Cookie Shortage Conversation, Cookie Inventory & Cupboard Updates, Climb with Courage, Cookie Spirit Award Winners, How to Manage Troop inventory, Credit Card & Helpful Resources, Planned Orders, Koala Krew & Direct-Ship Orders, Combo Patches, and Assisting Troops with Cookie Finances.
In this edition:
- Cookie Shortage Conversation
- Cookie Inventory & Cupboard Updates
- Climbing with Courage Through a Cookie Shortage
- Cookie Spirit Award Winners
- How to Manage Troop Cookie Inventory
- Cookie Booths: Credit Cards & Helpful Reports
- First Cookie Booth of the Week Winners
- Planned Orders
- Troop Cookie Booth Requests
- Forward to Families: Koala Krew & Direct-Ship Orders, 5 Ways to Sell With Low or No Inventory
- Cookie Combo Personalized Patches
For Service Unit Cookie Managers:
Cookie Shortage Conversation: How we got here, what we think will happen next
Last night, more than 370 volunteers joined River Valleys staff or an informal conversation about the current state of the cookie program and what we think will happen next.
Our COO Jen Thorson summarized the information we shared in the email that accompanied this edition of the Cookie Press.
You can also review a recording of the session (We started the recording a few minutes late but didn’t miss much. It’s two hours long!)
There were many questions raised, and the chat was robust! Here are the FAQ’s from the session.
Cookie Inventory & Cupboard Updates
Now through March 6, we continue to limit troops with appointments at our on-demand, by appointment Council Cupboards to 6 total cases of cookies per appointment. You must have an appointment to visit the cupboards in Blaine, Burnsville, Mankato, Plymouth, Rochester, Roseville, and Woodbury. Staff at the cupboards will be asking to view your appointment confirmation email or a printed copy. Before your cupboard visit, check the inventory updates to view the varieties in stock.
You likely have questions about what to expect next week with cookie inventory and cupboards. Our goal is to keep you in the know with the latest updates, without overwhelming your inbox.
Here’s the scoop on next week:
- Metro on-demand, by appointment cupboards will be closed Wednesday and Thursday (March 9-10). This includes locations in Blaine, Burnsville, Plymouth, Roseville, and Woodbury. Rochester and Mankato cupboards are closed Thursday.
- The Eden Prairie Express Cupboard is closed for the season.
- Anyone with a Wednesday or Thursday appointment may use that confirmation to visit the same cupboard at any time Friday-Sunday (March 11-13).
- This may lead to longer wait times when the cupboards re-open. Your understanding and patience is appreciated in advance.
- There will be limits on cases per appointment next week. We do not yet know the limit, as soon as we do, we will tell you.
- There is no guarantee on variety.
- Regional cupboard planned orders are open and due by 8:00 am on Monday, March 7. Orders will be adjusted to the case maximum and troops with planned orders will be notified.
Other questions we know are on your mind:
- Are we getting more cookies? At this time, we are scheduled to receive a supply of inventory next week. It is likely not enough for demand once again, so there will be maximums applied.
- Will there be more appointments available next week? We will alert you prior to opening appointments. Please limit your appointment to one per troop to help us distribute inventory as widely as possible.
- Will there still be a limit on the number of cases per appointment? We will provide an update on any limit on cases per appointment early next week.
- Is there a limit on the number of appointments a troop can make? We ask that you limit your appointment to one per troop to help us distribute inventory as widely as possible.
Climbing With Courage Through a Cookie Shortage
There’s no sugar-coating it, this shortage of cookie inventory has been down-right difficult. What can you do to help your troop navigate through these times? We’ve got some helpful tips and strategies to share:
- Check out the 5 Ways to Sell Cookies with Low or No Inventory On-hand from last week’s post. Girl Scouts can continue to promote their direct-ship links and that great shipping rate of $6.25 for orders between 6-12 packages!
- Get the troop together for an impromptu video shoot to share the message on how customers can order using the troop ship-only link and share it with your networks!
