National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior
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Cash Management of Donation Boxes

Below are some hints and cash management procedures NPS units should use for managing cash contributions. The cash management procedures for donation boxes are generally the same as those for handling fee revenues.

Collecting & Counting Cash


  • As required in fee collection operations, a written record of designated collection officers should be kept. The original of the designation memo should be kept by the park. One copy should be given to the employee, and another copy should be sent to the regional Finance Office.
  • The risk of personal liability is inherent in the function of a collection officer and this point should be fully understood by employees before they accept this responsibility. Each employee handling cash is personally liable for its loss or misuse. Exceptions will prevail only when the loss occurs under conditions where the employee has no control, such as theft not due to employee negligence or fire. Complete and accurate records must be maintained for monies at all times.
  • Donation boxes should be emptied frequently to discourage theft and to insure accountability. Two people (at least one should be a designated collection officer) should be present when collecting and counting an undetermined amount of cash: this will minimize risks inherent in cash management responsibilities. All employees must be adequately trained prior to their designation as a collection officer. Although there are no set policies on how often a donation box should be emptied, once a day at the close of business is suggested.
  • All contributions should be counted the same day they are removed from the collection box.
  • Stack coin counters will help expedite the counting process.
  • The amount collected, the account to be credited, the date, and the names of the individuals who counted the money should always be reported.

Cash Security and Safes


  • Donations should be stored in the same fashion as fees. Most parks already have safes. Safes used in isolated areas should be the floor or wall-type and installed in concrete blocks, making theft difficult. Safes should have compartments with individual locks so that each employee having cash or accountable stock that requires safeguarding may have an individual storage facility. In the case of small floor safes, more than one such unit should be provided. A series of small floor safes may be installed in one concrete block. A regular locked file cabinet or desk drawer is not considered adequate protection.
  • Safe combinations must be known only by employees who use the safes as part of their cashier, fee collection, or donation collection responsibilities. The safe combination must be changed at least annually and when a designated employee is no longer involved in collection activities. It should also be changed whenever the combination has been compromised (e.g., when others must be provided with the safe's combination due to the unforeseen absence of a cashier).
  • The safe combination must be placed in a sealed, signed and dated envelope and retained in a secure place. Collection officers are responsible for keeping their copies of the safe combination. Extra copies must not be maintained. When safeguarding facilities are secured by key-locking devices, the extra set of keys must be secured in the same manner as the safe combination.
  • All keys to an inner compartment of a safe must be issued with Form DI-105, Receipt for Property, to the employee to whom the compartment is assigned. The original, signed receipt must be retained. The key must be returned when the employee leaves or is no longer involved in the collection activity.
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