Below, please find a template for a Chapter’s or Affiliate’s Bylaws. This template represents a synthesis of many bylaws and attempts to set forth the basic elements of a fairly comprehensive set of bylaws. Your Chapter/Affiliate is free to use as much or as little of this template as you see fit and, of course, you are encouraged to add elements that are unique to your Chapter/Affiliate and/or reflect your Chapter/Affiliate membership, calendar, and logistics. It is recommended that you try to be as comprehensive as possible so that your Chapter/Affiliate will have guidance on almost any situation that arises.
INSERT NAME OF CHAPTER]
[Note: wherever “chapter” is used, please understand that “affiliate” may be inserted if you are an affiliate.]
Adopted: [INSERT ADOPTION DATE]
Amended: [INSERT DATE OF APPROVED first amendment]
Amended: [INSERT ENSUING DATES OF APPROVED amendments]
ARTICLE I - Name
The name of this chapter shall be: [INSERT NAME OF CHAPTER]: a chapter of the Florida Council of the Blind (FCB). The official abbreviation of this chapter’s name shall be: [INSERT ABBREVIATION].
ARTICLE II - GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION
The area served by this Chapter shall be [INSERT GEOGRAPHIC AREA, E.G., COUNTY AND STATE].
ARTICLE III - PURPOSE
The purpose of this chapter is to strive for betterment of our total community by:
A. Conducting a program of public education aimed toward improving the understanding of the challenges faced by and the capabilities of people who are blind and visually impaired.
B. Improving education, rehabilitation, vocation, transportation, and recreation opportunities for persons with vision loss.
C. Encouraging and assisting people with visual impairments to develop their abilities, realize their potentials, and assume their responsible place in the community.
D. Improving public relations with various agencies and organizations in the community.
E. Providing for the free exchange of ideas, opinions and information relative to matters of concern to people who are blind and visually impaired.
ARTICLE IV - MEMBERSHIP
A. To qualify as a member, a candidate for membership must be at least [INSERT MINIMUM AGE – number and parenthetical word, e.g., 18 (eighteen)] years of age. A member must be at least 18 (eighteen) years of age to qualify as a voting member at FCB Conventions.
B. There shall be 2 (two) classes of membership: Regular and Honorary
1. Regular- shall have all privileges of membership and shall be subject to the payment of membership dues. Regular members may be either Primary or Secondary (see FCB By-Laws, Art. I, E)
2. Honorary-- May be bestowed upon persons or organizations worthy of such recognition and shall have all privileges of membership except voting and shall not be subject to payment of dues.
C. Members shall not be engaged in any business or activity which tends to bring any disrespect to any persons who are blind or visually impaired.
D. The majority of the regular membership must be legally blind.
E. A quorum for membership meetings shall be no less than [INSERT PERCENTAGE] of all regular members in good standing (current with dues and not subject to disciplinary sanctions) present and accounted for.
ARTICLE V - DUES
Membership dues shall be $[insert $ amount] more than that paid to the FCB and shall be payable annually by November 1st of each year. New members paying dues after July 1 shall be afforded membership through the end of the following calendar year.
ARTICLE VI - OFFICERS
A. The officers shall be
2. 1st Vice President
3. 2nd Vice President
6. Membership secretary
B. The President, 1st Vice President, and 2nd Vice President shall be legally blind
C. Officers shall be elected for two-year terms.
D. The President, 1st Vice President, and 2nd Vice President shall not serve in the same office for more than 2 (two) consecutive full terms.
E. There shall be no limitations of the number of consecutive 2 (two) year terms the Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary or Board members may serve.
F. Duties of the officers:
1. The President shall preside at all meetings and shall appoint the Chairmen and members of all standing and special committees except the nominating committee (Whose members shall be elected by the general membership.). The President is an Ex-Officio member of all committees, except the nominating Committee. The President shall be the Chapter liaison for conveying Chapter policies and for encouraging the cooperation of other FCB Chapters, Agencies or organizations. The President or his/her qualified designee shall also be responsible for fulfilling all duties and obligations as set forth by FCB, including but not limited to, serving on the FCB Board, attending FCB Board meetings (telephonically and in person), and serving on FCB standing committees. The FCB Board representative (be it the President or his/her designee) must be a primary member of the chapter. In addition, the outgoing President shall apprise the incoming President of all extra-chapter duties and obligations and shall work to make the transition between outgoing and incoming administrations as seamless as possible.
