GrantSpace KnowledgeBase: Nonprofit Bylaws

GrantSpace's KnowledgeBase serves up the best answers to your social sector questions.

Q: What are nonprofit bylaws? Where can I find samples?
A: Bylaws are your organization’s operating manual. They define:

  • Size of the board and how it will function
  • Roles and duties of directors and officers
  • Rules and procedures for holding meetings, electing directors, and appointing officers
  • Conflict of interest policies and procedures
  • How grant monies will be distributed
  • Other essential corporate governance matters

State nonprofit laws usually address nonprofit governance matters. However, you can choose different rules, as long as they don’t violate state law and are included in your bylaws. If you choose to follow state law, restating them in your bylaws will ensure that all your operating rules are in one document.

Bylaws are not public documents, but making them readily available increases your accountability and transparency and encourages your board to pay closer attention to them. Your board should review them regularly and amend them accordingly as your organization evolves.

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