- Connect with your troop families to determine if they have extra inventory to transfer back to the troop for booths or to help fill outstanding orders for others in the troop.
- If your troop has a cookie booth scheduled, you can definitely hold the booth with the inventory you have in stock. Booth sales have been very robust, and the community is very supportive! If you do have to cancel a booth, remember to drop the booth in Smart Cookies as soon as you can.
- Girl Scouts River Valleys continues to work with our booth partners to schedule booths for the week of March 28-April 3. Available locations/timeslots will be added to Smart Cookies on March 14 between 12:00 pm-5:00 pm CST. Booths will then be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 5:00 pm that evening.
- Have inventory but not enough for a booth? Get creative with marketing! Offer to deliver cookie surprise packs as thoughtful, inexpensive gifts. Deliver some sunshine and cheer with Lemonades and Toast-YAYs, a Thin Mint Double-Mint pack (2 packages of the #1 seller)—You get the idea! Get the troop together to brainstorm clever ideas, bundle up the orders, and deliver the cookie goods!
- Promote the opportunity for cookie donations.
- Have too many Toast-YAY’s? Share the opportunity for cookie customers to donate towards your troop’s Cookie Care Program donation organization.
- No on-hand inventory? Then promote the opportunity for virtual donations to go towards to food shelves, health care workers, and school lunch programs through the council donation program. Either way, each donated package earns the troop proceeds and Girl Scouts credit towards their rewards!
- Have creative ideas your troop is using to move forward? Share the ideas in our Girl Scouts River Valleys Troop Product Program Managers Facebook group. We know our volunteers and Girl Scouts are incredibly creative and that’s why we are #1 for cookie revenue out of all councils!
- Families with orders they are waiting to fill should alert their cookie customers about a delay in receiving their orders. Girl Scouts can access their customer information for online sales in Smart Cookies under Orders, Manage My Orders, then select Print Report option.
- If a customer has ordered cookies through the Girl Scout’s cookie sales link from social media/email/text and does not want to wait any longer, the order can be refunded. As a troop volunteer, you can mimic a girl in Smart Cookies and issue a refund to the customer. Under the “Actions” column, select the three dots and you will see an option to “Refund Order”.
- If a Girl Scout receives an order for delivery but does not have all the varieties to fulfill the order, the order can be adjusted in Smart Cookies prior to approval. Check out the details on how to edit the order in The Smart Cookies Guide for Families.
- Maybe it’s time for a cookie break? It is okay to pause and regroup. Talk to your Girl Scouts to see if they want to sell through their current inventory and then pause until the troop can get additional stock. If you are taking a cookie break, make sure to inform families to turn-off the girl cookie delivery option for their online cookie sales links. Any customers who click on their Girl Scouts’s link will still have the opportunity to order cookies through direct-ship.
- If your troop has made the decision to end their season early, use your Service Unit’s communication channel to set up transfers to other troops. Or, post this inventory on the Girl Scout River Valleys Cookie Swap (invitation code
Cookie Spirit Award Winners
Our cookie volunteers have spirit, yes they do! It’s time to congratulate our Cookie Spirit Award winners for week #1!
- Heather Fairbanks: “Heather has been an amazing resource on the peer-to-peer Troop Volunteer Facebook page. Heather was a regular poster with many questions as we navigated a new (to many) online sales year and it was clear that she was a Smart Cookies pro! She posted numerous screenshots and examples that helped me (and I’m sure many others) tremendously. She has an amazing way of articulating even the most complicated steps to make them easy to understand. I was relieved to see her back for the 2022 sale and continuing with her positive posts. While some expressed frustration with the Peanut Butter Sandwich shortage, she was quick to remind us that this is a great opportunity to teach our Girl Scouts about real-life business lessons. I admire her cookie enthusiasm and promotion of camaraderie instead of competition. She is friendly, helpful, considering, and caring, even when answering the same questions dozens of times.”
