Church Theft Procedures & Guidelines
A local church recently discovered that an estimated $600,000 was stolen from their Church.” The church that reported the theft said the theft included cash, checks, and envelopes containing written credit card information. Many churches believe they are protected from these incidents as they trust their church family, who are counting weekly money. While the size of this theft is very large, the dollar amount should not be the focus.
Integrity Now Insurance Brokers recommend that churches develop a policy and then institute a plan for how and where the church offering is safeguarded to prevent internal and external theft. Most churches have a policy in place; however, many churches, over time, only follow part of the plan or don’t follow the plan at all. As churches grow and shrink, major changes happen, and the new church members are not aware a plan exists.
Each church may have a different way that works best for them, which is essential. However, the most important thing is to ensure the plan is always followed. Not every plan is perfect, but having a plan is better than not having one at all.
A few questions worth asking when evaluating your church’s policy on handling money:
- Do we count and record offerings immediately after they are received?
- Are offerings always stored in a secure or well-supervised area?
- If the offering is kept is a locked location, is the combination limited to a couple of church members or Sr. Leadership?
- Do we ensure that only one person never handles offerings before they are counted and recorded?
- Is the person making the deposit different from the person who counted the offering?
- Does the church provide its members with an annual receipt for giving?
- Do all church accounts fall under the church’s general accounting and auditing structure?
- Are all persons authorized and able to write checks against church funds held responsible through an accounting auditing system?
- Does the church require two signatures for all checks?
- Do we make sure the same person is not involved in more than one of the financial procedures of the church (collecting the funds, counting them, recording the giving, authorizing expenditures, writing the checks, auditing the accounts)?
- Do we provide the bank with annual updates of persons authorized to sign checks against any account associated with the church?
- Is check signing authority limited to no more than four church members?
These are just a few safeguards your church should have in place. As a church, you may find it essential to add items to this list to ensure the protection of your church offering. Some churches will assign off-duty police officers to accompany the funds until they are deposited. This off-duty office may be armed or unarmed.
If you would like to know more about what you can do to safeguard your church offering, please give us a call, and we would be more than happy to help.
Integrity Now Insurance Brokers, Inc.