Although no one wants to admit it, church fraud protection is something every ministry and not-for-profit agency needs to be consider. A well-developed church fraud prevention program can be the difference between a ministry that thrives and serves its community and one that fails under the weight of negative publicity and loss of funding. While there are organizations that offer church fraud detection and prevention programs for a fee, there are simple steps every agency can take to help protect themselves from con artists and internal fraud.
1. Screen Potential Clients
There are people who will take advantage of the trusting, charitable nature of those who work for ministries and not-for-profit agencies. While many of the heartbreaking stories you will hear will be true, there may well be some that are not. In order to be fair to everyone, and to ensure that you are using your resources wisely, every church fraud prevention program should include a thorough investigation of potential clients before assistance is given.
2. Check Volunteers
A good church fraud protection plan must also consider that problems can arise internally. In order to ensure that everyone who is associated with your ministry is trustworthy, you should develop a volunteer application process that includes a reference and background check.
3. Receipt Donations
Your church fraud detection plan should include receipting every donation and only allowing certain individuals to handle the money. This is especially true if your organization receives a significant amount of cash donations that cannot be easily tracked. This doesn’t just apply to tithes and offerings – provide receipts at ministry fundraising events as well.
4. Limit Board Members Terms
Allowing board members to become entrenched in their positions can lead to complacency and a failure to monitor their activities. Not only does a regular turnover of board members bring a fresh perspective to your agency, this step in your church fraud prevention program can help bring to light any wrong-doing on the part of outgoing board members.
5. Audit the Books
A regular review of your accounting records by an independent auditor is an important part of your church fraud protection plan. If anyone is attempting to steal money or goods, a yearly audit will bring this to light and allow you to limit the damage.
Set Up a Church Fraud Protection Plan for Your Ministry
Everyone would like to believe that ministries and charitable organizations are exempt from fraud and theft. However, every ministry needs to implement a strong church fraud prevention program that incorporates specific steps, including church fraud detection. This will enable the organization to effectively use the resources they have available and insure donors that their funds are carefully monitored under a well-managed church fraud protection program. If you’re interested in learning what you can do to prevent your church from becoming a victim of fraud, contact the church fraud prevention experts at Weeds in the Garden.