Church Offering Counting Tools

Free Church Offering Counting Tools

Part 3 in a 4-part series on How to Count Church Offerings

It doesn’t get much more practical than this. Here are the church offering counting tools and the step-by-step process your Counting Team needs every week:

Church Offering Counting Tools

Keep in mind that this is geared toward the mobile church plant. There might be a few things you’d do differently in a permanent facility.

The Tools

Here are the church offering counting tools you must have in your weekly kit:

  • Count Sheets (download my free version)
  • ink pens
  • a stapler
  • deposit slips for the church bank account
  • “deposit only” bank endorsement stamp
  • tamper-evident deposit bags (such as these)
  • a calculator
  • a smart device (phone/tablet/iPod)* or portable scanner/printer

Here are some optional tools that might make things easier:

  • a internet-connected laptop or tablet if you’re going to record donations into your church management software (ChMS) on site
  • some of the ChMS platforms offer the option to connect a MICR reader or scanner that you can zip the checks through to speed up input

The Process

Be conscious of the chain of custody: combine the contents of all the plates, bags or boxes used to collect the offering, but don’t let it sit unsupervised for any length of time before it gets into the hands of the 2 people who are counting the offering that week.

Your counting team should identify an out-of-the-way place to count the offering. Here’s the step-by-step process they will follow each week:

  1. Set aside contact/prayer request cards (if you have people drop those in the offering)
  2. Open any envelopes and record cash amounts & donor info on each envelope (IRS rules)
  3. Process the checks:
    1. include any that were mailed in during the week
    2. stamp all checks with the “deposit only” bank endorsement stamp
    3. record the total number of checks on the Count Sheet
    4. add up and record the sum of all the checks on the Count Sheet
    5. scan, image or photocopy all of the checks and cash envelopes for donor tracking
  4. Process the cash:
    1. record the total of all the coins on the Count Sheet
    2. each of the counters count up the bills independently; record quantities of each bill/denomination on the Count Sheet
    3. add up and record the sum off the bills & coins on the Count Sheet
  5. Prepare the deposit:
    1. date the deposit slip
    2. enter the check & cash totals on the slip
    3. add those up and enter that total on both the deposit slip and the Count Sheet
    4. both of the counters put their initials on the deposit slip
    5. scan, image or photocopy the deposit slip
    6. put the deposit slip along with all of the checks & cash into the tamper-evident deposit bag and seal it
    7. tear off the bag’s serialized receipt/tag and record that number on the Count Sheet; staple the tag to the Count Sheet, too
  6. Finalize the documentation:
    1. date the Count Sheet
    2. each of the 2 counters sign at the bottom of the Count Sheet
    3. scan or image the Count Sheet
    4. if you’re using an analog/offline process, then attach the photocopies of the checks, envelopes & deposit slip to the Count Sheet and get it into the hands of the bookkeeper, or
    5. if you’re using a digital/online process, then upload the scans/images of the checks, envelopes, deposit slip and Count Sheet (more on that below)
  7. Get the contact cards and sealed deposit bag to the responsible parties

If you have more than one service per weekend, then you can decide whether you want to do this process for each service or just once for the day. If you go for the ‘just once’ approach, remember your chain of custody – where is the money from the prior service going to sit until you’ve taken up the offering in the next service?

A Caution for Digital Records

*If you’re capturing images of sensitive donor information and account numbers, be sure to figure out how to keep that information secure:

  1. On the device itself – who has access to the device during the week, and will there be any residual or archived copy of the images on the device?
  2. In transmission – email has never promised to be a secure medium, so figure out some kind of password-protected system (could this free app work?)


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