Sample by-laws for committees – Part three

Incorporate dates into to by-laws.

In this day and age people are busy and over scheduled. This can causes a problem when trying to schedule committee meetings. When a committee sets a reoccurring date for their meetings and puts those dates into their by-laws it allows for the members of the committee, and the greater body, to schedule in advance.  A procedure such as this will usually help your meetings attendance improve.

Sometimes you may need extra meetings and a procedure to call those meetings. That procedure can be outlined in the meetings section of the by-laws as well.

Other times you may not have enough members at a meeting to conduct regular business, this is called a quorum. Defining in your by-laws what is considered a quorum will make it clear if business can be conducted with a low turnout or not.

Michigan State University Extension says the last part of a set of by-laws needs to cover what would happen if the group dissolves, if there are any restrictions set by an overseeing organization and how to amend the by-laws for future growth. These sections have to be tailored to your committee or organizations structure, but are a very important part of the by-laws.

This sample by-laws will cover the sections of meetings, quorum, restrictions and amendments.

V. Meetings
Regular Meetings

  1. Meetings shall use Roberts Rules of Order as guidelines.
  2. Regularly scheduled meetings shall be held on the fourth Monday of every month except January, March, July, August and December unless the date is changed or canceled at the previous month’s meeting.
  3. The location of the meetings shall be at the MSU Extension office at 0000 East Grand River Avenue in Anytown, Michigan at 7:30 p.m. unless changed at the previous month’s meeting.
  4. October will be deemed a general meeting for all 4-H horse families to attend and discuss ideas for the upcoming year, fair changes, etc. The election of twelve teens will take place at this meeting. April will also be a general meeting for all membership and leaders complete with an educational program.

Special Meetings
A. Special meetings may be called by the majority of the elected officers and/or the Extension 4-H staff. The administrative leader of each club voting membership and all teen representatives will be notified by mail or telephone of the meeting, time and place.

Standing Committee Meetings and other working units.
A. Committees shall be formed whenever it is deemed necessary by the Association.
B. The committee will be dissolved when their job is completed to Association satisfaction.

VI. Quorum
A quorum constitutes at least six voting members.

VII. Restrictions
Dissolution: If, in the event this organization should dissolve, all money and assets will revert to the Clover County 4-H Council to be budgeted in the horse project area.

Any decision passed by the Association that is in conflict with the policies or practices of the Clover County 4-H program or MSU Extension may be vetoed by the 4-H Council or 4-H Staff.  The veto will be put into writing within two weeks and submitted to the Association President.

Any decision passed by any Association subcommittee or association that is in conflict with the policies or practices of the Association, MSU Extension and/or Clover County 4-H Council may be vetoed at the next regular meeting of the Association.

VIII. Amendments
To amend the by-laws, a motion must be made and seconded at a regularly scheduled meeting and discussed. The motion will then be tabled until old business of the next regularly scheduled meeting and at that time, a simple majority of the voting member clubs present shall decide the motion. By-laws cannot be changed between April 30 and Sept. 1 of the current year.

There are many ways to structure by-laws, but the first step is to have a set for every active committee. By-laws can help committees become cohesive, strong bodies that understand their goals and objectives.  They can help bring in new members, help to strengthen partnerships with other organizations or even create new partnerships. 

For more assistance on preparing by-laws, visit the Leadership & Citizenship section of the 4-H website.

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