On Girl Scouts' Centennial, Davia Temin '74 Asks: How Much Is a Girl Worth?

Huffington Post: How Much Is a Girl Worth? Transforming the Girl Scouts at 100

By Davia Temin
CEO, Temin and Company; First Vice Chair of the Board, Girl Scouts of the USA

March 12, 2012 

Transformation seems to be on the lips of every corporate leader these days: How do we take the organizations that have survived the past decade and ready them for the recovery -- and beyond, they are asking.

As Girl Scouts of the USA turns 100 this year -- and actually today, March 12, 2012 -- we are making the same journey. Taking a page from business strategy, those of us on the national board, and in senior leadership positions, are working to transform the organization for a new century. We are seeking to create a relevant, powerful, attractive, inclusive organization that can prepare almost 3 million girls with the "courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place." ...

We are devoted to offering every girl in this country, regardless of her race, religion, demographic, orientation or ability to pay, a fun, positive, powerful experience that will open up a world of possibilities to her as she learns more about herself, and the role she wishes to play in life.

And so, this means that we must fund the movement more than we ever have before. Juliette funded the movement, started in Savannah, by selling her precious strand of pearls at a crucial moment. Were that it were so easy today. Of course, our iconic cookie program is really a traditional bake sale on steroids (and is quite a big business that has funded us well.) But, that is no longer enough. Dues for Girl Scouts are currently only $12 per year. (Yes, you read that right... about 1/10th of the cost of a pair of athletic shoes.) So, we keep the dues low, and subsidize girls and families who need it even while we are looking to swell our ranks to include all who wish to join, and might benefit.

How can we do it?

When, as the new Chair of the Board Fund Development Committee, I asked our staff four years ago what our financial goal should be for our 100th anniversary, I was told, well, maybe $8 million, because we probably can not raise $10 million. Really? Women and money, we have such a strange relationship. And sometimes we don't see the opportunities right in front of our eyes.

We have 50 MILLION alumnae, many at peak earning and purchasing power. On the corporate front, who would not want to partner with us in an appropriate way to reach that audience? On the individual donor front, if we were to ask every former Girl Scout for only $10, we could be well on our way. And, of course, many will want to give significantly more.

So, we decided it was time to practice what we preach, and act boldly. Last November we announced a goal of one BILLION dollars in honor of our 100th anniversary. This "count everything" campaign means that every dollar raised by local councils and the national Girl Scout organization around the country will go toward that billion. And it may take us ten years (though I doubt it), but we will do it! ...