What Organizations Use Bylaws?

Almost any association can have bylaws, such as a charitable committee, members group, homeowner’s or housing association, non-profit, political party, professional association, sports club, or the board of a corporation.

Bylaws are linked to the Articles of Incorporation or Association and act as a code of conduct that sets out how an organization runs, how board elections work, and who bears voting rights or responsibilities.

How Can Groups Override Bylaws Written Into Their Rules?

The exact process of overruling a bylaw depends a little on the structure of the organization and its governing documents. However, it normally works like this:

  • The proposer submits notice to all voting parties, including the existing bylaw, the suggested change, and the wording if the amendment is agreed upon.
  • Notices must also include the proposer’s name, their reason for recommending the change, and other supporting information.
  • If there are no specific rules about bylaws–you will need a two-thirds vote in favor or a majority membership vote if you have not given notice.

Members might override a bylaw temporarily to account for particular circumstances or amend it permanently if the proposal achieves enough member votes.

Examples of Bylaws

A bylaw can relate to a broad range of areas, such as election procedures or election rules, meeting schedules, decision-making powers, membership fees, board responsibilities, or the association's code of conduct.

For example, there might be a bylaw setting out special meeting rules that can be used by the board or group president or instigated through a majority member vote.

Another common bylaw relates to voting proxies, whether this is allowed, and the duration of each nominated proxy vote.

What Is a Bylaw Revision?

A bylaw revision is a more comprehensive change to the organization's bylaws. A bylaw revision may be more suitable than voting on numerous individual issues if there are multiple proposed amendments.

Some associations must conduct a formal bylaw revision every few years depending on the rules of the group or larger organization they are a member of.

Bylaws are a legal necessity in some states for corporations, and if so, there may be mandatory inclusions or specific requirements.

Illustrations of How Organizations Use Bylaws

Organizations use bylaws to settle disputes, make decisions, educate new directors or group members, avoid conflict, and set a consistent structure. The primary difference between bylaws and formal Articles is that bylaws do not need to be filed in most states. They tend to be confidential and can be amended by group members at any time.

Some bylaws must be updated periodically, such as agreeing to budgets for the next year or setting prices. Still, others will normally remain static, such as the organization's purpose.

Why Are Bylaw Votes Important?

It is essential to update bylaws promptly with a formalized vote because they form the blueprint of what the association can and cannot do and include important details about how the group or organization operates. The process of amending bylaws is itself included in the bylaws, verifying who can recommend a revision and how voting members can implement bylaw amendments.

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