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Shhh....Let's not talk about it!

It is never a pleasant conversation in a volunteer group, or any group for that matter, to address theft among your team members. No one wants to be the one to point the finger at a fellow member of a booster club or other volunteer board. People don’t like to think that someone that is volunteering for a non-profit would even think about stealing from a worthy cause, whose entire mission is to MAKE money for the organization. However, your organization would be remiss if they did not put the protocols in place to prevent the need for the conversation or accusations. You don’t have to look far in the news archives to find volunteers or board members who have taken advantage of the groups that did not put the strategies in place to protect themselves. From a drill team volunteer in Bonham, Texas to a Band Booster parent in Brandon, Miss, it is just a click away to see the trusted leaders that have taken advantage of these groups. Here are some suggestions to prevent these terrible situations.

Accounting Protocols

Most booster clubs and non-profits are very hesitant to commit to spending any money that is not absolutely necessary. After all, we are raising money to send our kids on a band trip or to get new equipment for the team, right? However, given the risks of someone taking funds from your program, hiring an auditor to check your books is an expense worth incurring. Just making it known that you HAVE an accountant regularly looking at your books, will deter people from making decisions to take money. The biggest problem with almost all non-profit groups is that people come in and out of the organization frequently. It creates transitional gaps that can create opportunities for people to take advantage of your funds.

Avoid cash when possible

It is really hard to avoid cash entirely, but when possible, you should do so. This is the easiest way for people to "skim off the top". That being said, it can hurt your profits if you don't allow all forms of payment. In the scenarios where you need to accept cash, make sure you can balance the cash drawer. For example, one of the biggest money makers for many groups is the concession stand, but traditionally there has not been a way to accurately balance the cash at the end of the event. Your volunteers know that and so they might be inclined to take cash because they know that there is no way to prove it. So, what options do you have? Well, you can give up the giant money maker that is the concession stand OR you can look at platforms like Blitz Concessions that give you detailed inventory, margin, and sales reports. Blitz Concessions is designed to account for every item that you put in the stand and every way that item leaves the stand (sales, waste, comp items, etc.). Implementing this platform and training your people that every item needs to be logged when it leaves the stand will automatically deter volunteers from giving food to a friend or taking cash from the drawer. In addition, Blitz Concessions will tell the volunteer how much change to give back to avoid accidental shortages/overages due to calculation errors.

Understand Reports

Since it is important to get information about your sales, it is also important to understand the information that you get in the reports. Each report that you may have access to provides you with important information to help you maximize your profits. Some potential reports you might see are the following:

  • Sales reports

Sales reports provide you with the basic information about how much you sold, letting you know if you are short or over in cash versus sales. Blitz Concessions adds another feature to your toolbox, the ability to track comped items. This feature allows you to know how much your volunteers gave away in the form of waste, and giveaways to coaches, referees, and volunteers. The fact that you can have a way to track every item that you bring into your inventory and how it goes out will allow you to keep an eye on how much you are giving away. Letting your volunteers know that they have to ring up every item lets them know that you are doing inventory and keeping track of how much is given away.

  • Inventory reports

Inventory reports are a vital tool to help you in your stand. However, it is only as good as the information you put into it. When the information is put in correctly and you encourage your workers to track every sale, you will have what you need to plan and order accurately. Using inventory reports from event to event, year over year will allow you to order more accurately for events. The closer you get to knowing what you are selling each week, the more money you will have in the bank and not idly sitting on the shelf. It can also show you trends of item shortages. This can help you assess if you think there is actual theft or normal accidental shortages. However, if you are using the comped buttons for sales, you should not ever really have shortages in your inventory.

  • Margin reports

Whether or not you are a bookkeeper, it is important to know how much you are making on your menu items whether you sell them individually or as a combo, not just how much you sold. A margin report can be an important report to give you an overall view of how the stand performed for an event. For example, items that are comped out of the stand have a cost associated with them even if you did not get paid. It is important to know how much you made for an event that includes the decreased revenue from comped items or combo items. There are a lot of people who say they only care about how much money they deposit in the bank, but don't pay attention to this important detail. For your stand to be successful, all of these pieces need to be looked at after your event.

Investing in Blitz Concession to solve these challenges, plus the ability to pay with a credit card is instrumental in deterring the potential theft that might come inadvertently or blatantly. 

So don't shy away from addressing theft today BEFORE it becomes a very uncomfortable conversation down the road. For more information about how Blitz Concessions can help your program, click this link to schedule a brief meeting with us.

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