By John Graves of Girl Scouts of North East Ohio
It’s Girl Scout Cookie season again, and our troops have gone high tech to make sure it’s as easy for you to get some Thin Mints as Chris Rock and his daughters made it for Hollywood’s A-list during the Oscars last month.
(Photo courtesy of John Graves)
Several years ago, if you didn’t have cash or your checkbook handy, you lost out on delicious cookies and your local troop lost a sale. So we implemented a mobile and online sales initiative. It’s been a win-win-win situation.
Now it’s never been easier for customers to buy cookies; our sales are up nationwide; and our girls are learning invaluable business and technology skills.
Chances are, even if you don’t have cash or a check handy, you have a debit or credit card in your wallet or purse. Thirty Girl Scout councils and 3,800 troops nationwide use the Sage Mobile Payments solution. They can accept plastic payments on smartphones and tablets – anytime, anywhere.
As a result, Girl Scout Cookie sales have increased nationwide. Participating Girl Scout councils sold an average of five boxes per transaction. That’s up from four boxes per transaction in 2014.
The Girl Scouts Louisiana East in New Orleans using a mobile payments solution increased sales by 13 percent, and the per-girl-average rose from 156 boxes to 177 boxes. And the troops in my Council, Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, using a mobile payments product saw their cookie sales increase almost 14 percent.
Sales receipts go straight into the troops’ bank accounts. They can track all transactions in real-time and they receive detailed daily reports that document those deposits. Our troops can sell at conventions and other events that attract thousands of participants. The troops couldn’t keep up in those kind of busy, hectic environment venues without it.
We realize you sometimes just have a craving for a Samoa, and need to find a box right away! The Cookie Finder mobile app can show you where local troops have set up shop.
We’ve also expanded our e-commerce capabilities. The Digital Cookie 2.0 online platform helps girls manage their cookie businesses online. In true Girl Scout-style, the girls start the sales process. You receive an invite to visit a personalized cookie website and place your order. Have cookies shipped to your front door, or donate them to charity.
Our mobile and e-commerce initiatives are critical to the success of our annual tradition. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is our primary fundraising event. It generates more than $780 million. One hundred percent of the net revenue stays with the local council and troops.
The program also teaches girls five essential life skills: goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.
John Graves is chief financial officer for Girl Scouts of North East Ohio in Macedonia, Ohio. Crain’s Cleveland Business selected him as 2015 Nonprofit CFO of the Year. Girl Scouts of the USA Twitter handle is @GirlScouts and John’s handle is @jhgraves.
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