When I got stuck with my first assignment to look at a set of bylaws, I groaned. But I was President-Elect. I think it’s fairly common, someone who’s interested but has no other pressing responsibilities, gets stuck with a job like this.
All the chapters of this particular national organization were charged with adjusting their local versions to include a couple of important sections.
I had a few people who signed on to give me “an hour or two” to work on the adjustments. (Whew! Not nearly enough time!) One was a new lawyer — new in practice and new in the organization. All of her suggestions were about how to be sure that nothing we said could ever be used against us. In short, she made the process complicated, and worse, because she didn’t know the organization, she had no idea about how we were already doing things – processes that were working quite well.
The other person was a long time member who knew the “whys” of everything and was often surprised when she found some things in the bylaws at all.
There was an antiquated method for voting and a short deadline for compliance. So stepping up to the plate, I did what any committed volunteer would do. I fixed them myself. Then I explained and re-explained what I’d changed and why, why it was either required by national or made sense for us. (That’s when I began to work out the presentation part of my “Bylaws from Scratch” book.)
I learned some other very important lessons in the process. And I’m happy to share!
If you’re worried about it, get help.
I think this stuff is fun!