Changing Existing By-Laws

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You must follow your by-laws.  If you don't, you aren't serving your group faithfully.

By-laws are purposfully a little vague, to give you flexibility, and specific in other ways, to keep you on track.

If your Chapter has been going along, but find something about your by-laws doesn't work for you, or is holding you back, (too many, or too few board members? Outdated name choice, if your group has grown? etc.) it might be time to change your by-laws.

Your by-laws explain in them, what has to happen to change them.  Typically a vote of your Chapter's membership is required.  Also, ACBS will want to see your new by-laws before their officially changed, to update our files, as well as to make sure that the changes aren't so drastic as to change your mission too far away from ACBS's goals/values. Also, ACBS can offer some suggestions about by-laws (and warn you against too large boards, or specifically requiring certain committees, etc.) before you take them to your membership.


  1. Draft a new version of your by-laws.  (Track changes in Word is the best way to display the differences/changes.)
  2. Send them to the ACBS Executive Director for review/approval.
  3. Follow your existing/old by-laws and put the proposed changes in front of your membership for a vote (typically it's your entire chapter membership, not the board, unless you are in a country with different by-law requirements).
  4. If approved, send the updated by-laws to ACBS to keep on file.