It’s a touchy subject, especially amongst a group that from all appearances have a shared vision of contributing the best they can as volunteers for a sports organization. You want to unequivocally trust those in charge of the moola (and in fact you can for the vast majority). But what happens when no processes are in place, things are too lax, and an unscrupulous person wiggles their way into the money position with direct access to the bank account? Sadly, a quick search of the internet shows all too well just how bad things can go:
- Pickering minor hockey (Ontario) lost $725,000 to a Treasurer with a gambling bug
- Penticton minor hockey (British Columbia) lost over $315,000 by a former Treasurer
- Thorsby minor soccer (Alberta) out thousand’s by former Treasurer
There’s more, lots more, but you get the point. It’s easy to see how it happened after-the-fact, but what can be done to prevent fraud in the first place? Some organizations go full-on with a paid Treasurer position, annual audits and an accounting firm on retainer. Sure, but this costs money – sometimes a lot of money.
Here are some other (less expensive) ideas:
- Complete a financial forecast for the season and review midway. Nothing fancy - expenses to date, expenses remaining, money in the bank, and any other expected revenue.
- Review bank statements at meetings, include a copy in the meeting minutes, and ensure the minutes are publically available.
- Put to vote any expenses that will be over a certain threshold.
- Explore collection of fees online. Yes, really – get the money out of people’s hands and have an independent trail showing who paid, when, how much, and where the funds went.
These are just some low (or no) cost ideas that are fairly easy to implement. Remember the goal is not to make it burdensome, a little bit of effort with lots of benefit. Whatever the processes, ensure they are voted on, approved, and in your constitution/policy documents. This will help with any potential awkwardness (hey it’s not me, I’m just following the constitution) and ensure a process is in place for future volunteers.
Thanks for reading.