Cash handling in fundraising is not a very sexy topic. I repeat… Not. Sexy. The only thing less sexy is having someone walk off with the hard-earned dollars because you didn’t have proper procedures in place to protect your cash.
Today we’re going to talk about what to think about when managing the cash collected at fundraising campaigns such as fetes, mothers day stalls, sausage sizzles etc.
In all of the volunteer groups I’ve worked with, everyone is delightful and the thought of ‘not trusting’ somebody with cash handling is not on anyone’s radar. Appropriate procedures are not about a lack of trust, though, they are about being smart and avoiding a potential problem. They do happen.
Not only will your group be protected against someone walking off ‘Winona-style’ with your cash, but you also protect innocent volunteers from having ‘the question’ asked of them. ‘What happened to that money that was there’ or ‘There’s supposed to be more money than this’ are not questions that anybody wants to be asked.
Take a look at your unique situation and make an assessment of the risks involved:
- Is there a large amount of money that could act as a ‘target’?
- Will the money be kept somewhere that cannot easily be collected?
- Are there enough people around to ensure safety?
- Is an adult in charge at all times?
Are there controls you can put in place to enhance safety?
- Can you move your money collection area to a place with more light?
- Can you remove money to a safe at more regular intervals?
- Can you assign two volunteers to the task of cash collection?
Prepare a procedure specific to your event:
- Have a safe place to keep your cash in the first instance – cash tin, money belt – whatever works in your situation.
- Collect money regularly. Even if your event only runs for a couple of hours, relocate as much cash as possible to a safer place, recording your takings as you go.
- Instruct volunteers on how to handle the cash and sales – including putting cash directly into the tin, not changing coins from their own purses, always putting sold stock directly into a bag (this helps to prevent claims of ‘I paid for it already’).
- Have a clear line of authority – where is the money going? Can you consider leaving it in a safe or another secure place? Can you justify arranging for a secure pick-up? Taking money home should be the very last resort, and if so, make certain the money is counted, preferably by two different people, before it is taken home.
Here we have a very simple cash handling procedure that was sent in by a reader for a Mothers Day Stall. Click through to see if it is helpful for your needs.