Nonprofit Insurance Program

How to Write Nonprofit By-Laws

By Alexa Connelly
February 06, 2014

How to Write Nonprofit By-Laws

Each organization, regardless of whether it’s a profit or nonprofit, needs to have bylaws which govern its entire operations and personnel. They are critical in maintaining a transcendent organizational environment by defining each individual’s roles and outlining the relevant protocols.  Since all nonprofit organizations have distinctive structures, sets of goals and objectives, they should have their own unique bylaws.

Unfortunately, formulating and writing bylaws is not simple process. In fact, it is arguably one of the most complex processes of setting up an organization. However, you can simply it by following these steps:

Step 1: Start by conducting case studies on other similar organizations. Comprehensively assess their protocols and organizational principles. You should particularly focus on the bylaws and how each individual relates to them.  Although this assessment can be done remotely through the internet, it’s advisable to visit the respective organizations for first hand analysis. This will help you get a vivid understanding of what bylaws entail and their application.

Step 2: Assess your nonprofit organization’s goals, objects and roles of various personnel. With that in mind, draft a comprehensive paper of bylaws taking into account each individuals interests, organizational ethics and the ultimate purpose. It should be written in a clear language to ensure that everyone perfectly understands all the bylaws and his/her purpose in effecting them.

Step 3: Unless you are extensively knowledgeable in law, consider consulting a professional lawyer. He will subsequently analyze your draft carefully to ensure that all the bylaws correspond to the country’s laws and human rights. The attorney will further edit the draft on legal language and help you formulate better laws according to your structure and purpose.

Step 4: Bylaws cannot be effected without the approval of the executive arm of your nonprofit organization. You should therefore present them to the board and relevant departments for approval. They may change some of the laws according to their views and expectations of the entire organization.

Step 5:  Since nonprofit organizations are run by democracy, you cannot impose laws on members without their approval. You should therefore present the bylaws to entire organization and request members to vote for it. They can only be effected after they been approved by the majority.

After approval, you are expected to circulate the list of bylaws to. all members to help them perfectly understand their roles and expectations in the organization.

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