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Best Practices for Handling Church Offerings

by Charlie Kuchenbrod
Associate Conference Minister for Endowment Ministries

The days of carrying church offerings home in a paper bag hopefully are over, but just in case: Here are some helpful guidelines. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that all receipts are properly recorded and protected from loss. The procedure assumes that there is both a financial secretary and a treasurer. The titles may vary, but the separation of responsibilities is an essential to fulfill the purpose of this procedure. There are many ways this model procedure can be adapted to individual church circumstances.

Counting the Offering

Immediately following worship two people should count the offering in a secure location.

Counters

  • The counters should not be related to each other and the responsibility for counting should be rotated on a periodic basis.
  • The people responsible for maintaining accounting records (financial secretary) and preparing financial reports (treasurer) should not be counters.

If the offering cannot be counted immediately following worship, the offering should immediately be transferred to a vault or other secure location until the counting can take place. The people responsible for the transfer should meet the same requirements as counters.

Handling Cash and Checks

  • Cash should be counted by two people and the total amount agreed upon.
  • Checks should be stamped “For Deposit Only” with the name of the church and the appropriate bank account number (No checks collected will be cashed under any circumstances).
  • A standardized form should be used to record collections. A deposit slip recording the cash and checks should be prepared (All cash received should be deposited. No cash should be set aside for use or otherwise applied to expenses).
  • A copy of the deposit slip and copies of the checks should be made for accounting records (A check log is an alternative to copying checks).
  • The deposit should be made by the counters the day the offering is received. If this is not possible, the collections should be stored in a vault or other secure location until deposited. The people responsible for the deposit should meet the same requirements as counters.

Recording Deposits

The financial secretary will promptly record the deposit in the accounting records and track individual contributions. The treasurer will reconcile bank statements to deposit records on a monthly basis and any discrepancies will be promptly investigated.

Donor Statements

Periodic statements, at least quarterly, will be provided to regular donors.

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The Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ
United Church Center
125 Sherman Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06105
(866) 367-2822
www.ctucc.org