This cookie contains flavors reminiscent of marshmallow using natural ingredients and flavors to ensure the cookie is kosher—and delicious.

Why is my Girl Scout S’mores cookie priced differently from other Girl Scout Cookie varieties?

Like other similar consumer products, such as our gluten-free cookie varieties, these cookies could be priced higher than other Girl Scout Cookies, reflecting the cost of production and/or specialty ingredients.

Why is my council only offering one of the Girl Scout S’mores cookies?

Girl Scout councils contract with one of two licensed bakers, whose recipes and ingredients may differ. Contact your local Girl Scout council to find out which baker they partner with. 

 

Selling Girl Scout Cookies

Who can sell Girl Scout Cookies?

All girl members may participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Although parents and Girl Scout adults may assist, it is the girl who makes the sale, sets learning and sales goals, and learns the entrepreneurial skills that are part of the program.

Does a Girl Scout troop have to sell cookies if it doesn’t want to?

Girl Scout product sales offer girls a great way to finance their Girl Scout activities and special projects. Participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program is voluntary and requires written permission by a parent or guardian. Annually, about 65 percent of registered Girl Scouts choose to participate in the program. 

Can Girl Scouts who are not in troops participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program?

Yes! To do so, registered Girl Scouts must abide by guidelines published by Girl Scouts of the USA and the local Girl Scout council, and be supervised by a council-trained adult. For more information about how Girl Scouts in your area can participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, please contact your local Girl Scout council.

I've moved, and now I have to pre-order my cookies. Why is selling and buying cookies different from one community to the next?

Each Girl Scout council determines its precise method of helping local Girl Scouts sell cookies to customers. Cookies can generally be purchased via the following means, or some combination thereof:

  • Pre-order. Girl Scout councils provide participating girls with an order card and, for some, access to a mobile app, to collect orders from potential customers. Girls turn in their order cards, the council orders the cookies, and then girls go back to the customer to deliver them a few weeks later.
  • Direct sale. Councils avoid the order-card process and provide girls with cookies to sell directly to customers.
  • Booth sales. Councils allow girls to sell cookies at booths set up inside and outside various retail establishments. To find the location of a cookie booth near you or learn when cookies go on sale, simply enter your zip code in the Find Cookies! search box.
  • Online and mobile sales. Most councils, now or in the near future, will participate in the Digital Cookie platform, offering girls the ability to sell cookies online and from mobile handheld devices—though these enhanced sales channels are only available to select girls and troops within the jurisdictions of participating councils. Some girls market their online cookie businesses by inviting customers to visit their personalized cookie websites via an emailed link. Other girls take in-person orders using a mobile app designed specifically for Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program may only sell cookies according to their council’s policies and procedures, and within the council’s published sales time frame.

How does Girl Scouts ensure the safety of girls who sell cookies?

The safety and security of our members is always our chief concern—and we have strict safety guidelines. Girl Scouts, depending on their age, must be accompanied or supervised by an adult when selling/delivering Girl Scout Cookies or use the buddy system when selling/delivering Girl Scout Cookies door-to-door. Adults must be present at all times during cookie booth sales. Girls participating in online marketing initiatives, including the Digital Cookie platform, must print out Girl Scouts’ Internet Safety Pledge and read and sign it together with their parents/guardians.

Do girls earn Girl Scout badges by participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program?

Girls may earn the official Cookie Business badge and the Financial Literacy badge at every level of Girl Scouting. Girls may also earn the annual Cookie Activity pin. Badges are earned based on completing established program activities. Separately, girls can also earn rewards based on their sales activity, such as recognition items and program credits. Please contact your local Girl Scout council to learn more about the rewards established for girls in your community.

Can Girl Scouts donate cookies to military personnel or local charities?

Girls may participate in a council-approved "Gift of Caring" or “Cookie Share” program that allows girls to collect donations of cookies for military personnel or local charities. Any gifts in quantity to military personnel should be coordinated through the military or related personnel at both the place of origin and the place of receipt. Large shipments should be coordinated by the local Girl Scout council to assure that the cookies arrive where intended. Gifts should not be sent to U.S. bases or bases overseas where USA Girl Scouts Overseas (USAGSO) is involved in product sales. Girl Scouts should observe their council’s jurisdiction when selling or marketing products for a gifting program. 

What happens to the leftover cookies at the end of the cookie sale?

