Incorporation and Bylaws
In general, the articles of incorporation serve like an organization’s declaration of independence, while the bylaws are analogous to its constitution and laws. The articles of incorporation set up the basic terms of the corporation, such as its purpose and board of directors. The bylaws are the rules the organization adopts by which to govern itself. Bylaws are not required, but they can help define the organization and its governance structure. Bylaws should also be tailored around whether your organization has voting members or does not have voting members. If questions arise as the nonprofit develops and matures, bylaws can help future staff and board members determine a course of action. Organizations that do not have bylaws must legally default to Minnesota Statute 317A, known as the Nonprofit Corporation Act.