- Malcom Martin: “Malcolm goes above and beyond every year for our troop. He gives so much of his time picking up cookies as we need them and booking all the booths. He is at every booth with just the right attitude with cookies available. He has all the supplies we need for the booth along with the credit card reader and cash for making change. He has such a great attitude and is willing to do what it takes to get each Girl Scout the cookies they need. He has been giving his time to our troop for five years and never expects anything in return. Best Cookie Dad I have ever worked with!”
Both Heather and Malcolm will receive a $25 Target gift card and a big hi-five from Girl Scouts River Valleys! Nominate a cookie volunteer for consideration today. Submissions carry over each week.
How to Manage Troop Cookie Inventory
If you have a lot of questions about managing troop inventory there are many useful reports in Smart Cookies that will show you transfers, cookie counts for each Girl Scout, matching what you have with what is in Smart Cookies, and much more!
Select Current from the Reports tab in Smart Cookies.
- Troop On-Hand Inventory Report: This tells you the total amount of cookies that are in your troop’s inventory that has not been allocated to Girl Scouts.
- Tip: It is best to change the unit of measure from Cases to Cases/Packages or Packages to get accurate numbers.
- Girl Cookie Totals Summary Report: This tells you how many Girl Scouts have been allocated so far in the sale. ‘Total Pkgs’ column includes allocated cookies and the Cookie Care donations from troop inventory. The ‘CShare’ column shows the number of Cookie Care donations/virtual donations from council inventory the Girl Scout has received. The ‘Balance Pkgs’ are cookies that have been allocated to the girl.
- Troop Balance Summary Report:
- Shows the current information on:
- How much inventory has been given to the troop through the initial order and any transfers
- Troop per-girl-average (PGA)
- Troop proceed plan
- Total number of Cookie Share (virtual donation orders)
- Total number of direct-ship cookies
- Troop proceeds and total troop sales
- Direct-ship and girl cookie delivery deposits credited to the troop
- Shows the current information on:
- Girl Balance Summary Report: This report tells you how many cookies each Girl Scout has sold at cookie booths and sold individually. You can also see how much each Girl Scout still owes the troop.
- Note: Since Girl Scouts are not financially responsible for cookies sold at booths, this report will only show you how much money each Girl Scout owes to the troop from her individual sales.
- Pro tip: Add these reports to your ‘My 10 Favorite Reports’! Do this by highlighting the report name, then clicking the ‘Add to Favorites’ box.
- Manage Orders Screen:
The Manage Orders screen is a great way to see all cookies that have been received by your troop (from your initial order, cupboard pick-ups, or other troops) and all cookies that you have given out to Girl Scouts or other troops.
- In Smart Cookies from the troop leader view, select Manage Orders from the Orders tab. Then select “Apply Search Parameters,” and all transfers will appear. This page also shows direct-ship orders—If you are working on inventory management, you can disregard those, because they do not affect your troop’s inventory.
- Use this screen to double-check what was transferred into your troop’s inventory after a cupboard visit, or to see what you have transferred to each Girl Scout. It’s a good idea to regularly compare it with your paper receipts, or any other external inventory tracking system you are using. You can even export the report to an Excel spreadsheet. It’s a great feeling when Smart Cookies matches your on-hand inventory, and this screen can help keep you on track!
- If you see any discrepancies, check your receipts against your troop transfers to make sure there isn’t a data entry error. Check out the Reviewing Troop Orders section of our Smart Cookies Guide to help in the process. Connect with your Service Unit cookie manager to help troubleshoot any inventory issues or reach out to us for help. Catching inventory issues early can help prevent headaches later!
Cookie Booths: Credit Cards & Helpful Reports
Sales at cookie booths have been brisk and even sweeter with no credit card fees! Did you know that not only can troop users in Smart Cookies take credit card payments at cookie booths but so can families through their Girl Scout’s Smart Cookies accounts? Check out the Smart Cookies Guide for Volunteers for troop instructions under the Booth Credit Card Payments section. Direct families to the Smart Cookies Guide for Families for instructions on accepting credit card payments at booths under the Selling Cookies In-Person section.
