Writing Nonprofit Bylaws: 14 Must-Have Items


“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” These infamous words spoken by Benjamin Franklin remind us to take preventative measures. This is especially true when determining how to govern a nonprofit organization. Bylaws are to your organization as the Constitution is to the United States. They detail the procedures an organization must follow to conduct business in an orderly manner, keeping in mind its founding principles and mission.

What should be included in your bylaws? 14 key items:


#1: Indemnification statement limiting personal liability of board members.

#2: Voting member rights statement (if applicable).

#3: Minimum/maximum number of board members.

#4: Number of votes or attendees required for quorum.

#5: Board terms and term limits.

#6: Officers: titles, appointments, term limits, and responsibilities.

#7: Procedure for removal of board members/officers.

#8: Procedure for changing/amending bylaws.

#9: Minimum number of board meetings per year.

#10: Process for convening special or emergency board/executive committee meetings.

#11: Process for creating or dissolving board committees.

#12: Description of committee structure, roles, and responsibilities, and member appointment process.

#13: Potential meeting methodology (in-person, conference calls, electronic). Can virtual votes be accepted for major organizational decisions?

#14: Conflict of interest policy.


For additional insights on building your organization’s capacity, register for our “Need Funding? Tried and True Strategies for Creating a Winning Grant Proposal” webinar on Dec. 10, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET. Find out more here: http://theinsgroup.com/need-funding-tried-true-strategies-creating-winning-proposal/.

This entry was posted in Board Development, Capacity Building, Communications, Donors, Fundraising, Nonprofit Boards, Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Add to the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>