2. The 1st Vice President shall preside at all meetings in the absence of the president and shall work with the President, support the President’s policies and projects, and serve with the understanding that he/she occupies this position as a training-ground for eventual succession to President, but with the further understanding that this chapter cannot force any member to run for any position. The 1st Vice President shall assume the presidency at such time the position of President becomes vacant.
3. The 2nd Vice President shall: preside at all meetings in the absence of the President and 1st Vice President; shall work with the President, support the President’s policies and projects, and serve with the understanding that he/she occupies this position as a training-ground for eventual succession to 1st Vice President, but with the further understanding that this chapter cannot force any member to run for any position. The 2nd Vice President shall assume the 1st Vice Presidency at such time the position of 1st Vice President becomes vacant. Should the 2nd Vice President assume the position of 1st Vice President or at such time the position of 2nd Vice President becomes vacant, the Board shall solicit and appoint a willing member to fill out the remaining term of the 2nd Vice President position.
4. The Secretary shall record the minutes, including an accurate record of all official actions taken at each meeting and shall be responsible for all correspondence. Copies of the minutes of the preceding meeting will be available at the next meeting. The Secretary is also responsible for making sure that copies of all chapter minutes and all chapter treasurer reports are sent to the FCB Secretary as set forth in FCB’s governing documents.
5. The Treasurer shall receive and distribute all funds, keep all financial records accurate and up-to-date, provide monthly Treasurer’s Reports to the Membership, and submit all required financial documents to FCB. No expenditures over $[insert $ amount] shall be paid without prior approval of the membership.
6. The Membership Secretary shall chair the Membership Committee, take applications for new members, collect dues and submit them to the Treasurer, keep a current Membership roster, and furnish a yearly membership roster to the FCB Membership Secretary.
H. Any office, except that of President and 1st Vice President, vacated during the year may be filled by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
I. No projects shall be initiated in the name of the chapter without prior approval of the membership.
ARTICLE VII - Board of Directors
A. The majority of the Board of Directors shall be legally blind.
B. The Board of Directors shall consist of:
1. The 6 (six) officers,
2. A non-officer Director elected by the membership, and
3. The Immediate Past President.
C. The Board shall meet at least [insert frequency] times per year and the President may call special meetings of the Board, provided he/she gives all Board members at least [insert time frame (e.g., “3 (three) days’” or “48 (forty-eight) hours’”)] notice of the special meeting.
D. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the Board.
ARTICLE VIII - COMMITTEES
A. The standing committees shall be:
[Note: you may use all, some, or none of these committees and you are encouraged to come up with your own descriptions, but you are certainly free to use as much or as little of the text provided below.]
1. Social and Outreach
2. Public Relations
4. Fund raising
5. Education & Awareness
6. Advocacy & Government Affairs
1. The Social and Outreach Committee shall be responsible for calling members to remind them of monthly meetings and special events; shall suggest and be the coordinating committee for social events; shall arrange, with the assistance of a program planning subcommittee, for speakers and/or programs at monthly meetings; shall send birthday cards and when necessary, get-well and sympathy cards. Sympathy gifts should not exceed $[insert $ amount]. The social and Outreach Committee shall also, through networking with the general membership, assist members in resolving transportation issues related to the attendance at chapter functions.
2. The Public-Relations Committee shall be responsible for developing the chapter brand and promotional materials to be used across all media platforms, and shall assist other committees in developing public relations materials for special events, including, but not limited to, White Cane Week, White Cane Safety Day, etc. In addition, the Committee shall seek out appropriate venues in which the chapter can promote our organization such as senior expos and other disability related events, and shall work with community organizations that assist persons with disabilities who are blind or visually impaired.
3. The Membership Committee shall be chaired by the Membership Secretary and shall develop policies and procedures to recruit new members and retain current members.
4. The Fundraising Committee shall include and report to the Treasurer and shall oversee and coordinate fundraising events.
5. The Education & Awareness Committee shall create educational opportunities within the community (i.e., involving not only schools, but also libraries, other organizations and businesses) which will both benefit persons with vision loss and will educate and raise the awareness in the general community about the challenges faced by persons with vision loss, as well as the talents, capabilities, and successes of persons with vision loss. This committee shall also be responsible for an annual Scholarship: developing and distributing application materials, selecting a scholarship awardee, and presenting the scholarship in a manner that presents a positive PR opportunity.
