Seven Things to Look for in a Nonprofit Banking Partner

Managing a successful nonprofit is no easy task. Many organizations are faced with a thin budget, limited resources and thousands of regionally competitive groups. In order to navigate these challenges, a cooperative structure of relationships ─ from volunteers to community partners ─ is vital to ensuring that no time or money is wasted.

Of these affiliations, a nonprofit’s relationship with its bank is perhaps the most impactful. If you are involved with a nonprofit, it may be the right time to ask: “are we getting the most out of our banking partnership?”

Consider the following characteristics when looking for the right banking partner for your nonprofit:

  1. Understanding Your Mission
    Nonprofits are designed to assist a social issue or community-based need. But does your banking partner know and understand your mission? It may sound basic, but answering this question is a worthwhile test of your bank’s investment into your nonprofit. If your bank seems unknowledgeable about your purpose and programs, they are likely unable to tailor the correct financial solutions to your specific challenges. If this is the case, they are limiting your growth, and it may be time to explore new options.
  2. Shared Values
    As a nonprofit, your entire purpose is to give back. It is important to find a banking partner that shares similar values to your organization. Find a bank that is involved in their community and also focuses on giving back. This will not only cement your relationship — as you will automatically have something in common with your banker — but it ensures you have similar goals and business values.
  3. Community Focus
    A bulk of nonprofits are locally based, so it’s important to find a bank that knows the community you’re impacting. Most large banking institutions have locations across the country and are less focused on local interests. This is why community banks are often an ideal partner for most nonprofits. They are involved with the community and know your community’s values, too.
  4. Building a Network
    Nonprofits require a lot of support from the community — whether it’s volunteers, employees or board members. Local banks will know the people in a community who are likely to support and donate to nonprofits. In the event that your nonprofit is in its early stages, banks may also assist with the location of board members, while also helping to fulfill the duties of a treasurer if a full-time treasurer is out of the budget or he/she is working exclusively on a volunteer basis.
  5. Experienced Bankers
    It’s important to work with a bank that has experience working with nonprofits. Choosing a banking partner with a nonprofit banking team will ensure you are working with a bank that has products and services specifically designed for nonprofits’ needs. An experienced banker will also be better able to find the best solution for your organization since they’ve likely dealt with similar challenges in the past.
  6. Resource Opportunities
    If your bank checks the boxes so far, then it’s time to talk about value-add programs. Some banks offer nonprofit resources, such as training courses, educational speakers and networking sessions, all geared toward educating and improving their nonprofit partners. Choosing a bank that is invested in helping you succeed is crucial when looking for a banking partner for your nonprofit.
  7. Saving You Time and Money
    If your bank is prepared, thoughtful and fosters an enriching partnership, they are already helping to preserve your time and money. However, you cannot overlook the importance of a bank’s product and service offerings. Since nonprofits do not have a penny to waste, your bank should provide products and services that are tailored to nonprofits, minimize fees and maximize returns. Your banker should understand your financial situation and do whatever they can to save you money. It’s also important that your bank provides online capabilities that are available 24/7 so you can manage your money on your schedule.

At Sandy Spring Bank, our Nonprofit Banking Team offers tailored solutions to help our nonprofit partners get the most out of their banking relationship. When pairing product offerings with low fees and tailored banking solutions, we can help you grow and achieve your mission. We are highly involved ─ both as volunteers and as leaders ─ in countless foundations, and our team offers educational seminars to our nonprofit partners. We understand nonprofits from the inside-out, and as active members of our communities, we share your mission to give back. 

For more information on Sandy Spring Bank’s nonprofit banking products and services, please contact Monica Tressler at [email protected].

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This publication does not constitute legal, tax, accounting or other professional advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this material. Websites not belonging to this organization are provided for information only. No endorsement is implied.