Yes, but how fast can GSUSA make the transition from funding that is primarily self-generating to an organization that can attract a substantial amount of contributed income?
In other words, cookie production still is going strong, and the Girl Scouts has worked with bakers to remove trans fats from the product. But with all the changes in the pipeline and a new focus on fundraising, will the Scouts scuttle the cookies?
Cloninger laughs at the question. “You want to see strong cookie sales,” she says. “It’s such a key component of our Girl Scout leadership-development experience and is part of the funding infrastructure for councils. We want to see contributed income grow as a percent of the revenue we generate, because we’re really creating a critical need for girls across the country.
“Also, as a social-service agency,” she concludes, “we need for philanthropy to come in and join with the self-generated revenue system that we’ve got. We can’t count on being able to continue to grow exclusively through membership dues.”
David McKenna is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer whose last story for FS was the March cover “Social Engagement” on international anti-hunger and poverty organization Mercy Corps.