Forgive my confusion but can someone please explain the difference between bylaws and constitutions?? Our PTO has a very comprehensive Constitution (that I tackled last year). Now I am told that we need bylaws. Our Constitution is written from other PTO's bylaws which is why I am so confused! Thanks in advance for any help.
The article "Constitutions: An Organization's Cornerstone" (
) contained the following paragraph concerning bylaws which might be helpful to you:
"Bylaws are rules adopted by a group for its own meetings or affairs. Bylaws cover such areas as: the number of members needed to constitute a quorum (enough members to vote on an issue or proposal); procedure for filling an office that has been vacated during the year; procedure for impeachment of delinquent members and officers."
The whole article is good but deals primarily with Constitutions.
Typically, the Constitution (or Charter, Articles of Organization, etc.) is the organizing instrument that defines the what the organization is and why it exists. It usually has the very bare bones such as the name, purpose, basic organizational structure, fiscal year, policies, and how amendments can be adopted.
The bylaws are a companion document that state the rules by which the organization operates.
An an example, here's how MEETINGS are addressed in our two documents:
The Executive Board shall transact official business of the organization at Executive Board meetings and at General Meetings as set.
Article B: Meetings
1. A general meeting of the organization will be held in by September 30th to approve the budget for the fiscal year.
2. Members present at a general meeting shall constitute a quorum.
3. A general meeting of the organization shall be held in May of each year for the purpose of reorganization for the coming year.
4. The President or the Executive Board shall set other general meetings.
Executive Board meetings shall be set by the President or by the majority of the Executive Board.
Resolutions or recommendations of the Executive Board shall be approved by a majority vote of the members in attendance at any general meeting.
Any proposed Constitutional or By-Law amendments shall be presented to the general membership in written form before the meeting in which it is to be considered.