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Nonprofits can’t afford this kind of volunteer help

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in Human Resources

Sherri Sullivan, a volunteer treasurer at the Madison County Humane Society, was charged with stealing $65,000 of shelter funds to buy jewelry and makeup.

The society’s board of directors reported that it had a system that required two signatures on checks, but Sullivan allegedly found a way to circumvent it.

A recent report based on data from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that theft costs nonprofits roughly 13% of income, compared to an average of 6% among all organizations. The typical perpetrator of nonprofit theft, according to the study: a female employee with no criminal record who earns less than $50,000 a year and has worked for the nonprofit for at least three years.

Note: Embezzlement usually happens over a period of months or years. Monthly audits of expenses by someone other than the people writing checks is a simple control any organization can afford. For every volunteer treasurer, find a volunteer auditor.

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