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Montana Nonprofit Bylaws

Montana nonprofit bylaws are your nonprofit’s internal operating manual and rules of procedure. Bylaws establish the day-to-day operations of your nonprofit. These operations include how your nonprofit elects officers, what the size of your board is, and how important meetings are held—along with other essential information to keep your business operating well. Creating bylaws gives your nonprofit a rule book to guide your business and your employees.

Get started with our attorney-drafted bylaws template.

Why does a Montana nonprofit need bylaws?

Drafting bylaws for your nonprofit is an important step in keeping your business running smooth. Even though you don’t have to file your Montana nonprofit bylaws with the Secretary of State like your Montana Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation, they still help you maintain and organize your business. Here are some things to keep in mind about Montana nonprofit bylaws.

1. Nonprofit bylaws are legally required in Montana.

According to MT Code 35-2-217, “the incorporators or board of directors of a corporation shall adopt bylaws for the corporation.” Montana nonprofit bylaws are legally required by the Montana Secretary of State.

2. Third parties will ask to see your bylaws.

When you apply for tax-exempt status with the IRS, the IRS requires you to share a copy of your nonprofit bylaws. Not only that, but attorneys can request to see your nonprofit’s bylaws during legal disputes and other issues.

3. Nonprofit bylaws allow you more control over your nonprofit.

Since bylaws are legally required in Montana, your nonprofit is not only operating in bad standing in Montana without them, but your nonprofit also doesn’t have a clear set of rules governing how your business should function internally. If a problem comes up, your bylaws can help you resolve it by having a clear course of action on how various situations should be handled.

Want to learn more? Check out our Guide to Nonprofits.

What do Montana Nonprofit Bylaws include?

Your Montana nonprofit bylaws need to have rules for:

  • appointing and removing board members
  • notifying members of board meetings and setting locations
  • voting and meeting quorum requirements
  • treating conflicts of interest
  • compensating directors
  • maintaining records and meeting minutes
  • amending bylaws
  • operating under emergency bylaws

Your bylaws also include all the essential information about your nonprofit (name, business address, purpose, etc.). Along with that information, your bylaws should contain specific rules for how your nonprofit operates internally.

Are nonprofit bylaws legally binding?

Yes. The Montana Secretary of State requires nonprofits to have bylaws, and they are legally binding and can be used in a court of law. Anything done by you or a member of the nonprofit against the bylaws can lead to legal ramifications.

Are nonprofit bylaws public record?

Depends. While Montana doesn’t require nonprofits to file their bylaws for public record, the IRS requires bylaws when filing for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Once approved for tax-exempt status, your bylaws are federally required to be publicly listed on the IRS website.

Montana Nonprofit Bylaws Template

Drafting Montana bylaws is hard. Our attorney made it easier for you. You can use our free attorney-drafted nonprofit bylaws template to get started.


Do nonprofit bylaws need to be signed?

No. Montana does not require nonprofit bylaws have signatures. However, including signatures from board members, directors, and officers guarantees everyone is on the same page.

Can nonprofit bylaws be changed?

Yes. Usually, bylaws include steps for how to the document can be amended. Additionally, the Montana Code for Nonprofit Corporations (MT Code 35-2) focuses on amending articles but also includes occasional notes on bylaws throughout.

Who adopts nonprofit bylaws?

Typically, the board of directors adopts bylaws. According to MT Code 35-2-217, “The incorporators or board of directors … adopt[s] bylaws for the corporation.”

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