You might find yourself debating whether or not you want to spend the money to buy a box of your favorite cookies in the grocery store, but you never debate Girl Scout cookies, do you? Even though they're more expensive than most cookies you might find at your local supermarket, it's money for a good cause. But if you've ever wondered just how much of the money actually benefits the girls that are doing all the selling, you're definitely not alone — and the answer is surprisingly hard to pin down.
According to the Girl Scouts' official web site, 100 percent of the profits stay with the local Girl Scout authority and in the troops themselves. How they use it is up to them, but do some more digging and you'll find that's not the end of the story. In 2014, CBS Minnesota broke down the price of a box of cookies, which was then $4. They found that 27 percent of the cost — $1.08 — went into making, packaging, and shipping the cookies, 19 percent (76 cents) went toward the Girl Scouts' volunteer program, 15 percent (61 cents) went toward funding scout camps, 12 percent (49 cents) went into funding leadership programs, and 6 percent (22 cents) went into the coffers of local administration. That leaves only about 21 percent (84 cents) that goes directly to the troop, and it's up to them to decide how they use it. While that can range from funding their own projects to charitable donations, there's been a huge amount of debate on just whether or not that 21 percent is enough.
It wasn't always that high, either. As far back as 1993, Girl Scout troops were boycotting their annual cookie sale to protest how little they actually got at the time. Even though the Girl Scouts as an organization was making somewhere around $3 million a year from cookies alone, troops only got about 10 percent of what their members sold. Considering some Scouts can sell hundreds — and even thousands — of boxes of cookies, the outrage over how little they actually profited was understandable.