The voluntary and charitable sector is full of people committed to good causes, yes? No. There are some unscrupulous devious people who only turn up to work in these sectors to earn a wage and scam as much as they possibly can out of the system regardless of who gets harmed along the way.
Shocked? You should be. Financial misconduct and financial theft are too tempting for people who are in positions of trust. Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases that have gone to court and those that have been brushed under the carpet where people who manage the financial processes of, even, registered charities have been dipping their hands in the till.
How have they managed to do this? That question is easy to answer. Trust and poor financial checking procedures. Some of these offenders have been described by their ex-colleagues as ‘angels’, ‘friendly’, ‘helpful’ and many more complimentary characteristics. How is it that the voluntary and charitable sectors are trusting and have poor procedures? A number of reasons might be:
- Frequent changes in membership of the Board
- The Board and management concentrating on crisis management
- The Board are volunteers with other responsibilities, their time is limited so prioritise on service delivery
- Board members of voluntary and charitable organisations led by senior management team
- Board members not understanding the financial processes
- Lack of financial scrutiny by the Board and / or senior management
Any small organisation in the voluntary and charitable sector is at risk of financial management and / or financial theft. Organisations must check the checkers. Some organisations do not report or prosecute offenders for fear of reputational damage that could result in loss of donations. The voluntary sector needs to scrutinise finances in a robust manner and not rely on trust when it comes to money.