Cash storage 101
He was a frequent visitor at the church. He was homeless, but often came for free food. One Sunday evening he came to worship. He stayed after the service. Hiding, until everyone was gone.
After everyone left, he helped himself to the food in the kitchen. He also helped himself to the collection, which they kept in a zipper bag in a desk drawer. The bag contained the collection from both the morning and the evening services.
Surveillance cameras showed the man clearly. The church staff recognized him, though they don’t know where he lives. Police are looking for him now. Link
For starters, they let a visitor have free run of the unoccupied building.
The church kept the collection in a simple zipper bag in an unlocked desk drawer. They kept it overnight, instead of depositing it after counting.
Proper money handling involves two parts: physical security and accountability. A church can provide physical security with a safe or a locked box that is bolted to the wall or floor. If that’s outside the church budget, a locked desk drawer or cabinet in a locked office will work. But the best way to deal with this is to deposit the money at the bank right away – let THEM deal with the physical security!
Accountability requires two sets of eyes on the cash at all times. The easy way to do this is to store the counted collection in a tamper-evident plastic bag. By recording the sealed bag number, the counting crew is “watching” the money in storage. This is important if one person by him- or herself could open the safe or the locked box. This is less important when your safe or box requires two keys or combinations to be opened.
How To Prevent This At Your Church
- Make the deposit immediately after counting;
- Use plastic tamper-evident bags for storage and transport to provide accountability;
- Lock up any stored cash in a safe, locked box bolted to the wall or the floor. Or secure it in a locked desk drawer or cabinet inside a locked office.
- Ensure that no one person on their own could get to the collection. To do that, use two keys, two combinations, or a locked office door and a locked desk. Don’t let husband have one key/combo and wife have the other!
- Make sure the building is empty when you lock it up.