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Cash controls

Safety tips to implement effective cash-handling procedures

It’s important to protect your church from the risk of fraud or theft. Documented donation-handling procedures can help keep a close eye on the state of your plate. Here are four tips to help your ministry implement effective cash-handling policies.

Safeguard cash

  • Only count cash and checks from offering plates in a locked room.
  • Deposit cash and checks the same day.
  • If you must store money overnight, place in a cash box within a locked safe or cabinet.
  • Do not use cash donations directly for loans, advances or to pay for expenditures.

Segregate duties

  • Limit and supervise the individuals with access to cash.
  • Have the individual who receives donations prepare a list of all cash and checks.

Record and review all transactions

  • Review your church’s general ledger.
  • Ask a member of the finance committee to double-check all transactions on the general ledger.

Change the routine

  • Behavior patterns are easy for thieves to spot. Change your depositing routine – time of day and by whom – to throw off a thief.

Your internal controls can help protect your ministry’s risk against theft and embezzlement– and keep sticky fingers away from the plate. To ensure proper implementation, document and distribute your policies, then train staff and volunteers.


This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Readers should use this article as a tool, along with best judgment and any terms or conditions that apply, to determine appropriate policies and procedures for your church’s risk management program.