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Three Strikes…You’re Out

June 23, 2023

At a Little League game, you usually think about bases being stolen, not cash. Unfortunately, the same volunteers selling hotdogs and cotton candy at the concession stand may also be taking advantage of their volunteer position and stealing. One woman recently pocketed more than $2,000.00 from the team’s concession stand.

Volunteer theft from concession stands is a growing problem that is affecting many organizations and events. Concession stands are a vital source of revenue for many non-profit organizations and they rely heavily on the support and dedication of volunteers to help run these stands.

“If you do not have a concession stand, you’re not going to be able to stay strong,” said Dawn Ozack, president of the Largo Little League in Florida. “I will say at least 80 to 90% of our funds come from people volunteering and helping at concession stands.”

There are many ways in which volunteers steal from concession stands. One common method is taking money from the cash register or collection box. Volunteers may also take food or beverages without paying for them, or give away items to family and friends for free. In some cases, volunteers may even steal equipment or supplies from the concession stand.

The impact of volunteer theft from concession stands can be significant. Non-profit organizations rely on the revenue generated by concession stands to support their programs and activities. When volunteers steal from the concession stand, it directly affects the organization’s ability to fund their initiatives. Additionally, volunteer theft can damage the reputation of the organization and discourage future volunteers from getting involved.

Preventing volunteer theft from concession stands requires a proactive approach. Organizations should implement clear policies and procedures for handling cash and inventory. Volunteers should be trained on these policies and should understand the consequences of theft. Additionally, organizations should conduct regular audits of their concession stand operations to ensure that everything is accounted for.

Volunteer theft isn’t something many organizations consider. After all, these stands are run to raise money for youth activities—from sporting events to high school theater productions. The volunteers are usually family members and friends.

“There’s probably a stronger level of family trust, therefore someone may be more apt to think that they’re going to get away with it,” said Sally Johnson, executive director of the National Council on Youth Sport.

Organizations can also take steps to deter theft from concession stands. For example, they can install security cameras or hire security personnel to monitor the concession stand during events. They can also assign volunteers to work in pairs or teams to hold each other accountable and discourage theft.

Volunteer theft from concession stands is a serious problem that can have significant consequences for non-profit organizations. Preventing theft requires a proactive approach that includes clear policies, training, and monitoring. By taking these steps, organizations can protect their revenue and reputation, and ensure that volunteers are supporting their mission rather than undermining it.

Fazan, Sarina. “Little leagues come together after league president was arrested for stealing.” ABC News, November 4, 2016. https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-north-pinellas/largo/little-leagues-come-together-after-league-president-was-arrested-for-stealing. Last accessed March 28, 2023.

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