Do you ever wonder what happens to the money after you place your offering in the basket? The answer is that Saint Brendan has its own “money buddies” to process the collection. In addition to the rectory office staff, Saint Brendan’s Collection Committee consists of parishioners Mario DeBono, Robert Crisera, Elizabeth Gamarra, Lucille Kovash, Jack (“Grumpy”) Mona, Jeff Porter, Stacey Simpson, and Ella Tsang.
These dedicated parishioners report every Monday morning to get the collection money from the safe, where it is securely stored after each Mass. Once the cash has been removed from an envelope and counted, the amount of the donation is written on the envelope. The different denominations of bills are placed into separate bins and then the cash is counted by hand twice. As a final check, the cash is run through a cash counting machine like you see at the bank.
Up until last month, each parishioner’s donation was entered manually into our parish data system. Parish Manager, Lisa Rosenlund, saw an opportunity to make this process more efficient and asked our vendor to place bar codes on all envelopes beginning in August. Lisa then acquired a bar code scanner like you see in stores. Now with one click of the scanner, each parishioner’s information is entered automatically into the database. Another click on sheets printed with the barcode for amounts typically donated (ex. $1000.00), and the data entry is complete.
While the cash is being counted, other committee members process the checks. Each check is endorsed and the endorsed checks are then grouped into stacks of twenty-five and totaled on an adding machine with a tape for backup. The checks are then run through a scanner one at a time and parishioner information and check amount are entered automatically into the parish’s data system. Once data entry is complete, the checks and the cash are taken to the bank to be deposited.
Another innovation on the horizon, which you may also have seen at the bank, is a remote check depositing machine which can deposit each stack of checks in a matter of seconds. With remote deposit of checks in place, only the cash will remain to be taken to the bank. A planned improvement to make even this final step of the process more efficient will be to place the cash in tamper-proof bags and have it picked up by an armored truck service and taken to the bank. This will save staff time driving to and from the bank and waiting in line for a teller.
Processing collections is a ministry of the church. Starting with the next three-month schedule, Collection Committee service dates will be entered into the Ministry Pro Scheduling system, like all other ministries of Saint Brendan. This will ensure that there are enough counters and make getting substitutes easier when counters cannot serve. “We are deeply grateful for every donation received. It is my personal obligation to ensure that the amounts we receive from the generous stewardship of our parishioners is handled responsibly and used only for the glory of God. I am thankful our Monday morning ‘money buddies,’ who make this happen.”
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