- Booth Sales Credit Card Transactions Export: Features a full list of the credit card transactions recorded for each cookie booth sale
- Smart Booth Divider Sales Export: Features the sales by cookie variety input into the Smart Booth Divider for each location
- Booked Booth Sales Summary: Features all booth sales secured by the troop
Cookie Booth of the Week Winners
Announcing our first 2022 Cookie Booth of the Week winners. Check out their inspiring booth set-ups.
Week 1: Daisy/Brownie/Junior Booth of the Week
Week 1: Cadette/Senior/Ambassador Booth of the Week
Planned orders for Regional/Regional Express Cupboards and the Council Express Cupboard in Eden Prairie are due Monday by 8:00 am (CST). Please remember to order what you intend to sell as these cookies cannot be returned to the baker.
Note: The Council Express Cupboard in Eden Prairie has been closed for the season.
Forward to Families
Here’s the latest information to copy and paste, then forward to the families in your troop:
- Have you heard about the Koala Krew Program? It’s the chance for Girl Scouts to give back instead of choosing an item at a cookie reward level. With the Koala Krew Program, girls can choose to make a donation that will benefit the animals at the Animal Humane Society. Girls will earn a special patch when they choose the donation option at the 125 package sales level. See the Girl Scout rewards information for all the details on the rewards girls earn through their cookie sales.
- For Girl Scouts with direct-ship sales, cookies are delivered to the customer from the bakery within 10-14 days. For tracking information and updates, the customer can refer to their tracking information email which is sent when the cookies ship from FedEx. The order confirmation from Smart Cookies will feature an order number. If there are any issues with the order, customers can be directed to contact ABC Direct Ship at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Note: The Peanut Butter Sandwich cookie variety will not be available for direct-ship for the rest of the cookie season.
- Check out the 5 Ways to Sell Cookies with Low or No Inventory On-Hand for ideas on how your Girl Scout can still get closer to her goals during this time.
Cookie Combo Personalized Patches
Girl Scouts that participated in the 2021 Snacks & Magazine Program and sent 15 emails to friends and family through M2OS during the season are eligible to earn the Cookie Combo Personalized Patch. All Girl Scouts who completed this first step of sending 15 emails have received an email from M2 Media as a reminder that they must also sell 300 packages of cookies in order to earn the patch. If a Girl Scout wishes to update her avatar, she can make changes in M2OS until April 1. Patches will be sent directly to the Girl Scout and typically arrive in the summer.
Assisting Troops with Cookie Finances
Cookie money can be confusing. Troops may reach out to you with questions on cookie finances. Help them to understand their Troop Balance Summary by reviewing the key information:
- Avg. Packages Sold Per Girl Selling: This is the troop’s per-girl-average (PGA)
- Proceed plan: Shows either Main Plan, Early Bird Main Plan (for Early Bird Campaign Troops), Opt-Out Plan (for Senior/Ambassador Troops that selected to opt-out), or Early Bird Opt-Out Plan (for Senior/Ambassador Troops that selected opt-out and were Early Bird Campaign Troops)
- Received: Shows all cookies transferred in and out of the troop: Initial order cookies, Cookie Share, Smart Cookies Direct-Ship orders, Cookie Cupboard transactions, and troop to troop transfers
- Sales Amounts: Displays the current Troop Proceeds and Council Proceeds for the packages allocated to the troop
- Finances: Displays all ACH, Finance/Inventory Issue Form, Smart Cookies Direct Ship, and Girl Delivery Credit Card Deposits credited to the troop
- Balance: Displays the current balance due to River Valleys or overpayment owed to troop
Remind troops that they should make weekly deposits of their cookie money into the troop bank account. The first ACH withdrawal will be made from the troop bank account on March 18. The first ACH is calculated by multiplying $1 by the total packages received by the troop as of March 11, minus any credit card payments made through Smart Cookies. To ensure that the troop is ready for this ACH, they should deposit their money into the troop bank account by March 15. Direct troops to the Automated Clearing House (ACH) FAQs to help answer their questions.