To ensure freshness, Girl Scouts only sell cookies produced for the current season. Therefore, if a council or troop has cookies left at the end of the sale, it is encouraged to work with local food pantries and other charitable organizations to distribute cookies as a special treat for people seeking food relief services. GSUSA works with our licensed bakers to ensure that they too have an annual plan for responsibly managing leftover cookie inventory.

 

Cookie Revenue

How can I be sure that Girl Scout Cookie Program revenue supports the local Girl Scouts in my community?

When you buy cookies from a Girl Scout, you are investing in so much more than a box of treats—you are investing in a girl’s future and the future leadership of our country. Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls learn five essential life skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.

One hundred percent of the net proceeds from Girl Scout Cookie sales are reinvested back into the originating council to fund activities and Girl Scouts’ Take Action projects, which positively impact their communities. Each council determines its own revenue structure depending on its cookie cost, local retail price, and the amount that is shared with participating troops and groups. On average, Girl Scout council net revenue is approximately 65–75 percent of the local retail price; the amount shared with participating Girl Scout troops, referred to as troop proceeds, is approximately 10–20 percent of the local retail price.

Cookie program revenue is a critical source of funding for local Girl Scout councils and is often what makes it possible to reach girls in hard-to-serve areas and maintain camps and properties. Additionally, Girl Scout troops must pool their proceeds to pay for program supplies, activities, and group travel. Girl Scouts may not earn proceeds as individuals. However, Girl Scout councils offer a wide variety of recognition items, program- and store-related credits, and travel experiences that girls are eligible to earn individually based on their sales. All troop proceeds and other rewards earned through participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program must be used to enhance each girl’s Girl Scout experience.

Does any of the money from cookie sales go to Girl Scouts of the USA (the national Girl Scout organization)?

Girl Scouts of the USA is paid a royalty by its licensed bakers for use of Girl Scout trademarks based on gross annual sales. Girl Scout councils do not provide any portion of their cookie revenue to Girl Scouts of the USA and no other revenue from cookie sales goes to Girl Scouts of the USA.

Girl Scouts of the USA provides contractual services and approves all program, marketing, and sales materials developed by the bakers. GSUSA also provides coordination and training for national media activities, safety standards for girls and volunteers, a world-renowned girl leadership program, and full support during cookie season.

Is my purchase of Girl Scout Cookies tax-deductible?

No, if you keep the cookies. If you buy Girl Scout Cookies and take the cookies home (to consume them), you've purchased a product at a fair market value. For this reason, no part of the price of a package of Girl Scout Cookies used in this way is tax-deductible.

Yes, if you leave the cookies with Girl Scouts as a donation. Many Girl Scouts ask customers to pay for one or more packages of cookies for use in their Take Action or service projects or "Gift of Caring" programs. Customers not receiving Girl Scout Cookies don't benefit directly from paying for them, so those individuals may treat the purchase price of the donated cookies as a charitable contribution. Additionally, customers may wish to donate cookies they have purchased from a Girl Scout to another organization, which may qualify as a donation to the organization receiving the cookies and may therefore be tax-deductible. 

Does any part of Girl Scout Cookie Program revenue support organizations other than the local Girl Scout council?

One hundred percent of the net proceeds from Girl Scout Cookie sales are reinvested back into the originating council to fund activities and Girl Scouts’ Take Action projects, which positively impact their communities. Girl Scout troops set goals on how to spend their proceeds on program-related activities, such as paying their own way to a community event or museum, or funding other program outings. Girl Scout troops may also choose to use proceeds to purchase materials for a Take Action or service project to benefit the community.

Girl Scout Cookies can be found in some popular ice cream treats. Can any business use Girl Scout Cookies in its products?

A restaurant or small business may use Girl Scout Cookies in its desserts, provided it buys the Girl Scout Cookies from a Girl Scout, but it cannot use the Girl Scout name or trademarks to brand and market the products. Prohibited uses are “Thin Mint Shake,” “Girl Scouts Cupcake,” “Thin Mint Cake,” and similar constructions. Girl Scouts of the USA has contractual relationships with select companies to include Girl Scout Cookies in their products and to use the Girl Scout name and trademarks in conjunction with those products. These rights are granted under national licensing agreements, and Girl Scouts of the USA is the only entity that may enter into such an agreement. For more on rules and regulations pertaining to the Girl Scout brand or to inquire about becoming a licensee, email permissions@girlscoouts.org.