This time of year is so exciting for many of our amazing young entrepreneurs, and the beginning of some real craziness for many of us as we kick into high gear. In an effort to keep you abreast of what is going on, I want to review some of the issues we often face during cookie time, so you are well-informed about what may come up.
During the 2014 cookie program, we dealt with that old internet farce, the so-called Planned Parenthood conspiracy with Girl Scouts. We received telephone calls from some upset people; others made a point of letting us (or girls) know they were not purchasing cookies because of Girl Scouts giving money to Planned Parenthood. The truth is, we don't. We haven't, don't, and we are not going to. Because this affected our cookie program sales, our public relations staff has worked ahead to try to address this and provide you with a set of responses around last year's allegations and the real facts. Let me repeat: we do not have any relationship with Planned Parenthood. For more information and the materials we have developed for this year's cookie program, visit our Forms & Resources page.
We have seen some blogs and other materials about the Girl Scout retirement program funding deficit. Yes, there are issues around the full funding of the Girl Scout retirement program. This and other councils pay into the plan annually to fund pensions of long-time Girl Scout employees. However, the plan has been frozen for several years, meaning those of us hired in the last several years have no retirement plan. GSUSA has worked with Congress to shape legislation to address the full funding issues.
Online cookie sales is a new point causing confusion this year. I have had many people tell me they thought the only way girls were selling cookies this year was online. I think the great public relations around the online sales have led the general public to that conclusion. I have assured those to whom I have spoken that online sales are simply another approach to selling cookies in this age of the internet. When 70% of the public says they do not purchase cookies because no one asks them, this is a way to ask them to support girls. Hopefully, as the general public sees girls out and about with cookies, their perception will change.
This year there are two online platforms to purchase cookies. These vary by the two bakers. One is being managed by GSUSA, and the councils using that platform use Little Brownie Bakers for their cookies. We are using COCO, which is the online platform for our baker, ABC, which decided that, to purchase online, you must purchase at least 6 boxes of cookies to make the shipping costs seem reasonable. Thus, you cannot purchase only one box of cookies online from our baker.
Through the online cookie platform, girls send emails to potential customers, so that they may purchase cookies. Depending on the email sent, girls either are asking customers to purchase cookies that they will then deliver, or purchase cookies that will be delivered by the cookie baker (in which case, customers must pay applicable shipping fees).
We are looking forward to a great cookie sale and hope you are, too! Please let us know if there is other information that would make your girls more successful as they are out selling. Thanks, again, for your hard work during this time of year.