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Non-Profit Bylaws Basics

Reviewed by Rocket Lawyer On Call Attorney C. Mario Jaramillo, Esq.

You've just incorporated your non-profit. Your next step is to define the structure of your organization. Creating Non-Profit Bylaws can help you regulate internal affairs, govern your members, and outline your legal rights and responsibilities. Think of these bylaws as a rule book: once everyone knows how the organization will be run, you can focus on the non-profit work that matters most to you.

Use the Non-Profit Bylaws document if:

  • You've just incorporated your non-profit, and need to define the structure of your organization.

Non-Profit Bylaws can be a vital tool when it comes to managing your organization. They not only outline the structure of your governing body (that is, your board of directors), they also describe how actions and amendments can take place. Having bylaws in place can help you protect both your members, and the organization as a whole. Your Non-Profit Bylaws should include details like the names of the secretary and the president; whether or not you'll have a corporate seal; whether actions can be taken without a meeting; the number of members on the board of directors, and the length of their terms; whether the organization will cover its directors' legal costs in case of a lawsuit (aka "director liability"); and whether the bylaws can be amended by a simple majority, or a two-thirds majority. Once you've created your Non-Profit Bylaws, you'll have a better understanding of your legal rights and responsibilities, and can get down to business.

Other names for this document: Bylaws for Non-Profit Organizations, Non-Profit Corporation Bylaws

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