In our work with associations, we find that many boards haven’t looked at their association’s bylaws in a very long time. In fact, you might just be acting outside the boundaries set by old bylaws without realizing it. When we come aboard, we put a review of bylaws in the top 5 things on the To Do List. Board members are often surprised at how out of date items can be.
Right after meeting with the officers and board members, we read the minutes of the past year and review the financial health of the organization. Often times we find flawed or incomplete bylaw documents and even missing corporation papers. Hard to believe? Not really. Without professional administration, nonprofits are run by well-meaning volunteers. Depending upon the type of association it is, the board and volunteers may not have the business acumen to handle such important legal matters.
Sometimes just a small tweak can be helpful. Do you really need both a secretary and a treasurer? Or, can those be combined for a more responsive executive committee? Maybe you want to split those titles up to give a board member more experience on the executive level preparing them for eventual presidency.
Bylaws are vital. They must be followed. Most importantly, they must be updated with directives regarding technology and today’s communication channels. Professional association management firms know the laws and will keep you out of hot water.