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Fundraising Idea of the Month:
Security

by Doug Nash


One of the major responsibilities of those organising a fundraiser is to ensure as best they can that the workers, usually volunteers are not put in possibly compromising situations. The most common in this regard are contact with and handling of stock and cash. For this reason, you, as an organiser should employ strict control over both these areas. There should be clarity, transparency and accountability.

If everyone involved knows the procedures to be followed, are trained in these procedures and are supported in following these procedures then you should avoid the situation of either cash or stock being unaccounted for. Nothing kills the morale of an organisation or raises the ire of the workers more than if one of their own is suspected of stealing or misappropriation. If you have no procedures or you are sloppy in their enforcement sooner or later you will be faced with this stressful situation.

While at times these measures may seem to be inconvenient, strict adherence to these procedures will save lot of heartache in the future.

There far too many individual situations to cover in this article, however I will make some suggestions to get you started. It is the responsibility of the individual in charge to create and implement their own relevant security procedures that covers all that they do.

There are three main areas I will address stock, cash, reordering and references.

Stock

For the protection of all employees, volunteers and stock, there must be tight control and accountability in regards as to who has access to stock, when they have access to it and why they have access to it .

The number of and distribution of keys to locations where stock is kept must be kept to a minimum and a log is to be kept as to who has keys and for how long. Keys are signed out and signed back in. Spare keys must be kept in a secure location. A key register will be maintained that records this information. Be very clear as to who should have a key and why.

The lock to the stockroom/s should be for only for the storage of stock and for no other purpose. If the room/s must be shared then lockable containers should be installed in these rooms to hold the stock. The containers should be lockable and the key control mentioned above be implemented accordingly.

Regular stock takes are to be undertaken and a report submitted to a meeting for scrutiny. This allows the membership to track any trends and avoid accumulating stock that is either outdated, for some other reason hard to sell or worst case that some of the stock is missing.

Cash

A suitable cash register should be purchased and used properly. This includes the proper instruction of a number of staff in the use of the cash register no individual should be asked to use the register without proper training and guidance.

The register should include a feature to assist in the control of stock. This feature in combination with regular stocktakes should minimize the risk of stock levels getting out of control.

The following measures in regard to cash floats should be strictly adhered to. Only one person will operate the cash register in any one session. A session equates to the time the fundraiser opens to the time that it closes and no more sales are made. If the operator needs to leave during a session that the uniform shop is open then the float must be tallied and signed off by the operator and the person in charge to the session. If the register operator and individual in charge are the same person, then one other trained register operator will be chosen to sign off on the session. Once the session has been signed off that the cash in the register is correct then the person taking over the session signs over control of the register. There can be no exceptions to this rule.

BEGINNING of the session

    When the float is opened to the begin a session, two individuals will check that the float is correct as stated. One of the signers must be the individual who is to operate the register for the session. Forms will be provided to record the amount of cash, the breakdown of the cash, the names of the signers and a place for their signature.

END of the session

    At the end of a session, two individuals will check that the float is correct as stated. The cash will be counted and recorded by the register operator. A preselected individual will then physically check the cash and sign off.

    The float will be removed from the cash total and replaced in the register for the next session. The amount left over and cheques will be recorded, secured and made ready for banking at the earliest convenience.

    A properly filled out bank deposit form will be attached to the cash. The cash will then be put in a safe place until the cash is banked. The treasurer of the organisation or a person authorised by a members vote will have the final say in what is to be considered secure.

Re-order protocol

All orders and re-orders for stock must be signed by at least two members of the organisation. Stock levels should be approved by a discussion and then a vote of the organisation. Organising of signatures can be inconvenient however it is essential that this security measure be implemented.

In regards to ordering stock that has not been purchased previously, the order must be filled in and submitted for a vote at a meeting of the membership before it is placed.

References

When you have new people join your organisation, have them fill out a form recording their particulars and references. It seems that not-for-profits are becoming more of a target for scammers and other undesirables. Genuine volunteers will not be offended by this request, they will understand why you are asking. Once you have references then always check them out. People do lie! Especially if they are not there for the reasons they claim. You will impress more people with your desire to protect the efforts of the organisation than you will lose good people.

General

The hiring of an experienced auditor may be a very wise move. Auditors can highlight weaknesses in your procedures and recommend changes that will avoid situations or events that you don't want to happen. These suggestions could also save you more money than the auditor charges. Low morale and lack of volunteers will hurt your bottom line far more than a few inconvenient procedures.

When individuals learn of the procedures to be followed they will understand that it is for their benefit that they are in place. If they don't then you should further consider if you want them around your cash and stock. If fact, you attract more volunteers because of your security precautions than you lose. It's one thing to feel valued it is something else entirely to know that the people above are seriously trying to protect you as well.

***********************


    About the Author: Doug Nash lives in Logan City in Queensland, Australia. He has graciously consented to share a fundraising idea with us every month. Although many of the ideas aren't new, each of them has a unique flair that comes from being developed and refined half a world away from ours. Visit his web site at http://www.home.gil.com.au/~dnash/ for more fundraising ideas.

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