Paul McClintock, PRP

Bylaw Articles

Standard and optional articles for bylaws
As found in these manuals of parliamentary procedure:

Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th edition, 2000
p. 553-564

Robert's Rules of Order Revised, 4th edition, 1915

The Constitution should contain only the following:

  1. Name and object of the society. (This can be either one or two articles.)
  2. Qualifications of members.
  3. Officers and their election.
  4. Meetings of the society (including only what is essential, leaving details to the by-laws).
  5. How to amend the constitution.

By-laws should include all the rules that are of such importance that they cannot be changed in any way without previous notice, except those placed in the constitution and the rules of order.

Robert's Rules of Order, 3rd edition, 1893

When both constitution and bylaws are adopted, the constitution usually contains only the following:

  1. Name and object of the society.
  2. Qualifications of members.
  3. Officers, their election and duties.
  4. Meetings of the society (only including what is essential, leaving details to the by-laws).
  5. How to amend the constitution.

The by-laws contain all the other standing rules of the society, of such importance that they should be placed out of the power of any one meeting to modify....

The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, Sturgis/AIP, 4th edition, 2000

Taken from: Appendix A
Suggested Bylaw Provisions For an Organization
p. 253-254


ARTICLE II.  Purpose
(If the purposes are stated in a charter, they need not be repeated in the bylaws.)

ARTICLE III.  Membership
    A. Classes of membership
    B. Requirements
    C. Procedure for application

ARTICLE IV.  Officers
    A. List of officers of organization
    B. Method of selection
    C. Duties of each officer
    D. Method of filling vacancies
    E. Removal of officers

ARTICLE V.  Board of directors
    A. Membership
    B. Officers of board
    C. Duties and responsibilities of board
    D. Executive committee of board
        1. Membership
        2. Duties
    E. Meetings of board
    F. Reports of board and executive committee

ARTICLE VI.  Meetings
    A. Annual: notice, business to be conducted, order of business
    B. Regular: notice, usual order of business
    C. Special: how called, notice

ARTICLE VII.  Committees
    A. Standing committees: list, membership, selection, duties, powers, meetings, reports
    B. Special committees: provisions for selection

    A. Budget preparation and adoption
    B. Dues
    C. Auditor
    D. Surety bond for officers and employees

ARTICLE IX.  Terms of office

ARTICLE X.  Elections

    A. Meetings of organization
    B. Meetings of board

ARTICLE XII.  Discipline and expulsion of members

ARTICLE XIII.  Parliamentary authority

ARTICLE XIV.  Policies
    A. Provisions for adoption
    B. Vote required for adoption and amendment

ARTICLE XV.  Amendments to bylaws

ARTICLE XVI.  Dissolution

Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure, Blue Book Edition, 1969

There are seven fundamental subjects that should be contained in the bylaws. Each such subject occupies a separate article, which can be divided into as many subsections and paragraphs as desired (p.179):

Article I.  Name
Article II.
Article III.
Article IV.
Article V.
Article VI.
  Parliamentary authority.
Article VII.
  Amendments to bylaws.

Additional articles can be added as desired.

"The logic of the order of the seven essential topics is necessarily based on the fact that the organization (1) must first have a name; (2) it is created or founded for a definite object or purpose; then (3) members are accepted or taken in from whom (4) officers are elected (5) to guide and transact the business of the meetings in (6) orderly manner or according to proper form or parliamentary authority; and finally (7) its bylaws can be changed or amended as the growth, expansion and needs of the organization may require or warrant from time to time." (p.180)

Some large organizations may need many of these articles (p.193):

  1. Name.
  2. Location of headquarters.
  3. Nonprofit, nonsectarian and nonpolitical.
  4. Members.
  5. Eligibility or qualifications for membership.
  6. Voting on new members.
  7. Dues.
  8. Officers.
  9. Resignation from office.
  10. Filling vacancies.
  11. Penalty for absenteeism.
  12. Grounds for removal.
  13. Salary.
  14. Immediate past president.
  15. Meetings. Regular, special, annual.
  16. Quorum.
  17. Order of business.
  18. Executive board; standing and special committees.
  19. Composition, meetings, duties, powers, their election or appointment.
  20. Resignation from membership.
  21. Reinstatement.
  22. Annual convention. Election of delegates, etc.
  23. Assessments, fines.
  24. Installation of officers or of new members.
  25. Limiting expenditures.
  26. Ladies auxiliary.
  27. Parliamentary manual.
  28. Amendments to bylaws.

Demeter's model bylaws begin on p.193 these articles:

Article I.  Name
Article II.
Article III.
Article IV.
Article V.
  Duties of Officers.
Article VI.
  Executive Board.
Article VII.
  Standing Committees.
Article VIII.  Meetings.
Article IX.  Elections.
Article X.  Order of Business.
Article XI.  Parliamentary Authority.
Article XII.  Amendments to Bylaws.

Parliamentary Usage for Women's Clubs, Emma Fox, 1912
Model documents, p. 7-16


Article I.  Name.
Article II.  Object.
Article III.  Membership.
Article IV.  Officers.
Article V.  Meetings.
ArticleVI.  Quorum.
Article VII.  Amendments.


Article I.  Dues.
Article II.  Officers.
Article III.  Committees.
Article IV.  Meetings.
Article V.  Study and Plan.
Article VI.  Fiscal Year.
Article VII.  Parliamentary Authority.

Riddick's Rules of Procedure, Riddick & Butcher, 1985, reprinted 1991
p. 34-36

Article I.  Name
Article II.  Object or Purpose
Article III.  Membership
Article IV.  Officers
Article V.  Meetings
Article VI.  Nominations and Elections (may be placed elsewhere (in bylaws))
Article VII.  Board
Article VIII.  Standing Committees
Article IX.  Amending Bylaws
Article X.  Parliamentary Authority
Article XI.  Dissolution

Cannon's Concise Guide to Rules of Order, 1992, 1995
From Appendix B, Model Bylaws, p. 149-154

Article I.  Name
Article II.  Purposes
Article III.  Membership
Article IV.  Assembly Meetings
Article V.  Officers
Article VI.  Board of Directors
Article VII.  Committees
Article VIII.  Authority
Article IX.  Amendments to Bylaws

Parliamentary Law Rules and Procedures for Conducting Conventions, Lena Hardcastle

Page 192: "Each subject should be arranged in sequence and over the years a set pattern has been established for the arrangement of articles in the bylaws in order to make them uniform, and so that a person can readily locate a provision in them when needed. This arrangement is as follows: Name, Object, Members, Constituent Divisions, Officers, Annual Meeting (often designated as convention), Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Committees, Parliamentary Authority, and Amendment of Bylaws "

Merriam Webster's Rules of Order, Laurie Rozakis, 1994

Page 14: The bylaws should contain the following provisions:

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