June 9, 2014; Beaumont Enterprise

The positive take on this story about a string of reported and adjudicated thefts from nonprofits in southeast Texas is just that—they were reported and the miscreants were charged. On the other hand, the list of incidents is uncomfortably long. From the descriptions of these incidents, most of the losses seem to have been relatively small (though not small to a small organization) and committed by someone in a difficult financial situation volunteering with the organization.

Here is the takeaway: Even small volunteer organizations need tight financial controls. They save people from themselves at moments of temptation and save the organization from fraud and all that goes with it. If your organization is too small to require an audit, do yourselves a favor and save yourself some heartache by investing in a well-designed financial system with checks and balances.—Ruth McCambridge