Old-fashioned Girl Scout cookies are being sold in new ways this year, helping troops like the ones in Milpitas increase their fundraising profits and pay for camping equipment, trips to Disneyland and more.
For the first time, the baking company that manufactures the cookies is offering an iPhone and Android APP that lets cookie-seekers search for sales by zip code, share cooking-distribution points and add sale dates to their calendars. Nationally, there have been 95,000 iTunes and 15,000 Android downloads of the app so far, according to Dana Allen, spokesperson for the Girl Scouts of Northern California.
“It’s made it a lot easier for customers to locate cookies,” said Allen.
In addition to being tech savvy, customers are getting their cookies "on-demand." Girl Scouts have just about eliminated pre-order sales, and instead, estimate their orders ahead of time.
“In the past, the Girl Scouts had girls take orders in January and then wait several months,” said Allen.
But now, it's about "instant gratification," she said.
And the results are coming in. Halfway into the cookie selling season, numbers are up. This year, troops are ordering and selling more cookies compared to last year, she said.
Milpitas troop 61400—comprised of 15 fourth-graders–is projected to sell more than the 1,200 to 1,300 they sold last year, said troop leader Laura Weller.
"This year I know we're going to exceed 2,000," she said.
Weller's troop scored a prime vending location this year–Wal-Mart, an envy of other Girl Scout troops in Milpitas.
“At Wal-Mart you can sell 300 boxes in three hours without a problem,” said Michelle Eacret, a co-leader of another troop.
Eacret's troop 60596—consisting of 13 seventh-graders–sold 2,800 boxes last year. Whatever profits they make will go toward a trip to Disneyland, something the girls have planned for two years, she said.
But most troop leaders agree that the biggest fundraiser of Girl Scouts is also educational, even down to the youngest Daisies.
“We want our girls to learn financial literacy, goal-setting and people skills,” said Allen.
Only $.78 per $4 box trickles back to the troop, according to Allen. The rest goes into shared resources. There are campgrounds owned by Girl Scouts of Northern California, screening and training of volunteers, online resources and more.
But of the profits the troops make, the girls are given autonomy on how they would like to spend the money.
In Milpitas, all troops fall under one “service unit,” with 150 girls in total. They aim to sell 30,000 boxes this year, and beat last year's record of 28,000.
So pick up your boxes soon at . Cookie sales end Sunday, March 27.