New Hampshire Nonprofit Bylaws
New Hampshire nonprofit bylaws describe how your nonprofit should function internally. Bylaws establish the rules of procedure like electing officers, holding important meetings, and voting. Creating bylaws gives your nonprofit, not only a sense of legitimacy, but also a general operating manual and agreement to ensure your business’s success.
Get started with our attorney-drafted bylaws template today!
Why does a New Hampshire nonprofit need bylaws?
Unlike your New Hampshire Nonprofit Articles of Agreement, you don’t have to file your nonprofit bylaws with the Secretary of State. But your nonprofit’s bylaws are still a crucial step in starting your business. Here’s some information to keep in mind about New Hampshire nonprofit bylaws.
1. Nonprofit bylaws are legally required in New Hampshire.
According to NH Code § 292:6, your nonprofit’s bylaws “shall be adopted” by a 2/3 majority of the signers of the Articles of Agreement. Without bylaws in place, your nonprofit is at risk of being penalized or fined.
2. Third parties will ask to see your bylaws.
Opening a bank account for your New Hampshire nonprofit? Banks typically require a copy of your bylaws, Articles of Agreement, and EIN. You’ll also need to attach a copy of your bylaws when applying for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status with the IRS.
3. Nonprofit bylaws allow you more control over your nonprofit.
Your bylaws are where you provide information for how you hire, amend bylaws, pay officers, and more. If a problem comes up, your bylaws help you resolve the issue by having a clear course of previously agreed upon action on how the matter should be handled—making it less likely for disputes to end up in a courtroom with a judge making the final call.
Want to learn more? Check out our Guide to Nonprofits.
What do New Hampshire Nonprofit Bylaws include?
Your New Hampshire nonprofit bylaws should provide your board of directors clear instructions on 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
Your bylaws should also include basic information about your nonprofit (like its name, business address, and purpose) and specific guidelines and rules for how your nonprofit functions internally.
Are nonprofit bylaws legally binding?
Yes. New Hampshire nonprofit bylaws are both legally required and considered contractually binding. Anything done by you or a member of the nonprofit against the bylaws can lead to legal ramifications.
Are nonprofit bylaws public record?
Technically no. You don’t need to file your bylaws with the New Hampshire Secretary of State or list them on any state public database. But if you apply with the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, the IRS makes your nonprofit bylaws and application public.
Do nonprofit bylaws need to be signed?
No. New Hampshire does not require nonprofit bylaws be signed by members or your board of directors. However, it is a step we recommend to keep everyone on the same page.
Can nonprofit bylaws be changed?
Yes. NH Code § 292:6 outlines exactly how nonprofits can amend their bylaws. Take care to note the statue says, “The power to alter, amend or repeal the bylaws or to adopt new bylaws, subject to repeal or change by a 2/3 majority action of the shareholders or holders of membership certificates, shall be vested in the board of directors unless reserved to the shareholders or holders of membership certificates by the articles of agreement.”
Who adopts nonprofit bylaws?
In New Hampshire, bylaws are adopted by the people that signed the articles of agreement. A two-thirds majority is required.
Are voluntary corporations the same as nonprofits?
Yes. New Hampshire statutes refers to nonprofits as voluntary corporations.