Below are some of the duties of cookie moms, spelled out so you will know what you're getting yourself into. Each area can be delved into as much as you wish; however, I have listed the bare minimum for all of them so you will know what is absolutely required. Your own council may have different requirements as well, so check with them as this list isn't official or exhaustive.
Overall, your time commitment depends on how many cookies your troop wants to sell. You can run a couple of meetings, tally and turn in orders, get the cookies delivered, have one booth, and do your final reports and maybe put in a total of 20 hours for the entire 10 week period. Personally, I put in a full-time workload the entire time in 2009, but my troop sold almost 8000 boxes of cookies and my daughter sold 2500 of those, so I spent a lot of time at booths. You can tailor the program to make it work for you and your schedule. After I got my "infrastructure" and printables and marketing materials done, I was able to spend a lot less time in subsequent years. In fact, in the 2010-2012 seasons I had a full-time job and was still able to manage a bunch of booths and a lot of sales.
You are the go-to person for any type of cookie information at any time. Every parent and girl should have your phone number and you should be able to answer any questions about cookies. To arm yourself for this responsibility, put your Service Unit Cookie Manager (SUCM) and Area Cookie Manager (ACM) in your phone book on your phone or computer. These people can provide you with answers to any questions you have and also are great resources on advice or help with cookie booths.
At the bare minimum, you should have at least one meeting prior to your cookie rally held by your service unit, if you have one. Ideally, this meeting should involve all the girls and their parents, because family support is essential to the cookie activity. At this meeting you will pass out the order forms, money envelopes, and any other brochures, flyers or information given to you at the cookie meeting you have attended. If you did not attend a cookie meeting, your troop leader should have the information. Failing this, contact your service unit cookie manager and get the information to pass out to the girls. Helpful information includes flyers about the cookie varieties, a list of important dates to remember for the families, and a memo or newsletter you have prepared about your troop's involvement in the cookie activity.
Refer to the "Meeting Activities" tab on the left for a more detailed guideline for this cookie information meeting.
You need to make sure all the girls get their initial order forms in to you by the deadline you have set to ensure you have enough time to enter them into the eBudde system (for Little Brownie councils). Give yourself about 15 or 20 minutes at the end of a meeting to collect the forms, or have the girls and their parents drop them off at your home. You need some time to inspect the form and ensure its accuracy. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to input a stack of forms on a deadline and having to decipher poor handwriting, smudged numbers and incomplete forms.
Refer to the "Preorder Tips" tab on the left for more detail on these items. Of course, this information is specific to service units who aren't doing the "Cookies Now" model (as ours is this year).
Some troops (such as some Daisy troops) decide not to do booth sales, and in that case, there is no minimum requirement for this area. However, many troops, depending on their location, depend on booth sales for the bulk of their cookie sales. If your troop doesn't want to put in a major time commitment, you can sign up for one or two booths; however, if you have a go-getter troop that wants to rack up sales, the sky's the limit!
You will schedule booths with an online scheduling tool given to you by your service unit or area. In my experience with eBudde, this is like buying concert tickets from Ticketmaster as there is a date and time given to start the three "rounds" of booth sale scheduling. The hot stores are hard to get, and you may have to be online when they are released scheduling these booths. I have found, however, that good slots are still available even days before you might want to schedule a booth.
Refer to the "Booth Sales" tab at left to get all the information and tips you need to know to sell lots of cookies at booths.
You will schedule your cookie pickup online in most cases, and usually it's in increments of 20 minutes or a half hour. You'll be in charge of getting enough vehicles there to pick up your order and get it separated and distributed to the girls and their families.
Refer to the "Delivery and Distribution" tab for more tips on how to accomplish this.
Got a spare room? Good! You'll need it to store all those cookies. Depending on your booth/cookies-in-hand activities, this may be no big deal at all, or your house may turn into a cookie warehouse for a couple of months. It all depends on how deeply you get into the activities.
A garage works well if you don't have critter problems (or chocolate-melting temperatures in cookie season). Basements are good too, and at my house, we use the often-neglected dining room for stashing cookies. Parents will be coming and going to pick up cookies so it will help if you have some sort of established hours for these transactions. If you're a stay-at-home parent, you can have more hours for people to pick up cookies; otherwise, you may have to keep it to a couple of weeknights and a weekend day.
Refer to the "Delivery and Distribution" tab for more information.
As cookies are distributed from your stash, you have to account for the transaction in two ways: One, the parent responsible has to sign a form, and two, you need to enter it into the computer system. For booth sales, you have to break the sales down by type of cookie and by girl, then enter it into the system so you have a computer record of cookies sold. This is much easier than it sounds but it must be done on a regular basis. If you are timid around computers, ask your SUCM for a lesson on the tool. Each baker has their own online tool, and there are tutorials online that you can watch, and an extensive help system is available as well.
Refer to the "EBudde and Paperwork" tab on the left for more exhaustive information about this and some helpful links. Keep in mind that eBudde is Little Brownie Bakers' tool so most information is specific to that baker.
Your troop leader should have some deposit forms preprinted for you to make your life easier. Request a stamp from her as well so you can stamp the back of each check instead of writing your account information over and over. Don't wait to deposit cookie money. As it gets turned in you should make at least weekly deposits. Likewise, always deposit money right after a cookie booth sale is held. That way you aren't on the hook for a bunch of money sitting around on your desk.
Refer to the "Money and Banking" tab on the left for more tips.
This is all done through your online tool again, unless specified by your council. There are tabs for each type of report that you need to get done. If you've been filling out your orders as they are turned in, and recording booth sales promptly, all this will entail is balancing your numbers from the cookie cupboard with the numbers of cookies sold. Also, you will need to tally up all the monies deposited and reconcile it with your banking records. Again, if you do this on a regular basis, the final wrapup will be a piece of cake.
This is the fun part! You get to be like Santa bringing the presents to the meeting. Be sure you celebrate the cookie activity and recognize your high-achievers. This step entails getting sizes and preferences on incentives from the girls, and there are forms that you can use for this purpose to make it easier.