Keeping Your School's Fundraising and Other Money Collection Processes on the Straight and Narrow

Matt Alley's picture

Written by Matt Alley, Director of Student Services, MASSP and MASC/MAHS Michigan Student Leadership

Whether it's tickets for the homecoming dance or a fundraiser for one of your many school-wide clubs, student volunteers are often recruited to collect funds during lunch or after school throughout the year. No matter the person or the event, there are a number of important accountability standards and checks and balances to have in place to ensure everyone and everything stays on the straight and narrow.

Student Accountability
First and foremost, a single student should never be in charge of a collection table alone. This is not necessary an indictment of trust, rather an expansion of student safety. Teams are more efficient; provide a greater range of service and allows for responsible accountability from peer to peer interactions.

Whenever possible, collection tables should be located within sight of the office. Not because the students in charge are under suspicion in any way, but as a safety measure to ensure their wellbeing, as well as the security of funds they are collecting.

A ledger for students to record name, time, date, event number and amount received from each student. Proper record keeping is essential for a final count of funds as well as data that can be used in planning efforts for future years (examples of a ledger and deposit slip are attached for reference).

Students should never be under the impression that carrying money in their hands, inside their own pockets or envelopes is the acceptable practice. Students put in a treasurer role should be mirroring real-world practice to further their educational growth in the workforce. This means collecting and storing funds in a lockbox and accounting for all financial activity.

Checks and Balances
For activity advisers in charge of final cash counts and the actual deposit forms, another educator should always be present. Many generic cash collection forms have an extra signature space for a witness to sign off on and if not, one should be added to your protocol.

Again, this has more to do with verifying information than it does with trust. Advisers should WANT another person to verify and approve information regarding money to help support the validity of the information. This helps avoid scenarios where ones own integrity would be called into question.

Immediacy of deposit slips should be the primary goal of the final count. This process should be clearly outlined, with a step-by-step procedure to follow in the case your business office is located offsite or personal is out of the office.

These points should be emphasized as safety measures to aid the positive and supportive environment of student activities, nothing more. Administrators do not want to micromanage their staff; rather, they take the safety and well being of their activity groups serious.

For a quick example, check out our Student Ledger and Deposit form. For more student and adviser centered resources consider membership with MASC/MAHS - learn more here.