Best Practices: Nonprofit Bylaws

When did someone last take a close look at your nonprofit corporation’s bylaws? Chances are, quite some time ago.  Maybe not even since they were drafted.

Nonprofit staff are immersed in their immediate jobs and likely to find their attention riveted on more obviously pressing tasks and interactions.  When the bylaws are actually referred to, they may be checked over for compliance without further consideration.

It could well be time for that additional, deeper consideration.  Neither the world nor your nonprofit has remained static.  Have your bylaws kept up?

Your organization may have grown or changed.  Is it necessary to make a distinction between voting members and non-voting members?  Do the election procedures result in a smooth process and a serviceable, representative governing body? 

On a slightly different note, the purpose of your nonprofit may have evolved.  Or perhaps new strategies and tactics are in place to support the original purpose.  Are there clear and still applicable provisions for a district management committee?  Do the bylaws address the distinctions between a mutual benefit nonprofit and a nonprofit? 

Bylaws should also provide for compliance with legal requirements where necessary. For example, California nonprofits managing district funds are required to comply with notice specifications outlined in the Ralph M. Brown Act.

Whether or not your bylaws are in need of amendment for other purposes, the procedures for amendment could be due for a review.  It may be wise to ensure that reasonable procedures are ready for when they are needed.

If you have questions regarding your nonprofit’s bylaws, please contact us for assistance. 

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