Bylaws Style Guide

Bylaws are fascinating reading, perhaps not for most people, but this may be the fault of how they are written rather than what they contain. A close read of an association’s bylaws can reveal its structure (size of board, delegate assembly, chapters, regions, and membership categories) and flow of authority (who gets to make which decisions). Bylaws can give a glimpse into past conflicts; invariably when a question is asked about an unusual provision, the story begins “Well, 10 (or 20 or 30) years ago. . .” Sadly, most people don’t read the bylaws because they are formatted in such a way that drives them away. It’s like an artichoke – who ever would have thought such an ugly, spiky thing would contain such good stuff inside?

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What’s a Snippet?
Snippets are single page articles that explain some aspect of leadership, meetings or parliamentary procedure. New Snippets are released on the first day of every month on the Snippet page at After a month they are placed in the past Snippet area for future reference.

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Can I use Snippets as handouts or distribute them to others?
Snippets are copyright protected; permission is granted to reprint them in their entirety for non-commercial, educational purposes. If you wish to discuss any other use, please feel free to contact us.

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