Opening a Bank Account for a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization

This is a post where I detail the documents and information I need to open a bank account for my non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Global Upgrade, Inc. First, please know this is just my own experience and I can’t say I am qualified to provide any legitimate advice. I highly recommend calling your bank of choice and speaking to them about what you need as they may require different documents.

Now that I have a registered non-profit, the next step is to get a bank account to collect donations tax-free!

This is tricky on account I am not physically in the United States at the moment. Normally, I would endure the process of visiting the bank only to discover insufficient documents or some other necessary piece of the puzzle missing, then return to complete the process. However, because one of my board members will have to take time out of being an attorney and stand in for me, I want to do everything in my power to make this a single trip. And in case you are looking, this is generally public information that banks provide to potential clients. I obtained this information over the phone from the bank without even confirming any personal information, and then they sent me a generic form to supplement the documents I will need to bring.

However, it took me three phone calls and three people to reach someone who actually knew with certainty what was needed. The first two people I talked to didn’t get the names of the documents right, although they assured me the bank would accept the ones I guessed they were referring to. Fat chance, I’m not taking that risk with someone else’s time. Fortunately, I was transferred to someone in Compliance, who I presume has some legal experience and won’t be guessing. And, after my final international 30 minute call, here’s the official list for my bank:

    1. Certificate of Incorporation
      1. This should include the business address. If not, you will need correspondence to the non-profit or a bill
    2. Articles of Incorporation
    3. Employer ID Number
    4. IDs for all members who will conduct transactions, that include
      • Name, Address, Signature
      • Social Security Number
    5. Minutes of the most recent meeting that identify the Secretary, who is normally the person who opens the bank account. However, if someone who is NOT the Secretary will open the account, then the minutes must identify the person who will be opening the account as well as the people who will have access to the account.
    6. Authorization Designation Form (provided by the bank)
      • This includes the signature of all members and individuals who will have access to the account, verified by the IDs provided in #4
    7. $20 to deposit into this brand spanking new bank account

Bam! That should be it and the sweet, sweet benefits of being a non-profit should start rolling in!

Just kidding. I know there’s muuuuuch more to operating as a 501(c)(3), and I’ll share what I learn as I go. To find these articles, just check out the tag “nonprofit” in my library.