Updated January 27, 2021 - 11:30 am
Here’s a morsel of good news: The Girl Scouts organization has kicked off its 2021 cookie season.
But unlike previous years, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the organization to think outside the box.
This year, they’re taking a cue from the restaurant industry: For the first time, the organization is partnering with food delivery app Grubhub to deliver its beloved cookies that its scouts sell annually to support educational programming, community projects and more.
“We’ve been monitoring what the impacts of this pandemic have on all of our programming, and the safety and health and wellness of our girls. And so we started planning, in October and November, for alternative ways to allow our girls to have a safe option in continuing their entrepreneurship programming,” Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada CEO Kimberly Trueba said.
Scouts will learn a new skill this cookie season: adaptability.
“Even though in-person booths are a large percentage of our cookie sales, this is new and exciting, and this is a perfect example of teaching our girls and exposing them to new opportunities,” Trueba said. “Their educational component is learning about the digital platform, marketing it, decorating bags and writing thank-you notes to go along with those cookie deliveries.”
Grubhub, Green Valley Grocery partnerships
If you have been having some serious Girl Scouts cookies withdrawals, now is the time to stock up — and more than 1,400 entrepreneurial scouts from Southern Nevada are here to help.
Fans of the iconic cookies can begin placing orders on Grubhub Feb. 11 through Feb. 28. Orders can be made through the app from Wednesdays through Saturdays, between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“So often when someone purchases a Girl Scout box of cookies at the grocery store, it’s an impulse buy, and we wanted to make sure that we were available for that and people craving for a box of Thin Mints on the app,” said Linda Bridges, the chief communication officer for the Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada. “We looked at every day of the week and said how can we be more strategic in the sales, and so we looked at that sort of extended weekend and the lunch through dinner hours.”
The national Girl Scouts organization said that Grubhub agreed to waive all of the fees — which have affected the restaurant industry in Clark County and nationally — so the organization will get 100 percent of proceeds from its cookie sales.
Trueba said that the ubiquitous booths outside grocery stores and in other high-traffic areas “are still up in the air (as to) whether we’ll be doing those in-person,” so the organization is partnering with Green Valley Grocery.
“It is a perfect opportunity to teach our children yet another component to being an entrepreneur: How do you run your business? What’s the logistics of ordering, stocking and managing inventory?” Trueba said. “We’re creating these virtual educational moments for our girls to hear directly from store managers or from the corporate offices on how they run their business.”
Trueba said Green Valley Grocery will place the Girl Scout cookies at the end caps throughout its 67 locations across Southern Nevada. It is the first partnership of its kind across the Girl Scouts’ 111 councils nationwide, she said. Patrons can purchase Girl Scout cookies at the convenience store chain starting Feb. 11.
For both platforms, scouts across the valley will track and fulfill orders, manage inventory and promote the cookies across social media.
Online demand for cookies soar
Girl Scout cookie devotees can also stock up on the treats online, which are delivery-only.
Trueba said of the sales pitches you’re seeing from parents of Girl Scouts to their colleagues at work, “It’s direct to the consumer with a shipping fee, so you can order as many boxes as you want. And the girl or the troop gets credit for those orders through their own personal link.”
Last year, digital orders account for 16 percent for the cookie sales for the Southern Nevada group.
“We’re already 88 percent of that 16 percent, and we’re in our first couple of weeks,” said Trueba, adding that digital sales probably will make up nearly half of the organization’s cookie orders in 2021.
“That is a huge uptick from previous years, and I think that it reflects sort of the changing behaviors of consumers,” she said, “And lucky for us, our Girl Scouts are ready with those links.”
Much-needed skills baked in
Every year entrepreneurial Girl Scouts are tasked with selling Thin Mints, Samoas, S’mores and other beloved cookies. The annual cookie drive is about teaching scouts financial literacy and modern business skills, raising money for programming, earning badges and giving back to the community.
This year will be no different.
Trueba said scouts have had to get creative in marketing and selling the boxes of treats, including social media posts and videos. Scouts also will volunteer at the warehouse and at the Girl Scout of Southern Nevada’s office to help fulfill Grubhub orders.
“The cookie program is very important for our girls because that’s an opportunity for them to really pull up their entrepreneurial spirit,” Trueba said. “The shy girls get a little bit more confident and their character comes out; it’s really critical for the growth of our young girls.”
Trueba said she is optimistic the organization will meet its goal.
“If we fall short of last year, like other nonprofits, it will be tough, so it is important for us to meet our goal,” said Trueba. “We’ll be happy with that and if we do better, that just means we can give more more back to our community.
While the pandemic has changed the way people purchase items, Trueba said the cookie drive is a vital part of keeping scouts engaged with its community.
“The pandemic have been really tough on everybody and for the girls who are not able to be going to school in-person – this is an opportunity to stay connected with setting goals, and knowing that they are reaching out to the community,” she said. “I think it’s good for mental and social health. It’s just important to engage these children in every way possible and to find pathways to keep them engaged because it is just so critical right now.”