March 5, 2015
Dear members and friends of Girl Scouts,
Thank you to all of our girls, volunteers and members who have participated in this year’s cookie program. I hope that each girl is learning and making progress to meet her goals.
The cookie sale ends this Sunday, March 8! Visit www.ilovecookies.org to find a booth near you, and help our girls meet their goals! We have a lot of girls working really hard this year. I received an email this morning from a Brownie Troop leader who wrote: “We sold close to 5000 boxes and our Brownie troop is only seven girls. I went to all thirteen booth sales, we rotated different girls and parents, so each girl got excellent prizes. Everyone played a part.” What a great accomplishment for the girls in this troop and the volunteers who support them.
I apologize to the girls and troops that ran out of Thin Mints and Samoas during the last two weeks of the sale. The national shortage of cookies from our baker is making it hard for many girls and troops to achieve their cookie goals. The shortage is also making the sale more challenging for our cookie volunteers. I am very grateful for all of the volunteers who worked extra hard this year to move cookies around the council to help girls and troops achieve their cookie sale goals. To help girls and troops, yesterday we shared with cookie volunteers that we have lowered the levels at which troops earn bonuses and at which girls earn awards. To help families not able to sell cookies because of the Thin Mint and Samoas shortage, we are making an unprecedented exception and allowing returns of individual boxes of Trefoils, Tagalongs, Do-si-Dos, Savannah Smiles, and Rah-Rah Raisins, received between February 24 and March 8. The details of the bonuses, awards and returns were included in a message that went to all cookie volunteers yesterday via eBudde. If you have specific questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We anticipate a below budget cookie sale based on cookie purchases and increased costs. Just as many of our girls and troops are struggling to meet their goals, in light of the Thin Mint and Samoa shortage, our council is also behind on its cookie sale goals. We won’t have final results of the sale until we see how much inventory is returned to GSNorCal after the sale and how much the adjusted troop bonus and award structure for girls ends up costing. However, we can tell from the number of cases that GSNorCal has purchased from the baker and distributed to cupboards and troops, that even our best case sale will end up below our 2015 budget by at least 6%. That translates to a decline in revenue to support council operations of at least $725,000. This is not all about the cookie shortage. This is also our 4th year in a row of declining girl participation in the sale. In order to keep up with rising costs for insurance, staff salaries and benefits and other services, our goal each year is to increase cookie sale revenue. Since that did not happen this year, we now have a significant budget gap that we need to close by reducing expenses.
Saying goodbye to 3 valued staff. As a first step towards managing our budget, today we notified 3 wonderful and dedicated staff that Friday, March 13, will be their last day of work at Girl Scouts of Northern California. These staff member’s home offices are located throughout the council in Alameda, Chico and Santa Rosa. I am very sad to have to do this. These staff have made a difference for thousands of girls and volunteers and have many friends among our members and alumnae. I am grateful for their service to girls, volunteers and Girl Scouts.
Additional cost-saving measures. In addition to the reduction in force, we are postponing non-essential capital projects on our properties, we will NOT be able to conduct the forest management work at Camp Deer Lake this summer unless we receive funding from grants that we have applied for. We also are eliminating three staff positions that are currently open – we will no longer be able to hire to fill these positions.
Looking ahead to a new staff structure and new technology. Next week is Girl Scout week – the celebration of the founding of Girl Scouts 103 years ago. I am reminded of Juliette Gordon Lowe’s wise words: The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.
Next week we begin our transition to a new staff structure, technology and tools designed to better support parents, volunteers and girls. Our offices will be closed next week on March 11 and 12, as we introduce our mission delivery staff to the new staff structure. Placement of staff into their new roles should be complete by April 20 and we will share the “org chart” with members at that time. Most important for members, by late summer you should see: easier registration, improved troop management tools, an online volunteer toolkit, and a one-stop-shop to get your questions answered on a wide range of Girl Scout topics, by phone and email. It is challenging, but also necessary, to make these changes at the same time as we are addressing our budget shortfall.
As always, thank you for all that you do for girls and Girl Scouts. I appreciate your patience and support. While our cookie sale will not end up where we set our goal, I deeply appreciate the time and effort of all those who are participating in this year’s sale. Thank you. The funds you raise, are essential to helping us reach more girls, support volunteers, and keep our doors open and camps safe.
As always, please do not hesitate to let me know if you have questions or comments.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Marina H. Park, CEO
Girl Scouts of Northern California
E-mail: email@example.com ♦ Members Update Blog: marinasmemberupdates.com
Phone: (510) 562-8470, ext. 1106 ♦ Fax: (510) 633-7925
Alameda Office: 1650 Harbor Bay Pkwy., Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94502