If you’re considering building a donation box to collect funds from patrons and customers for your nonprofit small business, it’s important to ensure that your box is secure and well protected. A donation box can collect a considerable amount of money for your organization, so it’s critical that you know the funds are always safe.
Accepting Charitable Donations
Fundraising is a regulated activity that needs to follow specific guidelines and rules. These regulations vary from state to state, so you should contact your state department to learn the details for your state. In many cases, organizations are required to register with the state before they begin soliciting charitable donations, so this step should be taken before you build your secure donation box.
No matter what fundraising vehicle your organization is using – which includes the donation box, websites, social media, direct mail and more – it’s important to follow the fundraising guidelines of your state. Many states require your organization to renew its registration in subsequent years, so be sure to write down the deadlines for renewal as well. Once you are done collecting donations, you may be required to unregister with the state.
Ensuring the Box Is Tamper Proof
Regardless of whether you are using a donation box with a stand or a wall-mounted donation box, it’s vital that the box be constructed out of durable and weather-resistant material, especially if it will be placed outside. Donation boxes can be made out of metal, wood or plastic. Depending on the size of the donation box, you can also construct one out of strong cardboard tubes. These are generally on the smaller end and are better for collecting small amounts of coins indoors.
Many organizations prefer to use a donation box that is transparent so that patrons are able to see the donations inside. In this case, choose a strong acrylic material that is see-through yet sturdy enough to offer security. Be sure to empty the contents of the box on a frequent basis.
While seeing the donations inside the box can encourage others to donate, it may also tempt some people into trying to take the money instead. As such, it’s important to create a box-emptying schedule to ensure you and your staff remember to empty it frequently.
Securing the Box With a Lock
In order to ensure your donation box is secure, there should be a lock on the opening. This way, only authorized personnel will be able to open it. Some donation boxes come with built-in security features such as combination locks. This way, an additional lock is not required.
With a combination lock, you will need to set the combination by following the instructions in the manual. Once the combination is set, be sure to memorize it so that you can easily open the box. If you do write down the combination, keep it in a safe place and do not share the combination with anyone who shouldn’t have access to the box.
If there is no built-in security feature on your donation box, you will need to install a combination or key lock on the opening. If you are using a key lock, make sure you have two copies of the key. Keep one key with you and store the other one in a secure location in case the first key gets lost.
Placing the Secure Outdoor Donation Box in a High-Traffic Area
To ensure your donation box is safe, place it in a busy area that sees a lot of foot traffic. This not only increases the potential for your donations, but it helps to deter people from trying to break into the donation box. High-traffic areas include entrances and exits and near the reception desk.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.