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One simple tool when your nonprofit Board says they can’t “ask for money”: Unleash the Inner "Girl Scout"

A few years ago, I was coaching a nonprofit Board in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Many of them were completely convinced they were not going to be “asking anyone for money.” After an hour or so, a few of them were beginning to get the picture, but most weren’t. In a moment of exasperation, I thought of my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. They are like jackals. They show up at your door. They know your favorite cookie. You love selling the cookie because you buy them yourself. “Okay everyone. “ I had found the magic comparison…”What’s your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?” Fundraising can often bring up feelings of apprehension, especially for nonprofit boards who may not have extensive experience in asking for donations. However, reframing the concept of fundraising and comparing it to selling everyone's favorite Girl Scout cookie can help alleviate these fears. In this blog post, we will explore how the process of "selling" the nonprofit mission is similar to selling Girl Scout cookies, and provide valuable tips to help nonprofit boards overcome their fear of asking for money.

1) Start with a Delicious Mission

Just like a Girl Scout cookie offers a tasty treat, your nonprofit's mission has its own unique flavor that resonates with potential donors. Embrace and believe in your mission wholeheartedly. Demonstrate to your board members that the work your organization does makes a meaningful difference in the lives of others. This confidence will lay the foundation for successful fundraising.

2) Know Your Cookie Lineup

Girl Scouts understand the importance of knowing their product lineup inside out. Similarly, nonprofit boards must fully understand the programs, initiatives, and impact of their organization. Educate board members about the different facets of your nonprofit's work, ensuring they have the knowledge and confidence to effectively convey your mission to potential donors.

3) Connect with the Cookie Lovers

Girl Scouts are adept at finding cookie lovers by scouring their networks, attending events, and engaging with the community. Nonprofit boards can adopt a similar approach by identifying connections and leveraging personal networks to spread their mission's message. Encourage board members to tap into their own circles, business relationships, and personal connections to expand your donor base.

4) Share Heartwarming Cookie Stories

Girl Scouts are known for sharing heartwarming stories that tugs at our emotions, making us more inclined to purchase their cookies. Nonprofit boards can do the same by sharing impactful stories about the lives they have touched through their work. Craft compelling narratives that highlight the difference your organization has made. These stories will resonate with potential donors and compel them to support your cause.

5) Ask for Support, Just Like Selling Cookies

Girl Scouts boldly ask individuals to buy cookies, and nonprofit boards can adopt a similar mindset. Overcome the fear of asking for money by reframing it as an invitation to invest in your mission. Encourage board members to present the request for support confidently and passionately, highlighting the value and impact of the donor's contribution. Remember, you are inviting them to be part of something bigger – to make a difference.

6) Show Gratitude and Celebrate Success

Girl Scouts always remember to say thank you to their cookie customers, and nonprofit boards should do the same. Express gratitude and celebrate the successes that their support brings. Thank donors with personalized acknowledgments, update them on the impact of their contributions, and recognize their invaluable role in achieving your nonprofit's mission. Expressing gratitude will foster long-term relationships and encourage continued support.


Conquering the fear of fundraising for nonprofit boards is possible when you equate the process to selling the beloved Girl Scout cookie. Embrace your mission, educate board members, leverage networks, share impactful stories, and boldly ask for support. Just as Girl Scouts celebrate their cookie success, remember to express gratitude and celebrate the achievements made possible through donor contributions. By embracing this reframing of fundraising, nonprofit boards can confidently embark on their journey to secure vital resources for their mission, enabling them to make a tangible difference in the world.

Verified writer