In watching so much HGTV, I’m not sure how I missed it. But, somewhere along the year, all those homes’ master bedrooms became main bedrooms. I imagine this was to counter … well, you know, perceived inequities (master/slave). Wokeness is selective. This reminds us that shifting acceptability and new perspectives apply to managing nonprofits, too. And, that starts with the bylaw content.
We’ve just finished helping two associations update their bylaws. Governance is a boring subject, right? It keeps you legal. I’m willing to bet my next three Starbucks that your board members have not read your bylaws; certainly not for a very long time. There may be things in there that could get you into trouble considering changes in regulations and HR sensitivities. There may also be paragraphs as useless as a soup tureen*. (Really? You want to put hot soup in an interim vessel before ladling it into yet something else?). Some processes may be old-fashioned, repetitive, and unnecessarily cumbersome.
Further, there may be things missing like a clear spending approval process. Money handling direction is missing in many bylaws but may be in an operation manual (laxness must have stated repercussions). When bylaws say something must be approved with a quorum, a quorum of what? The board? The full membership? The executive committee? Do you have honorary members? What benefits and liabilities are assigned to them? Is your classification of members clear? Are there term limits for directors?
There are many more updates we suggest when reviewing an actionable and regulating set of bylaws. Taking needless things out and putting important parameters in is the work of the executive committee led by your vice president.
*Soup tureens are for magazine photoshoots only, I’ve decided.