Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not Such A Smart Cookie

Today, I finished (knock on wood) my turn as the "cookie mom" for Big's Brownie troop. Next year, when they ask for a volunteers, someone please kick me & remind me to volunteer to bring soda's to the Christmas party or something. I NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER want to deal with money again! Gah!
What possessed me to volunteer for such a position in the first place you wonder? Guilt. What else, would force a perfectly sane person to choose to deal in with this level of stress and NOT be paid for it? When I signed up to do this position, it was October/November. I hadn't volunteered for anything in ages. I had my surgery in January, so that pretty much explains why I hadn't volunteered for anything, and the year before that was the reason for the surgery. I'd volunteered for a few things, but not much. So I was finally feeling better when the request for the troop cookie chair came up. Every other mom had totally put out for the troop during that last two years AND everyone else pretty much took a big step back and looked at ME! I fell for it, because of the guilt.
Initially, it seemed like it wouldn't be a big deal. We only have 12 girls in our troop and we weren't doing booth sales. "We wanted some funds so help the girls do some fun things, but we weren't some super troop!" I attended the training & thought, "Ok, I can deal with this." And initially, it was fine.

Round 1
Explained process to girls (and their moms). Hand out supplies, due dates & we're off and running. Everything is great.

Round 2
Girls turn in their orders and money for donation boxes. (People can purchase cookies to donate to the military, Red Cross or local food banks. We don't actually handle these boxes, so council wants money up front to know how much to order.) Had to chase down one girl for her info and two girls for money. One girl actually didn't get her money in, but others had collected for some of their regular orders & it was $20, it was covered & I'd be sure to get it when she paid for the rest. First mistake. Lesson: Same rules apply to everyone.

Round 3
Input girls orders (order actual cookies). Deposit donation money. Pick up cookies. Sort & distribute cookies. This is where I started to get all, "what did I get myself into?" I knew, but I didn't really know, until we had to take a van 2x to pick up our cases of cookies. Good thing we weren't a super troop. Sorting, while not really a huge deal, took way more time than I expected, and took a major toll on my physically. Had to chase down 4 girls to come pick up their cookies. One of them, for over a week!

Round 4
Money starts coming in! There were some mix ups with boxes, so many phone calls related to that. I was good about documenting all the exchanges and receipts for everyone. (Thank Goodness!) About half the troop got all their stuff delivered and turned in their money early or on the actual date I deemed due. (I'm not a fool, I padded my dates because I knew there would be stragglers.) I was also able to get a troop to troop transfer set up so that are extra boxes would not cost the troop. The stragglers killed me on this one. So, half, six of the girls got their money in on time or early. For the other six, two of them called & brought it the next day. One of them called me every day for five days to make sure they could hold off just one more day. She also wasn't sure they'd turned in as much as they thought they had for donation (they'd turned in more) even though she'd signed off on the amount on a receipt. Gah!!! The last two to turn in, one lives a couple doors down from me, and was just sitting on it. The last, was supposed to come over after school drop off, the day before my stuff was due. I hadn't slept the night before, so I called to see if we could meet after lunch. She was doing something unrelated and obviously had no intention of making it to my house anytime soon. Day flew by & we never met up. Called her at 8 PM & asked if I needed to come get it or if she could bring it over, because I had till midnight to finish my computer work. When she brought it over, she felt there was a discrepancy in the amount they'd turned in during donation time. She too had signed a receipt for the amount, but now looking back, thinks it must be wrong. But,she just write a check for the difference if I disagreed. (Said in a particular tone, indicating she didn't want to pay that difference & sure didn't think she needed to.) I told her to go home, I'd figure it all out & if there was more due, I'd call her later. In the end there was money missing, but the leaders and I agreed we didn't want to strain friendships over it, and the troop ate the difference.

What I learned?
From the moment I deal with money, make sure I keep each individuals stuff separate, even the deposits. I didn't do this for our donation money, I deposited in the bank all together. I should've done each girl's deposit separately so I could go back with the bank record to show each person. Also?

I will NOT deal with money for an organization again!