By-law is a rule established by an organization to regulate its activities and manage internal affairs. Well defined and clear set of by-laws provide a clear structure to the NGOs and facilitates in smooth functioning.
Along with providing consistency in working, by-laws also help in developing networks with local organizations and government entities. It is important for your organization to have a set of by-laws as they will guide you in operating and managing all your activities.
Just like Articles of Incorporation, different countries will have their own provisions for bye-laws, and a NGO should refer to them before drafting the by-laws. Most often NGOs should have the following information in the by-laws:
- Introduction: This section provides a summary of the by-laws.
- Name, Logo, Address: Mention the organizations name, acronym and a logo (if available). Give details of the location and address office.
- NGO Purpose/ Mission/Vision: Give information related to the NGO mission and vision. You should mention about the activities that the organization will undertake to achieve its objectives.
- Membership Information: If you plan to have some sort of membership in your NGO then give details of the membership process, the fees, member qualification etc. Also mention the roles and responsibilities of the members.
- Governance Structure: Describe the roles and responsibilities of the board, composition, qualification of board members the frequency of meetings, process of election of board members.
- Staff management: Layout details of the staff members, their roles and duties, procedure of hiring.
- Auditing: state about the process of conducting audits of finances, projects and other
- Legal Issues: give details about the legal procedure in place, law under which the NGO is formed, resolution of legal matters.
- Amendment in By-laws: process related to the bringing modifications and amendments in the by-laws.
While writing the by-laws for your organization, it is a good practice to refer to by-laws of similar organizations, consult with board members and review the articles regularly. Once the by-laws are written, get them approved by the board members. Be sure that a copy of the bylaws is handy any is put into use. Using the by-laws in everyday activities will lead to smooth functioning of the organization by reducing confusion and chaos.