How Churches Avoid Fraud and Misuse of Funds During Social Distancing

by | March 24, 2020

Avoiding Fraud and Misuse of Funds

There is little happening in our churches today that could be described as business as usual. While it can be challenging to quickly adapt to a new normal—especially when there isn’t a playbook—it’s worth your time to review your internal financial controls and adjust as needed. 

One of the most important internal financial controls is how you handle church donations. It is vital to maintain integrity and trust in the handling of donor gifts, especially during this unusual ministry season. 

Dr. Norma Quinn is Vice President at Horizons Stewardship and the former Treasurer of the Oklahoma Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Her background in organizational leadership, pubic accounting, and local church ministry has informed her thinking and recommendations about how churches can amend their normal operating procedures without sacrificing any of the internal controls.

FREE Church Resource

Dr. Quinn has assembled a FREE guide for churches that was recently released by Horizons Stewardship entitled, “Internal Controls During Social Distancing.” In this guide, you will discover clearly defined roles for the Pastor, Treasurer, and Financial Secretary. You’ll learn why dual control should always be your approach when it comes to handling donor funds. You will also find suggestions for how to creatively maintain dual control during social distancing restrictions.

The heart of the concern should be appropriately stewarding what God has inspired someone to give. Dr. Quinn writes, “Following these practices is essential in providing a comfort level to the donors, and also provides for transparency in the financial operations of the church. All of these are essential and should be applied consistently.” 

Dr. Quinn believes there is no scenario—even this unusual one during social distancing—where dual controls should be eliminated. That could have severe moral and legal implications should any mishandling of funds be discovered. 

What You’ll Learn

In this resource, you’ll find practical tips and ideas covering a range of financial operational functions including:

  • Where to receive funds when the church building isn’t open
  • Online banking
  • Payment processing
  • Payroll
  • Signing checks
  • Protecting the assets of the church

Joe Park, CEO and Managing Partner at Horizons Stewardship, says, “Dr. Quinn’s resource comes at a critical time when church donations are more important than ever. My background in banking taught me that trust is something that takes a lifetime to gain and one event to lose. Churches need to be able to fund ministry and meet the needs of its community. That’s why maintaining proper internal financial controls is critical to navigating these uncertain times.” 

This FREE resource is available right now to all Giving365 members. Just log in and look for the folder “7. Maintaining Internal Financial Controls During Social Distancing.” If you’re not currently a member, you can sign up for a FREE account today.  

Giving365 is an on-demand library of church resources designed to help you make disciples and fund ministry. Every member will be notified when new resources are available. You will also receive our special email series “Resilient Leadership” twice weekly during this special season of ministry to make sure you have carefully curated ideas, practical tips, and best practices to maximize your ministry impact. 

2 Comments

    • Joe Park

      Thanks Kirsten! Joe

      Reply

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