What bank should we use for our Non Profit?

Hey All. Easy question for you today. I am in the process of starting my own non profit around Lights.Camera.Help.  and we need some help. What bank should we use? What bank does your non profit use? What’s important for us to look for in a bank? The first 5 responses will win a prize from our non profit prize closet.

Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I recommend University Federal Credit Union if you are in town. I should disclose that they are a client that my company serves for one year now, and I am also a member for over 8 years now. The reason I bank at UFCU is the personal touch and executive commitment to client service excellence. Give me a holler and I can introduce you to their executive team.

  2. Be patient. This is potentially the most important relationship for your for-benefit/non-profit.
    Kim Wilson (@KimJWilson) can probably provide some fantastic insight to this question, too.
    First thought, best thought:

    1) Find a local Partner (operative word: Partner.)
    in no particular order…
    PlainsCapital (based in Dallas)
    [Look into] Moody National (not local (they’re out of Galveston) but getting there, and they love entrepreneurs)

    2) Of those local banks (my comprehensive list was on the hard drive that was stolen, but I’ll find it through other means,) survey their cause marketing/corporate gifting record and identify which of the potential partner banks are most aligned/congruent with your mission and/or philosophy. Cull to a tiered list: core, semi-peripherally aligned, peripherally aligned.

    3) Contact those banks on list first by telephone. Start with the peripherally aligned, and work backwards. Experience their customer service, first hand. Ask to speak with the President of the Bank after explaining who you are why you’re calling. Check for executive accessibility. If asked to leave a message, time how long it takes them to respond to your call, if they take personal action as President, and/or if they delegate it to another. Any good banker knows what it costs to attract solid, new clients. If they do not recognize that all they invested was soft cost (referral/reputation marketing) to get a phone call from you, they are probably not the bank for you. Expect a very conservative cartwheel when you call. If you get anything less, suspect.

    4) Before you place the initial call, compose a list of questions.
    Ask them if they will review your strategic plan and provide feedback should the conversation warrant an in person. Ask questions about their technology and integrated bookkeeping with your back office via the Net. Can you tell me about some of your non-profit clients? Who are they? How did they come to find you? What is the relationship like from your perspective? Have you participated in channel cause marketing with your non-profit clients? If so, How did it go? If not, why? How could the relationship be better? Can you send me a contact for these non-profits so I can better understand their experience with your bank? Ask for an in person meeting. Schedule it. Even if you do not select their bank as your partner, you have big plans, and another contact in the community is another potential ally. (Listen for queues, hesitancy. if the President can immediately recollect and communicate who the bank’s clients are.) Obviously, tell YOUR story, talk about your personal, professional goals and objectives. Then ask them how you can help them moving forward.

    5) Before the meeting with the bank President, call their non-profit client list from the contacts forwarded by the President. Talk through the same rubric as above, and add additional questions about their programming, ie do they place emphasis on constituents, volunteers, donors, staffers, etc.? How are they funded…Grants? Private Donation? Subsidy? What is the mix by percentage? Has this changed/fluctuated over the years? What did the bank do to support their efforts? Tell them your story. Ask if they might be interested in partnering on things. If the conversation is very positive (you can feel that out), ask for an in person meeting. Again, you have big plans, and another contact in the community is another potential ally.

    6) Go alone to the first bank meeting. Compose a list of deeper questions specific to their assets, solvency, holdings, requirements, etc. Ask about incentives should you migrate your personal finances to their bank. Should the conversation warrant further interest, schedule another meeting and set the expectation of when you might reach a decision. Cull your list down further.

    7)Take your entire group of counselors and confidants to the second meeting. Indirectly communicate that you’re a connector. Be transparent about your process. A bank President will “get it,” and realize that you as a client are evangelical about your relationships, and that taking care of you is driving word of mouth marketing and business development for the good work the bank does day in and day out. After introductions, foster a conversation with your entourage and the President, sit back and do alot of listening. Ask that each person in your entourage bring a list of questions. Do not look at their questions before the meeting. Of course, they will ask many of the same questions you have already asked, but chances are they will ask in a different way which will no doubt foment a different approach when the President responds.

    You’re a smart guy so you probably know most of this. All apologies if I am a presumptuous ass. Good luck on the journey and congrats on the new endeavor.

    Towards creative fidelity,

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