One observation I’ve made as I work with a variety of nonprofit organizations is that we often formulate rules, adopt policies, or set procedures to safeguard our organization, but sometimes forget to follow the rules we have set for ourselves. Forgotten bylaws are one example. These documents are the rules we agree to follow when we are established and they ensure that our donors' money is safeguarded.
If these guidelines aren’t revisited periodically, the addition of new people along with day-to-day activities will likely distract us, and the awareness of our own rules fades.
This may lead to the situation where we operate in a fashion considerably different than we had originally intended.
However, this slow transfiguration is not entirely bad. Modifications may actually enhance the original product. The crucial piece is what happens between Point A and Point B, in which we intentionally review and reconcile what our bylaws state we should do with how we are actually operating. If we're waiting to call on the rules until they're needed to settle a controversy, then we're too late and the review process will be of little value at that time.
When was the last time you officially reviewed your bylaws? If it has been more than two years, then reach out to me. Now is the perfect time to discuss bylaw review and reconciling your current operations with the policies you’ve established.
- Tom Williams, Capacity Builder
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