The bylaws for your nonprofit is your governance document. Some states require them and others do not, however, it is always best to have them even if it is not required. They outline how your organization is to run and who is responsible for running it. Here are the basic components of nonprofit bylaws.
The Official Name of Your Nonprofit – Your bylaws should state the name of your nonprofit. It should match the name that is on your EIN Verification Letter From the IRS.
The Principle Address - The location where you will store your corporate records.
Mission statements – You can tell a lot about an organization by its mission statement. Don’t have one? Now might be a good time to create one. A good mission statement tells you what drives an organization to do what it does. It should also tell how your organization's purpose meets the requirements for your 501(c)(3) status. Your organization must be charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, for public safety testing, related to amateur sports competition or for the prevention of cruety to children or animals.
Board Structure - It should include an outline of how your board is structured including the maximum and minimum of directors, their titles, and how long they are to be in office. Qualifications for board membership should also be included.
Officers - Who are your officers - president, vice president, secretary, treasurer - and a description of what they do and term of office. The procedure for adding and removing
Meetings - Include the schedule for regular and annual meetings. Give details on giving notice for board meetings such as how many days before the meeting members must be notified and the method of communication. What is your rule on quorum requirements e.g. how many board members must be present to make a decision.
Committees - Do you have board committees that address topics such as fundraising and day to day operations? They should be named in your bylaws.
Fiscal Year - The date that will be the end of your fiscal year should be included. It should be the same as the last month of your budgeting cycle.
Amendments - List the rules for making changes (amendments) to your bylaws.
Dissolution - Every nonprofit must have a dissolution policy describing how you can close the nonprofit that is in compliance with your 501(c)(3) status. How you will do that must be stated in your bylaws.
The most important thing to do in creating bylaws is to review your state's requirements to make sure your bylaws are in compliance. The Chaplin Group can assist you in writing your bylaws or write them for you entirely with your input. Schedule a consultation with us to see how we can help you.