Most of us have learned to be careful with our social security card and driver’s license. We’ve been taught to beware the identity thief. We instill in our children the need to keep safe our valuables – don’t leave an iPhone, iPad or other device laying around for someone to steal. But how many school fundraising groups – the parent teacher organizations (PTO), high school sports, music, academic and other booster clubs – leave cash laying around to be stolen?
Too often, common business-like safeguards are not taken when collecting cash at the concession stand or for school activities. One volunteer is left alone to collect, count, and deposit the funds without a second thought. Why wouldn’t you trust the mom or dad volunteer?
Each year, well over $1 million is stolen from school fundraising groups. The figure is likely much higher. It usually takes 2-3 years before anyone is caught; many are never caught. The thieves? Just ordinary moms and dads, and other volunteers who are tempted by lack of financial controls. It’s the story of Amy, doting mom, church-going, good-hearted volunteer…with a shoplifting addiction and lone access to the school spirit store cash register. No opening balance, no closing balance, and lots of cash – no one, not even Amy, knows how much cash went missing.
Financial controls don’t need to be complicated or difficult. Simply require two unrelated people to count cash on-site where it is collected, write and sign a tally sheet with the cash count, and deposit the funds into the bank immediately. Keep the tally sheet with the bank deposit and you’ve cut the risk of theft substantially. Don’t let thieves rob the students at your school of much-needed funds this year.
For more information on simple steps to stop theft at your school, go to 2preventtheft.org.