This month our team made five predictions about the fundraising world for 2016. Naturally, they are all good (we wouldn’t give you shoddy predictions, now would we?) but, coming from a long and loyal background in Girl Scouts, my favorite is alternative revenue sources.

In a nutshell, this means finding ways outside of grants and traditional fundraising to fund your mission and programs. The classic, and very seasonably appropriate, example of this is Girl Scout Cookies.

Beyond the flat-out deliciousness of them, Girl Scout Cookies are an ideal alternative revenue source because …

  1. They make tons of money. Cookies are a very meaningful and strategic revenue source for Girl Scout councils across the country. Take away cookie revenue, and the girls’ out-of-pocket expenses for all the programs they love  would sky-rocket. Once upon a time, when I was a Girl Scout camp counselor, I had a repeat camper’s parents tell me the reason their daughter was able to attend camp for two weeks in the summer (instead of the more common one week) was because camp was actually less expensive than day care. That’s right, five-night sleepaway Girl Scout camp where girls learned sign language, dance, art, theatre, and even sailing was less expensive than day care! That, right there, is cookie revenue hard at work.
  2. Cookies tie to the Girl Scout mission. Having sold cookies as a Girl Scout and aided with sales as a staff member, I can confidently tell you, the Girl Scout Cookie program is truly a program, not just a sale. The mission of Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character  who make the world a better place, and cookie sales do all that and more. Girls learn to set and achieve goals, speak with adults, practice their math and money skills, and even give back to their communities through sub-programs like Operation Cookie, which delivers cookie-based care packages to active duty military. With all those facets, the Girl Scout Cookie program is right in line with the organization’s mission.
  3. They really are delicious. We can’t ignore that part. They are GOOD products. Yum.

To learn more about alternative revenue sources and all of our fundraising predictions for 2016, watch the “Predict This!” recorded webinar with my colleagues Rich Dietz and Brandy Keller. Best enjoyed with Girl Scout Cookies, of course.