Beware. There are people who will steal your fundraising cash.

It doesn’t happen often. That’s the good news. But a few times a year we hear from groups whose fundraising coordinators have stolen the money collected when selling fundraising products. Here’s how it usually plays out:

We will get a call from an inquisitive parent wondering where their fundraising products are. So we look up their group in our database to get their order status. In these situations we find one of two results. Either the group placed their order but have not submitted payment or the group never submitted their order at all.

When we tell the parent their first reaction is surprise and they usually say they’ll call the person in charge but you can tell they don’t quite believe what they are being told. Often we hear from a few parents or customers.

Here’s where it sometimes gets interesting. When the parents call their group leader ro ask what’s going on they will either learn the truth or the coordinator will attempt to lie to cover their tracks. If they are lying they’ll say one of a few things including that they have sent the check, that they’ve placed the order and that they’ve been talking to the fundraising company. That’s when we get the second phone call.

The second call is more interesting because the parent now assumes the fundraising company is up to no good. Our response is always the same. We apologize if we made a mistake but we ask the parent to request a copy of the group’s cancelled check so we can verify that the order was in fact placed and paid for. In 12 years we have never received a copy of a cancelled check for an order that was placed and never paid for.

Typically the police get involved at this point and the truth begins to come out.

So why are we sharing this story? For your protection. The percentage of groups that fall victim to this crime is extremely small. But it happens. So we suggest that you carefully screen anyone handling money for your group. Equally important is to make sure that there are always a minimum of two people responsible for handling money at all times.

Be careful and you can completely eliminate this nightmare.

 

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Posted on 18 July 2012

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