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Learn how to amend your social club bylaws

Social Club Bylaws

Social clubs can take many forms, and there is no set agreement on how one is defined. A group of ten who meet every Saturday to discuss anime is a social club, as is a hiking society with 15,000 members.

Once a social club reaches a certain size, it becomes vital to have bylaws. These are rules set by an organization so that it can regulate itself. They ensure that there are certain standards and practices that must be maintained regardless of who is in charge. Think of them as the internal laws of your club. If members wish to join, they must agree to adhere to these laws. The bylaws also ensure that the club will continue to operate in a particular manner and have a certain vision regardless of who is in charge.

Guidelines for Social Club Bylaws

The specifics of what your bylaws must contain is dependent on what type of legal form your social club takes. Regulations also differ dependent on the state or province in which you are located. That being said, while there are not many regulations on what your bylaws must contain, there are certain points that it should contain. 

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Content of Social Club Bylaws

Below you can find a general overview of rules that your bylaw should contain:

  • The name of your organization in full.
  • Your purpose – why does your club exist and what does it hope to achieve?
  • Your head office  - where are you located?
  • Membership – how does one become a member? Are there different classes of memberships?
  • Fees – Do members need to pay a fee? If so, how much?
  • Annual General Meetings – when are they held and what is to be discussed?
  • Executive board – How many are there, what are their roles, and how are they elected?
  • Elections - When are they, and what type of election are you conducting?

This list is by no means exhaustive but provides an overview of what a social club’s bylaws should contain.

POLYAS Tip: Planning an election can be difficult and frustrating. Change your bylaws to allow online voting and have our experts organize your next election! 

Bylaws for Elections

While there are certain bylaws that your social club must include (such as the name, purpose, etc.), many are optional and are up to the club's discretion. Below are some optional bylaws that can be customized to the club's individual purpose. One such example is the bylaw regarding elections. While there are no legal requirements on what your bylaws must say regarding elections, there are guidelines your club should follow. Below, you can find a list containing key points your bylaws should contain regarding your election:

  • What issues are to be voted on
  • When in the year the election will take place
  • The duration of the election
  • The criteria for nomination
  • The quorum, or minimum amount of voters necessary, for an election to be valid
  • Which members are eligible to vote
  • Whether there are different voter rights for different members
  • The form the election will take: online, at the AGM, postal

POLYAS recommends allowing electronic and online voting in your bylaws. Most clubs have bylaws that are open-ended regarding elections. However, there may be the chance that your club has bylaws that prohibit online voting. Read here about how you can amend your bylaws.