November 10, 2011
Safely Depositing Weekly Collections
One church nearly loses $7,000 in offerings.
A church in Centralia, Washington, lost nearly $7,000 from its weekly collections recently when a staff member accidentally left the bag containing the collected funds on top of her car and headed to the bank.
Fortunately, a man driving in this small community located about an hour south of Tacoma spotted the bag and picked it up. The man told KomoNews.com, which reported on the incident, he contacted the church and returned the funds because an honest mother and son returned his lost wallet some 40 years earlier.
"I could have done a lot with it, but I couldn't bring myself to do that," he told the outlet.
Until electronic giving and mobile giving options become the dominant methods for transactions among members and visitors, churches of all sizes will handle varying amounts of cash and checks every week. Although the risk is small, the opportunity exists for these offerings to get lost or stolen. If a weekly trip to the bank is necessary, make certain to have two people (preferably unrelated) go together during daytime business hours (in 2009, a couple was robbed while making a night deposit on behalf of a South Carolina church).
Churches also should look into remote-deposit capture technology offered by many financial institutions. A device provided by a bank will scan checks and send the information electronically; churches usually pay for the scanner and a monthly service fee based on volume.