How to Set Up a Charity Bank Account

Written by faizah imani
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By setting up a charity bank account, potential donors can donate to your cause with an added sense of security. To set-up your charitable account, you must have a beneficiary. The beneficiary can be living or you can set-up an account in the memory of someone who is deceased. While the exact procedures for setting up a charitable bank account will slightly vary by institution, there are certain protocols that are standard across the banking industry.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Contact the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) if the purpose of the charity bank account is to cover expenses of a deceased individual, such as funeral expenses, or the welfare of the deceased's family members.

    You should also obtain an EIN if you intend to name more than one beneficiary on the charitable account. The EIN will be mailed to you on official IRS letterhead.

  2. 2

    Visit the bank where you want to establish an account. Advise the banking representative that you wish to establish a charitable account for an individual.

  3. 3

    Complete the application to open the charity account. Some of the information you will have to include on the application is the name of the charity, the beneficiary's name, the beneficiary's social security number, and the beneficiary's date of birth.

    If the purpose of the charitable account is to cover the expenses of the deceased, you must include the EIN instead of the deceased's social security number. Also use the EIN if you are naming more than one beneficiary on the account.

  4. 4

    Present authorisation from the living beneficiary that grants you permission to open a charitable account on his behalf if he (or she) is over the age of 18. If the individual is not present, you can obtain a notarised letter indicating that the beneficiary is aware of the account being opened and has given you permission to open the account under his name.

  5. 5

    List the name of the individual whom you want to have rights to access the funds in the account. This individual will be responsible for accessing the funds and distributing them to the beneficiary. If the beneficiary is over the age of 18 and competent enough to access his own funds, you can list his name as the sole signatory.

Tips and warnings

  • Advertise your charity bank account. As more individuals become aware of your charity, your odds of receiving a donation increases.
  • In order for a charity donor to claim the charitable deduction on his tax return, your charity must be recognised as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organisation by the IRS.

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