6 Things You Should Know About Your PTO’s Bylaws

  1. Whether you have them. If you can’t find a copy, you need to create them.

  2. Where they are. Just saying you have bylaws isn’t enough; you need to get your hands on the actual document.

  3. The content. Read and understand them. If they don’t make sense to the way your PTO actually operates, it’s time for a revision.

  4. The format. If you only have a hard copy, type them up so you can share and revise them electronically.

  5. Their age and the last time they were revised. Look at the end of the document for a revision schedule. If there isn’t one, add the first entry when you type up the document.

  6. Revision rules. If your bylaws need revising, follow the procedure spelled out in the document itself. If there are no revision rules, follow Robert’s Rules.

The whats, whys, and hows of 501(c)(3) and incorporation, plus all your FAQs

4 Primary Reasons To Have Bylaws

  • Consistency. Rules and policies that have been documented in the form of bylaws can be applied consistently so that emotion and personalities do not get involved.

  • Efficiency. Your bylaws include procedures for decisionmaking so that your PTO can conduct all its business according to the rules and as efficiently as possible.

  • Protection. Strong bylaws help protect the group from internal conflict, financial risk, and “mission creep.”

  • Legitimacy. A strong set of bylaws is a sign that the PTO takes itself seriously. Bylaws give the members assurance of the mission, structure, and policies of the group. Besides, the IRS requires bylaws if your PTO files for 501(c)(3) status.

Originally posted in 2007 and updated regularly.