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Starting a Non-Profit – Preparing the ByLaws

The By-Laws of your organization provide the foundation and skeleton for how your organization conducts its internal affairs – when you hold meetings, how you elect officers and other formal procedures associated with being a corporation.

This should be a comprehensive document and you may want to review bylaws of similar organizations or talk to a consultant or attorney before finalizing them.  To get you started, following are some questions to think about as you write the bylaws for your non-profit corporation.
1.    Your Board of Directors… what is the minimum number your organization will have? What are their duties?  How long is their term of office?  Will they be compensated?  If so, how?  When and where will the Board meet?  How will meetings be conducted?

2.    The Officers of the Corporation… Who will be the officers of your organization? What are the qualifications and how will they be elected?  What are the duties of the officers?  How will the officers be compensated?

3.     Corporate Records, Reports and Seal…Where will corporate records, reports and seals be located and maintained?  Who has the right to inspect the records?  When will your corporation’s annual report be furnished?  What is the fiscal year of your corporation?

4.    Other… Will you have a policy regarding conflict of interest?  How will compensation be approved?  What is the procedure for amending the bylaws and articles of incorporation?  Will your corporation have members? (you may want to spend some time researching the pros and cons of members prior to making this decision).
There are some handy templates available to help walk you through the process – call or email the Non-Profit Toolbox or search online.  Talk to a non-profit consultant or an attorney specializing in non-profit corporations if you have questions.

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