Malik Sharrieff reports:
"A constitution for a nonprofit organization is very similar to the bylaws that govern the actions of its board of directors. Like bylaws, the constitution depicts the rules by which the entity will operate and the restrictions, powers, and duties of its officers and board members. In contrast, constitutions often describe the belief system, founding or guiding principles[,] and moral direction of the organization. It is because of this characteristic that constitutions are rarely found in for[-]profit corporations, but instead have become a staple of religious, service[,] and charity-oriented nonprofits. Select several nonprofits within your local area (city, county[,] or state, if possible) that have the same or similar purpose or focus as your organization. Introduce yourself as a representative of a developing nonprofit in their field of interest, then request a copy of their constitution to study and/or benchmark against...Organize the information you will need for the required sections of the constitution. Remember that the constitution of a nonprofit is a legal document so there are segments that you must include. These sections are: 1) the name and location of the entity, 2) the purpose, 3) stipulations, duties, and restrictions of membership, 4) [a] statement of binding authority, 5) explanation of how the entity and any assets it owns may be dissolved at the end of its operational life, and 6) how the constitution can be amended. Compose the additional sections you might want to include within the constitution that might be relevant or critical to your particular institution...Compose the [constitution's] preamble that will clearly and concisely describe the purpose(s) of the document. It is usually a good idea to save this part of the draft until last so the most important aspects of the document can be listed more easily. Submit the completed draft to the [organization's] board of directors for review and a vote to sanction the document...Remember that organizational constitutions are legal documents that are meant to last relatively unchanged throughout the life of the organization. While there should be mechanisms to change the constitution, the process should be more difficult than amending bylaws because the constitution serves as the foundational document of the nonprofit."
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