How to Create Bylaws for an Association

by Gina Ragusa

Whether you need rules and regulations to govern a homeowner's association or a community group, a set of bylaws help to sustain order and a certain level of community integrity. Bylaws, which are the set of rules that govern a non-profit group, should be created with the assistance of association members and democratic vote. Provide each association member with a written set of rules once the bylaws have been approved and be open to making changes to the bylaws as the association evolves.

Name your association. Select a name that exemplifies your organization and what you hope to accomplish. Use geographical, historical or representational icons to help you create your association name. For example, if you want to create bylaws for a new homeowner's association, dig into the area's history at your local Chamber of Commerce to uncover any special traits or historical references to your area. Ask members to contribute name ideas and vote on the association name. Strive for a unanimous or near-unanimous vote on the association name.

Determine membership. Describe who will be party to this association and what defines them as a member. Decide on the amount of membership dues and how often members must pay. Include a clause that addresses the consequences of not paying dues.

Establish how annual and regular meetings will be determined and set. Considerations include who sets each meeting, calls it to order, conducts the meeting, records the meeting, where each meeting will be held, how often to hold meetings and what percentage of the membership must be present at the meeting in order to conduct business.

Create the association's board of directors and officers along with a description of roles. Determine the number of directors necessary to run the association, term limits, duties and responsibilities. List the office posts including association president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. Establish a concrete set of responsibilities and duties for each officer including how the officer will execute responsibilities.

Design special association committees. If a special committee is necessary for running your association, designate a committee name, reason for the committee, duties and members.

Assign an area for amendments. All bylaws should be open to amendments as the environment and association changes through the years. Include the number or percentage of association members that must be in agreement for the bylaw change to occur.

About the Author

Gina Ragusa has made a career out of writing for the past 15 years, with an emphasis on financial institution writing. Ragusa has written for Consumer Lending News, Deposit and Loan Growth Strategies and Community Bank President. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University.

Photo Credits

  • Neighborhood image by Joelyn Pullano from Fotolia.com