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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Girl Scouts folds in Visa, Dell to Digital Cookie 2.0

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America added Visa Inc. and Dell Inc. to its Digital Cookie recipe. The interactive platform, initially launched in 2014, is designed to improve the efficacy and reach of Girl Scout cookie sales. The 2.8 million-member organization revealed on Sept. 21, 2015, that it collaborated with Visa and Dell to develop a new version of the program, which is scheduled for wide release in December.

Digital Cookie 2.0 will combine online courses in entrepreneurship with tools for developing the Girl Scout Cookie Program's Essential 5 Skills, which the organization summarized as goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. Girl Scout leaders expect Dell's and Visa's contributions to also help remove barriers to entry for economically challenged members.

Anna Maria Chávez, Chief Executive Officer of GSUSA, hailed Dell and Visa as global organizations that celebrate innovation and improve access to digital education. "At Girl Scouts, we are constantly looking to provide girls with unique experiences and future-focused programs that teach them not only how to lead, but how to succeed in the industries of tomorrow," she said.

Recipe calls for hardware, software

Dell, a long-time GSUSA sponsor and charitable contributor, said it will provide tablets to Girl Scout troops in underserved communities, adding that its hardware contributions will make it possible for more girls to participate in the program. Dell previously contributed to GSUSA programs designed to improve education and skills in science, technology, engineering and math.

Trisa Thompson, Chief Responsibility Officer at Dell, cited small business and entrepreneurship as engines of today's global economy. "It is in all of our best interests to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit from a young age and support the digital literacy skills required to thrive in a connected world," she said.

Visa is providing Visa Checkout, a simplified, tokenized payment option customers can use to securely purchase Girl Scout cookies online. Additionally, the company will host a series of educational workshops and mentorship programs designed to help Girl Scouts learn practical skills related to data analytics, social media and digital marketing.

Ellen Richey, Vice Chairman of Risk and Public Policy at Visa, also serves on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Northern California. Richey expects the programs to help girls improve sales skills and navigate the complex world of digital commerce. "We are very pleased to provide the girls with mentorships and tools to help them navigate the digital commerce environment and develop sales skills that work, both at the cookie booth and online," she said.

Old World values, New World tech

Established in 1912, before women even had the right to vote, GSUSA was founded on four core values: inclusiveness, the outdoors, self-reliance and service. Since then, the organization has perpetuated these values, playing pivotal roles from relief efforts during the Great Depression to present-day programs such as the Google-sponsored initiative Made with Code, which is designed to promote technology careers for women and the digitalization of Girl Scout cookie sales in the 21st century. The 103-year-old organization began digitizing its cookie sales in 2011, when it enabled scouts in a limited number of locales to accept credit card payments via smartphones. The Digital Cookie program enabled participants in key market areas to also create personalized websites and targeted email marketing campaigns. Version 2.0 of the interactive online platform is poised to support a range of value-added products and services while helping scouts across all U.S. regions extend their reach beyond local cookie sales into wider, national networks.

The organization expects the program's growing popularity, combined with contributions by Dell and Visa, to improve quality, performance and top-line revenue. Further updates on Digital Cookie 2.0 will be available in December 2015. end of article

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