6. The Advocacy & Government Affairs Committee shall provide educational opportunities for members to learn how to be the most effective advocates they can be; shall suggest opportunities for members to exercise their advocacy skills in meaningful forums; and shall speak out as advocates for the community of people with visual challenges to increase public awareness of the needs and skills of the visually impaired, to bring about meaningful and lasting changes in our communities that benefit the visually impaired, and to present competent and effective role models and spokespersons in public settings and media opportunities
ARTICLE IX - Ad Hoc Nominating Committee
A. The Nominating Committee, comprised of at least 3 (three) members in good standing who will not be candidates for any office in the following term, shall be elected by the Membership at the [insert month (e.g., October)] meeting.
B. At this [insert month (e.g., October)] meeting, the Nominating Committee shall choose a chairman.
C. The Nominating Committee shall endeavor to contact all Members to ascertain their interest in performing the duties of any available Board position, shall prepare the slate of candidates within 2 (two) weeks after the [insert month (e.g., October)] meeting, and shall make known the slate of candidates to all members no later than 1 (one) week before the [insert following month (e.g., November)] meeting.
D. The presentation of the slate of candidates, nominations from the floor, and elections shall take place at the [insert following month (e.g., November)] meeting.
E. The newly-elected Board shall take office on [insert date, e.g., January 1].
ARTICLE X – Meetings and Representation at the State Level
A. The FCB Board member shall be the President of the chapter. In the absence of the President, the Vice President may serve as Board Representative or another chapter member may be appointed by the president. Whoever serves as FCB Board Representative must be a Primary member of this chapter. The chapter may, if finances allow and if approved by a majority vote of members at a regular meeting in which a quorum is present, be responsible for the FCB-allowable expenses of the Board Representative at the Board meetings and conventions. The chapter will only pay for expenses that the FCB will not cover.
B. Convention delegates shall be elected by the membership of the chapter, must be Primary members of this chapter, and may be reimbursed pursuant to the provisions in Section A, above.
C. First-timers: the chapter may, if finances allow and if approved by a majority vote of members at a regular meeting in which a quorum is present, match funds provided by FCB to 1 (one) member in good standing who has never gone to an FCB convention. If there is more than one member who qualifies as a 1st-Timer, such 1st-Timer shall be chosen by lot.
D. There shall be at least 9 (nine) regular membership meetings in each fiscal year.
E. A special meeting of the membership may be held following approval of a majority of the Board of Directors, if the Board determines that a special meeting is warranted, there shall be no less than 1 (one) week’s notice to the membership as to the time, place, and purpose of this special meeting.
ARTICLE XI - AMENDMENTS
A. These By-laws may be amended by a majority of the regular members present and in good standing at a regular meeting, provided the amendment was presented by mail, email, or other means to all members at least 1 (one) week before the meeting at which a vote on the amendment(s) is to take place. [Or, any proposed amendments could be read at one regular meeting, with the vote on that amendment taking place at the next regular meeting.]
B. Any amendment(s) to these By-Laws will not take effect until presented to and ratified by the FCB Constitution & By-Laws Committee.
ARTICLE XII - COMPLIANCE
These By-laws shall not conflict with or abridge the FCB Constitution, By-Laws, Policy Manual, or any other FCB governing documents.
ARTICLE XIII - PROCEDURES
In the absence of provisions contained herein, all procedures of this Chapter shall be governed by this chapter’s Standing Rules, and, should a situation arise that is not covered in either these By-laws or the Standing Rules, by the latest revision of Roberts Rules Of Order.
ARTICLE XIV - SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION
A. Any member found to be deliberately guilty of disruptive behavior, or behavior that is detrimental to the purpose of this chapter, or behavior that is in violation of this chapter’s By-laws or the FCB Constitution or By-laws may be suspended by a majority vote of the Chapter’s Board of Directors pending review by the chapter’s Membership
B. Within 30 days of the Board’s passage of the motion to suspend, at a regular or special meeting the membership will determine whether the suspension will be upheld or whether expulsion is warranted.
C. A 2/3 (two-third’s) vote of members present and in good standing at this regular or special meeting in which a quorum is present shall be required to uphold the suspension or to expel the member.
ARTICLE XV - Dissolution
A. A recommendation of dissolution can only occur following a meeting of the Board of Directors at which at least ¾ (three fourth’s) of the members present vote to recommend dissolution.
B. Written notice of the proposed dissolution must be provided to all members at least 30 (thirty) days prior to the regular or special meeting at which dissolution will be voted upon.
C. This organization may only be dissolved by a ¾ (three fourth’s) vote of the membership at a regular or special meeting.
D. At the time of dissolution, all properties of the chapter shall revert to FCB.