Time to make that club of yours official.
If you’re thinking about joining or starting a small organisation of like-minded people, then you need to do it right. In order to make your club achieve its potential, you’ll need rules and regulations.
A system of checks and balances to maintain order and resolve conflict before it begins.
Most clubs operate under the pretence of amateurism, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In this article, we’re going to show you how to run your club proper. We’re going to show you how to write club bylaws.
It’s not hard, but it requires a certain amount of dedication to get it done right. And once you do, your club will be running like a well-oiled machine and your fellow members will thank you for it.
So, let’s get started.
Since writing the bylaws for your club is going to be a lot of work, you’ll have to do a bit of brainstorming first. Think of who the club’s most notable members are when figuring out who to get to help you with this.
Before you begin actually writing the bylaws, you’ll want to sit down with a couple “executive” members of the club and hash out some of the details you all want to be included. If all involved aren’t sure what the purpose of the bylaws is, inform them.
Make sure when you’re choosing these specific club members, that they represent a good cross-section of the entire club. You want everyone’s input delineated. These people will make up your bylaw committee.
What You Want to Cover
Alright, when you think about your organisation, what do you and the bylaw committee perceive its purpose to be? Who are the ones in charge and how will they uphold that purpose? And, what are the future plans of the organisation?
These are the foundational questions that will be addressed in the club bylaws. If you’ve never done this before, look for other clubs similar to yours and print off their bylaws, if you can obtain them. This will guide you in your talks.
Have an open discussion with the bylaw committee. Presumably, these are the most trusted members of your club, so you’ll be able to respectfully agree and disagree on the various articles that will make up this document.
Some healthy arguing is how you’ll get the bylaws to where they need to be. It’s all compromise.
If you’ve got other organisational documents, have those with you while you’re discussing. You should be consistent throughout all of your documentation.
When you all find yourself on the same page, you can begin outlining your bylaws on a sheet of paper. Do this in point form in a document or even just handwritten.
Start writing out the bylaws in the proper format. Headings are known as “articles” and the subsequent paragraphs are known as “sections”. When someone from the club is referencing something, later on, they’ll read it as “article blank, section blank”.
Typically, the articles would be listed by these names in this order: organisation name, organisation purpose, membership requirements, titles and responsibilities of officers, how officers are assigned, how and when meetings will be conducted, and so on for however many articles you’re including.
Use concise, easy to read language that gets the point of each section across.
When you’re done, if possible, take the test document to an attorney to make sure that you’ve done everything correctly in the eyes of the law. This all depends on how official you’re getting with things of course.
Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to get started for real.
Writing the Club Bylaws
Here, we’ll briefly run through the typical contents of each bylaw article and what you would include in its sections. Then, how to finalise the bylaws when you’ve completed.
Under the organisation name article, you’ll write the name of your organisation and its location. If you don’t have a physical location, don’t include that bit.
Here, you’ll write what the basic principles of your organisation are. It’ll sort of act as your mission statement.
Make it a simple one or two sentence blurb about your vision and how you’ll achieve that vision as a member of the club.
This article will lay out the foundation for who can become a member and how they go about doing that. Are there fees involved with joining the club? Are there fees for staying in the club? Are they monthly? Annually? Include all of this info.
Once you’ve acknowledged how to get into the club, describe the qualities needed to remain a member of the club, the classes of members (active or inactive), and how to get out of the club.
In this article, you’ll write out which officers uphold the interests of the club. Usually, this would include a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and some directors. This would be the first section.
In the next section, describe what the duties of each officer entail.
The sections in this article will outline where and how frequently meetings will take place. You’ll also write how many officers need to be around for a meeting to be official and then how votes are cast for motions.
Using membership management software is a good way to organise meetings with your club members.
Committees are determined by you and the other people writing the bylaws. Examples of committees could be the fundraising committee or the volunteer committee.
You should also lay out the steps that need to be taken to form a new committee.
What we’ve laid out are some examples of typical bylaw articles. There are further articles that can be written depending on your organization’s style.
A finances article could be included to cover budgetary issues. An amendments article is useful if you decide that one of the articles needs altering. Sadly, a dissolution clause is often put in near the end to instruct the members how to close shop if things go south in your club.
Start Your Club Today
There you have it. That’s a basic outline for how to write your club bylaws. If you want to get more in depth, get hold of another club’s bylaws to use as an example.
This document will allow your organisation to adhere to a certain set of rules, which will keep everyone in line and resolve any conflicts that may arise.
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