On Sep 9, 2008, the IRS issued temporary Income Tax Regulations, which eliminate the advance ruling process for a section 501(c)(3) organization. Under the new regulations, a new 501(c)(3) organization will be classified as a publicly supported charity, and not a private foundation, if it can show that it reasonably can be expected to be publicly supported when it applies for tax-exempt status.
Please see other issue and information provided by the IRS in this article - http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=184578,00.html
You may find the general procedure of creating non-for-profit organization here - http://nonprofit.about.com/od/nonprofitbasics/ht/startingsteps.htm
The IRS publication 557 - http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p557.pdf - will be very helpful, but please be aware of changes in the application process mentioned above.
Please consider NC Center for Nonprofits - http://www.ncnonprofits.org/ - as additional local resource.
You may want to review the publication - http://www.ncnonprofits.org/faq/HowToStartA501(c)(3)Nonprofit.pdf
You may not obtain a EIN number and open a bank account for the organization that doesn't exist - so you need to create such organization.
As you mentioned above - that will be non-for-profit organization - correct? - so you need to follow rules in creating such organization outlined above - there is no other way to have a formal non-for-profit organization.
An exempt organization having gross receipts in each tax year not more than $25,000 - do not file tax informational returns. But you would need to have a determination letter from the IRS to be considered as non-for-profit organization.
Yes - that is correct, you still need to keep a record in case the IRS would audit your organization.
Because you will be in charge of the non-for-profit organization - you may want to read publications I referenced above - especially the IRS publication 557.
and publication of NC Center for Nonprofits - http://www.ncnonprofits.org/faq/HowToStartA501(c)(3)Nonprofit.pdf - as it describes some additional state regulations.
But generally - you are correct.