The process for filing your 501c3 application can be delayed if you make mistakes. Many people try to complete the entire process themselves without any help from an experienced nonprofit expert. Not only can this delay the process, but it can even get your nonprofit denied.
A nonprofit’s bylaws are an extremely important, legally binding document that basically governs how the nonprofit will function. The language used in certain sections of your bylaws can also be the difference in being approved or denied your 501c3 status. The IRS is very particular about it. Here are some essential components to include in your bylaws to ensure an easy process.
The Basic Information
It’s probably obvious, especially to you, but you should still include all of the basic information about your nonprofit in your bylaws. This information includes, but is not necessarily limited to:
- Name of the organization.
- Location of your organization (if you have more than one location, you’ll need to list those, too).
- Contact information for the organization
Your Nonprofit’s Purpose
Your nonprofit’s bylaws should clearly state its purpose. This usually includes a statement in the document in regard to the overall mission and goals of the nonprofit. Not only is this important for when you submit your application to the IRS, but it’s also an important reminder for you and your organization about the original mission.
Many good businesses, organizations, and nonprofits are successful because of their ability to adapt. The same can be said for a nonprofit organization. While you may have a set mission at the beginning, that could change over time. Maybe your organization is able to provide more after some years of success. The original purpose clearly defined in your bylaws will help to guide you along the way.
Information About Your Board of Directors
Unlike large companies, nonprofit organization’s don’t have one big boss like a CEO. For 501c3 tax exemption status, a nonprofit organization is required to name a Board of Directors that will make the most important decisions. You will need to include various rules for how your Board will function. For example, your bylaws should state how long a Board member can serve and how often the Board should meet.
The Rules, Guidelines, and Procedures For How The Nonprofit Will Function
Also included in your bylaws will be the rules and guidelines for how the nonprofit will function as a whole. Keep in mind that these rules are not the same thing as a policy and procedures handbook. The guidelines you include in your bylaws should not cover day-to-day operations that are often covered by human resources. This includes policies on paid leave, sick leave, etc.
Process For Amending Bylaws
As mentioned earlier, successful organizations often have the ability to change and adapt with the times. A nonprofit should be able to do the same in accordance with its bylaws. When you submit your original bylaws for your nonprofit organization, make sure there is a solid method set for amending the bylaws.
Yes, a nonprofit organization can amend its bylaws as long as its original bylaws make it safe and easy to do so. Having this from the very start will prevent a lot of headaches in the future.
The Dissolution Process
Unfortunately, not all nonprofit organizations last forever. Still, a nonprofit’s bylaws will need to include a process for dissolution of the nonprofit. Not only is this helpful, but it is also legally required by many states if you are filing for 501c3 tax exemption status.
If you must dissolve your nonprofit, the assets must be distributed even kind of like a last will and testament. These assets are usually distributed in a charitable way, however, to help maintain the tax exempt status.
Nonprofit Advisement and Consulting In Fort Worth
Filing for your nonprofit’s 501c3 tax exemption status can be a lot of work. At Nonprofit Elite, we have helped hundreds of nonprofits and organizations draft thorough and proper bylaws for their filings. With a 100% IRS approval rate, we believe it’s safe to say that we know how to draft a nonprofit’s bylaws. For the best nonprofit consulting in Fort Worth, give Nonprofit Elite a call today.
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