Simple: Pay by iPhone.
Starting this year, Girl Scout organizations in Ohio and San Diego will be accepting orders facilitated through AppNinja, a tool that allows iPhones to send credit or debit card information. The phones plug into a stand with a built-in card swiper, and an app on the phone communicates customers’ card data to Visa, MasterCard and other card networks.
[Resource: Credit Cards with Good Intentions]
“You can turn your phone into a cash register,” says Sara West, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, which has 34,000 scouts across 30 Ohio counties.
The Girl Scouts are famous for their cookie sale, which has become the organization’s biggest annual fundraiser. Scouts and their parents order boxes of cookies and sell them to friends and neighbors; whatever’s left is often sold outside retail stores. The Girl Scout Cookies’ website also has a cookie booth location finder.
This year, AppNinja donated 25 phone stands to the Ohio council, West says. The machines usually cost about $80 apiece. They are being used in malls outside grocery stores to sell leftover cookies.
And so far, they’ve been a big success. The machines in Ohio racked up $2,500 in sales in their first two weeks, West says
“If people don’t have cash and they’re using a credit card, they don’t want to charge $3.50 for a single box,” West says. “So instead they buy five boxes.”
The Ohio council is considering whether to buy the AppNinja machines for next year’s sale. Girl Scouts also have begun using Facebook to sell cookies, West says.
Image: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar, via Flickr.com