Counting Proceeds From the Collection Baskets
Here are some tips to make this task easier for you while avoiding errors we have seen happen. Because two of you are doing the count while most people are still at church, if you encounter any problems or questions with a check, one of you can leave to find that person to answer the question or resolve the problem. This is not possible later for the Treasurer or Asst. Treasurer, who are usually working alone after most people have already left.
Separate the bills by denomination, count bills and coins. Enter the total on the envelope as Total Cash. Sometimes there are $1 coins. Watch out for them; they look a lot like quarters!
Checks (more complicated)
The very first step in tallying the checks is to look closely at each check. Do not assume every check in the basket is a pledge payment or donation to the general operating fund. Some may not even be made out to PBUUC. Checks have multiple sections, all of which must be looked at to avoid miscounting or misdirecting the check, or making a perfectly good check un-cashable.
On Special Collection (SC) Sundays (or even the week after)
First look for any checks, not placed in a SC envelope, but which:
- are made out to the SC organization, or
- made out to PBUUC, but the memo line says it is for the SC organization.
Give those made out to the SC organization to the SAC person who is counting them. Do not stamp them on the back or the SC organization will not be able to cash them!
Those made out to PBUUC, but intended for the SC organization, should be stamped on the back and can be given to SAC to turn in with their cash. They will be deposited in our account and then included in the check we will write to the SC organization.
Look at all parts of each check, noting the following:
- Payee - This must be Paint Branch UU Church or some recognizable form of that name. We cannot deposit checks made out to anyone else. Other payees sometimes seen are Special Collection recipients or Riderwood Chaplain. For Special Collection checks, see above. For Riderwood Chaplain checks, ask David Nation.
- Memo line - In the lower left corner. Be sure it says "pledge", "donation", "operating expenses", a designated month or fiscal year, something similar, OR is blank. If any "pledge" checks indicate they are for a previous or upcoming fiscal year, they should be included in your plate count, but it would be helpful if you sort them separately from the other checks and put a post-it on them to call our attention to that. If the memo line says something else, such as "rental", "site improvement", "piano fund", "ministerís discretionary fund", "social action", or anything clearly not a donation or pledge contribution, do not include it in your count total, and please tag it for us to assign to the proper account. You can put these checks in the same envelope, but preferably paper clipped together separate from the other checks.
- Date - Be sure the date is there, is recent, not one which has not yet come and, especially in January, that it has the correct year.
- Amount - Is written in two places on the check. Itís in figures ($125) in the small box and in words (one hundred twenty five) on the line under that. Be sure the two amounts agree with each other, and are legible. If you have trouble reading either, compare it to the other for clarity. If you misread it and the amount you enter in your addition is incorrect, your total will not agree with ours, and it will very difficult for us to find the reason.
- Signature - Be sure the check is signed, and done so by the person or one of the persons listed in the account name(s) at the top of the check.
- Sealed envelope - This would be the envelope provided for people who wish to pay their pledges in cash rather than by check. Only one or two people use these. They should have a label saying who they are from. Open them, count the cash and confirm it is the amount written on the inside of the flap. Put the cash back in the envelope, write the amount and "counted" on the envelope and sign it. Include the amount in your collection total.
- Stamp on the back - All checks made out to PBUUC need to be stamped on the back. There is a rubber stamp, usually sitting on top of the filing cabinet next to the finance computer. It is black and says something like "Pay to the order of Paint Branch". Being sure you are holding it correctly, stamp the back of each check in the area indicated for endorsements. Please, do not use the return address stamp! The endorsement stamp carries our bank account number.
- The adding machine - Makes it easier for you to total the check amounts. If you push the "on" button all the way to the right, it will also count the number of checks. Enclose the resulting tape in the envelope.
- Photocopying the checks - It was Dianeís suggestion that you do this, and while I know she thought it would be helpful to us, I donít find it to be so. I canít speak for Dave, but I prefer the checks to be copied in the manner which reduces to 65% size and allows 10 regular checks per page. This is the most efficient method, but if you donít know how to do it, it wastes paper and ink and creates more papers to be filed for each deposit. The checks youíre counting are not the only checks we deal with in each deposit, and none of the others are being previously copied, so once Dave & I have moved checks around, entered them in the computer, tallied them on the adding machine and sorted them by physical size, we might lose track of which were in the offering and photo copied, and which were not and still require copying. It would take longer to untangle this than to copy all checks at one time, usually not more than 30, total.
- Attendance count - The ushers may turn in a sheet of paper with the collection, noting the number of people attending the service. This should go in Chuckís mailbox.
Money Envelopes to put the collection in are kept in the cabinet where the safe is, usually to the right of the safe. Please fill out the front with the date, "Plate", cash total, check total, number of checks & sealed envelopes, and signatures of both people doing the count.
Thank you for performing this essential service.
-Marilyn Pearl & Dave Nation