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Develop the Bylaws

Bylaws define how the nonprofit organization will be managed and operated. Bylaws serve the following functions:

  • Define the basic organizational structure of the nonprofit.
  • Determine which staff and board members have authority and decision-making responsibilities and how those responsibilities should be carried out.
  • Define the requirements and responsibilities of membership.
  • Create a framework for the organization, and aid in resolving internal disputes.
  • Describe the rules for calling board meetings and specify board member election procedures.

To develop the organization's bylaws, follow these guidelines:

  • Keep the bylaws as simple and flexible as possible.
  • Outline the frequency of board and membership meetings, officer responsibilities, and officer selection procedures.
  • Include procedures for making changes to the organization's policies, operations, structure, and bylaws.

The Foundation Center provides a section with many examples of nonprofit bylaws.