Arkansas Nonprofit Bylaws
Arkansas nonprofit bylaws are the rules and operating procedures you and the board of directors adopts to run your nonprofit. Adopting bylaws for your Arkansas nonprofit is one of the first and most important steps in forming your nonprofit. Your bylaws will help you mitigate any internal issues and ensure your board knows how to operate your business.
We can help you get started with our attorney-drafted Arkansas nonprofit bylaws template.
Why does an Arkansas nonprofit need bylaws?
Although you don’t have to file your nonprofit bylaws with the Arkansas Secretary of State like the Arkansas Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation, this doesn’t mean your bylaws aren’t just as crucial to maintaining your business. Here are some important factors to remember about Arkansas nonprofit bylaws.
1. Nonprofit bylaws are legally required in Arkansas.
According to AR Code § 4-33-206, the board of directors shall adopt initial bylaws, meaning they aren’t just nice to have, but are required in Arkansas. So, if you want your nonprofit to stay in good standing with the state, you will need to create bylaws.
2. Third parties will ask to see your bylaws.
While you don’t have to file your Arkansas nonprofit bylaws with the state, you will still need to provide bylaws to prove the legitimacy of your organization. If you’re applying for tax-exempt status from the IRS under 501(c)(3), you’ll need to attach bylaws to your application. Want to open a bank account in Arkansas for your nonprofit? You’ll need to provide a copy of your bylaws along with other important documents to prove your nonprofit’s legitimacy.
3. Nonprofit bylaws allow you more control over your nonprofit.
Since Arkansas nonprofit bylaws are the rules and policies governing how your business is run and how it operates, they protect you from unpredictable legal consequences. How? Without bylaws outlining how you hire, pay, amend Articles of Incorporation, vote, and add directors, there is likely going to be an issue that arises, leading to legal actions.Bylaws protect you and organize your business into a legally binding structure.
Want to learn more? Check out our Guide to Nonprofits.
What do Arkansas Nonprofit Bylaws include?
Arkansas nonprofit bylaws should include basic information about your nonprofit (like its name, business address, and purpose) and specific guidelines and rules for how your nonprofit will function internally. Your bylaws should provide your board of directors with clear provisions for how to run your nonprofit, including rules for:
- adding or removing board members
- giving notice and holding board meetings
- taking a vote and meeting quorum requirements
- handling conflicts of interest
- compensating directors
- keeping records
- amending the bylaws
- operating during emergencies
- dissolving the nonprofit
Are nonprofit bylaws legally binding?
Yes. Though you don’t have to file your Arkansas nonprofit bylaws with the Secretary of State, they are still required and legally binding. All directors, officers, and shareholders are legally required to abide by the bylaws.
Are nonprofit bylaws public record?
Sometimes. You don’t have to file your Arkansas nonprofit bylaws with the state, but if you apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS, you will have to file your bylaws with the IRS. The IRS is federally required to publicly list all tax-exempt nonprofit bylaws.
Do nonprofit bylaws need to be signed?
No. Though we advise getting signatures of your board members on nonprofit bylaws since having your nonprofit bylaws signed keeps everyone on the same page.
Can nonprofit bylaws be changed?
Yes. The Arkansas Nonprofit Corporation Act of 1993 outlines specific rules for amending your bylaws in AR Code §§ 4-33-1020—4-33-1022.
Who adopts nonprofit bylaws?
AR Code § 4-33-206 states the initial bylaws are adopted by the board of directors at your nonprofit’s first organizational meeting.
What types of nonprofits does Arkansas recognize?
The Arkansas Nonprofit Corporation Act of 1993 recognizes three categories of nonprofit corporations: public benefit corporations, mutual benefit corporations, and religious corporations.