How Can I Obtain the Bylaws of a Non-Profit Organization?

By Scott Pullins
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There are a number of methods for obtaining a copy of the bylaws of a nonprofit organization. The first method is to request and receive a copy directly from the organization or one of its officers or board members. One can also fill out a specific form and request a copy of the bylaws of a nonprofit organization directly from the Internal Revenue Service. A link to the online form from the Internal Revenue Service can be found in the resources section of this website. Finally, there are other agencies and offices that sometimes maintain copies of these records and this article will help you find them.

Request a copy of the bylaws directly from the organization. Under federal law, nonprofit organizations must provide a copy of their bylaws and other important documents upon request. The organization may charge you a small fee for providing this information to you. You may make the request in person at the nonprofit's office or send a request to them in writing. If you are having difficulty locating an office or a board member, then you should visit the website of Guidestar, an organization that maintains records on nonprofit organizations. A link to that site can be found in the resources section of this article.

Request a copy of the bylaws directly from the Internal Revenue Service. Before obtaining an exemption from taxation, nonprofit organizations must file a copy of their bylaws with the IRS as a part of their exemption application. You may view or obtain a copy of these documents by filling out form 4506-A and sending it to the IRS. A link to this form can be found in the resources section at the end of this article.

In most states, the activities of nonprofit organizations are regulated and overseen by the state attorney general's office, so you can request a copy of the bylaws from there. A link to a directory of every state attorney general can be found in the resources section of this article at the end.

About the Author

Scott A. Pullins has been an Ohio based business and public affairs consultant and attorney. He has advised clients on complex legal, business, marketing and public policy issues. Most recently he worked as a default analyst for the Mortgage Banking Executive Office for JPMorgan Chase Bank NA.