Charitable organisations in Australia can use savings accounts to both help manage their funds and receive donations.
Australian financial institutions have introduced savings products that provide multiple benefits to a charitable organisation or group. One type of account for not-for-profit organisations can be used to keep their money safe, while the other is used by Australians who want to passively make their own contributions for the greater good.
Are community accounts the same as a charity account?
They are very similar, though one is designed for charity and the other, for community groups. Just like a standard savings account, a community account is designed to pay you interest monthly based on your daily balance. The only difference being that the financial institution will also contribute to a charitable organisation of your choice, using a percentage of your balance to determine how much.
This is typically of no cost or loss of funds to you, allowing you to make valuable contributions to your local non-profit groups without feeling a pinch in your pocket money.
How does a not-for-profit account work?
A not-for-profit account is customised to meet the banking needs of organisations who collect those donations. These types of savings accounts provide all of the benefits of a typical savings account, helping your group earn even more money that can be put towards good use. Special features may include allowing access to a number of people who are responsible for keeping track of the finances for the not-for-profit group.
John has concerns about the Australian environment and wishes he could do more to help a local organisation with their efforts in recycling. While he does make yearly donations, he finds out that with Beyond Bank they too will contribute if he were to open a savings account with them.
At no cost to him, a percentage of his balance is calculated and those funds sent to his charity, while he still earns his own interest on his money.
That same charity has an account with AUSWIDE Bank. It's Everyday Club Account allows the treasurer and other directors to make transactions to help with their recycling education, while the balance in the account still earns interest.
Who currently offers savings accounts for charities?
- St.George Bank. The Society Cheque Account is available for use by a number of different types of charitable organisations, allowing them to access their money easily as it earns interest daily.
- Heritage Bank. You can make regular donations to a charity with the Community Saver Account that will have no direct impact on your account balance.
- BankSA. Like St.George, BankSA also allows you to keep track of your not-for-profit group’s finances with an interest earning account that charges you no monthly fees or fees on online transactions.
- Beyond Bank. The Community Reward Account from Beyond Bank provides you with a way to make noteworthy donations to your selected charity without it making a ding in your own savings.
How do I compare community accounts?
Whether you are an individual who wants to help a non-profit group meet their goals, or that non-profit group with important goals to reach, you will want to compare various accounts to ensure that your funds are giving and receiving the most benefit. Look at the following features to help you make the best possible choice:
- Interest rates. Look not only at the accounts with the highest base rates, but also for ways in which you may be able to earn bonus interest.
- Fees. Fees comes in a number of forms, such as being charged a monthly service fee or for certain types of transactions with the account.
- Accessibility. How you are able to access the money in your savings account should correspond with the way in which you feel most comfortable banking. While some may prefer to be able to make deposits and withdrawals at a branch, others might like the convenience and higher rates that typically come with an online savings account.
- Type of financial institution. You might find that some credit unions offer savings accounts for charities, yet you will need to become a member in order to be able to open one.
What are the benefits of applying for a community account?
- Low fees. Depending on which bank or credit union you choose, you could find that the fees are lowered for savings accounts designed for charities.
- Appropriate tax allocation. Not-for-profit groups can ensure that their funds are not being wrongfully taxed by providing the bank with their tax identification number (TFN).
- Fund growth. Through interest earnings you are able to grow the funds that are deposited into the account.
What are some things to beware of?
With savings accounts for charities, access may be given to more than one individual in the organisation in order to help keep up with daily banking needs.
Beware of allowing this access to too many people and protect your group from fraudulent activity by putting safety measures in place.
This could include making two signatures required for withdrawals or limited access to online features.
Frequently asked questions
With a community account, is it my interest earnings that are being donated?
No, you still earn the advertised rate. The charitable donation comes from the financial institution, based on your balance.
Can I choose who to donate to?
Yes, a list of organisations is usually provided to help you choose a charity, or in some cases you may be permitted to suggest your own.
Who should apply for a savings account for charities on its behalf?
Any director or other individual who is deemed responsible for the charity may fill out the application. Keep in mind that this person will ultimately be responsible for the account.