How to Write a Charter Document

by Grant D. McKenzie

When your organization grows to the point where some sort of governing structure is required, there are several documents you will want to draft to define that structure. The first will be a charter document. This foundation document defines the purpose of the organization and how it will be structured. There is no universally recognized format for a charter document. The level of detail may vary, depending on the organization's size, but there is a basic outline for the information to include.

Write a Charter Document

Start by defining the mission of your organization. This mission statement will serve as the summary for the rest of the document, so it should be specific and detailed. It should spell out the organization's goals and briefly describe its plans to achieve them.

Detail what is required to become a member of the organization. If there are dues to pay, competency requirements or tryouts, list those here along with details as to how they will be applied and enforced.

Define how the organization will be governed. If there will be a board of directors, define each position to include duties that are expected and day-to-day activities. Instead of a board of directors, there can be a president, secretary and treasurer or any other positions you may find necessary. Whatever titles and structure you choose, be very detailed about what is expected from the people who hold these titles.

Start with your mission statement to define what your organization does to achieve its goals. Fill in the details to develop a list of day-to-day activities.

Be sure to include a procedure to amending the charter. This will prevent future organizational leaders from having to rewrite the entire charter just to make minor changes.

Decide the format and style you want to use and write the charter document. Have all charter members of the organization review and sign it when all edits are completed.

Things Needed

  • Word processor

Photo Credits

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