Nonprofit bylaws are essential to an organization’s operations. They act as a road map, explaining how things are done and providing a consistent and predictable framework for the board of directors.
For example, bylaws should address the following questions and many more:
- What is the purpose of the organization and how does it further that purpose?
- How many board members will there be?
- How will board members be selected and how will officers (president, treasurer, etc.) be chosen?
- What are the term limits and how can directors be removed if necessary?
- How does voting work?
- How often will board meetings take place and how will members find out about them?
- How are inappropriate conflicts of interest prevented?
- What is the scope of authority of officers, committee chairs, etc.?
- What happens if the organization dissolves?
- Where will the nonprofit’s documents be stored?
Bylaws should reflect the values of an organization, but they should also reflect the realities of the way the board of directors function. After all, the finest bylaws ever written are worthless if the board never follows them. It is important to review your organization’s bylaws from time to time and update them as necessary.
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