Bylaws

AID By-Laws

1. NAME, OBJECTIVES AND FUNCTIONS

1.1 Name:

The name of this organization shall be “Association for India’s Development, Inc.”. In this document Association for India’s Development is henceforth referred to by its acronym ‘AID’ or ‘AID, Inc.’

1.2 Objectives:

AID, Inc. is a charitable organization. In addition it is a non-political, non-profit, secular organization. It is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Its main objectives are to raise awareness about poverty and related issues, raise funds, and to make charitable contributions for the development and welfare of the poor people and poor communities of India. This development and welfare is achieved through assisting, implementing, and supporting charitable projects focusing mainly on literacy, education, rural development, family planning, health care, social welfare, empowerment of people, and environmental responsibility. These projects are focused in villages, rural areas, slum areas or in other economically underprivileged regions.

These charitable projects will be selected for funding based on the following criteria:

  • The project under consideration should conform with the objectives of this organization outlined above.
  • The project under consideration should have a detailed budget specifying how the stipulated amount would be used.
  • The project under consideration has a long term perspective.
  • The project under consideration concerns, involves and benefits people in the economically under-privileged sections of the Indian society.
  • To the extent possible, projects under consideration would concentrate on different regions within India.
    Effort would be made to replicate successful ideas in previous projects, and to create channels of communication between people working in different projects.
  • The awareness, especially of the problems of the poor, is created through means such as informative newsletters, hand-outs, posters, videos, presentations, films, skits and seminars.

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1.3 Functions:
The functions of AID are chosen to realise the objectives specified in section 1.2. The role of AID is subdivided into the following tasks:

  • Collecting information on different developmental projects in India.
  • Collecting monetary contributions from the members and the general public in the U.S.A.
  • Seeking grants from organizations and foundations.
  • Increasing awareness in the public of AID activities through publicity, participation in social events, and news-letters.
  • Encouraging volunteerism in people.
  • Selecting projects consistent with the objectives of AID for funding.
  • Sending financial contributions to the chosen projects at regular intervals.
  • Proposing and implementing projects consistent with the objectives of AID.
  • Periodically evaluating projects being supported by AID.
  • Visiting project sites and maintaining communication with them.
  • Keeping members informed about the status of the projects being funded
  • Administering the multiple tasks of AID mentioned above.
  • The executive structure (see section 3) is responsible for implementing these tasks and has freedom to choose appropriate methods for the same.

 

2. MEMBERSHIP REGULATIONS AND ORGANIZATION

2.1 Membership

Membership to AID is open to all individuals, irrespective of their race, sex, religion, or nationality. Charitable contributions will be sought from the community at large. People making an initial contribution will be added to the list of members if they express interest in making further contributions to AID in the future. AID reserves the right to deny/revoke membership at any time. The list of members shall be updated periodically. A member who does not make any financial or other contribution in a one-year period may lose membership. Membership shall be reinstated when the person re-involves himself/herself with activities of AID. There are no membership dues and the list of members is kept for the purposes of informing the members of projects, activities and needs of AID.

2.2 AID-Volunteer:

Any member who not only contributes money, but also volunteers time and energy is an AID-Volunteer and can help start an AID-Chapter, as well as participate in decision-making and execution.

2.2.2 Starting-Chapter:

Any group of AID-volunteers interested in forming a chapter of AID shall be deemed a Starting-Chapter provided they are approved by the president of any existing AID-Chapter or by the Executive Board of AID.

2.2.3 AID-Chapter:

AID-Volunteers of a starting-chapter, will be deemed an AID-Chapter provided they show organizational capabilities to set and meet fund-raising targets, have an interest in expanding the scope of fund-raising and awareness activities, have at least six AID-Volunteers meeting regularly, and are approved by the Executive Board (defined in section 3.2.2) based on its guidelines for AID-Chapters. Each AID-Chapter shall maintain a list of its AID-Volunteers that is updated periodically to include new volunteers. People who either lose their motivation to work or do not follow a code of ethics set by the AID-Chapter will be removed from the list and can be reinstated. AID -Chapters should also help one-another, interact regularly with the Executive Board and have a spirit of cooperation and good-will.

2.2.3.1 Approval of funds by an AID-Chapter:

For projects and activities of AID, an AID-Chapter can approve an amount of funds upto 80% of the amount of funds it raises for AID, after due training in project review and evaluation, and the consent of the Executive Board of AID with the understanding that:

  • The rest of the funds raised by the AID-Chapter go towards a common fund whose disbursement will be determined by the Executive Board of AID with inputs and suggestions from the Headquarters and all AID-Chapters, and consistent with the objectives of AID. The Executive Board may also designate a part of this common fund to any AID-Chapter which can then determine its disbursement consistent with the objectives of AID.
  • AID-Chapters, while having the independence to approve upto 80% of the funds they raise for AID for supporting projects and activities, also function consistent with plans and guidelines they make (or have made) together with the Executive Board.
  • The projects and activities approved will be consistent with the objectives of AID and meet the criteria in Section 1.2.

The Executive Board will maintain a list of AID-Chapters and can recommend to the Board of Directors to suspend project approval and fund-disbursal power of an AID-Chapter, including the dissolution of the AID-Chapter itself, in the extreme cases of non-compliance of an AID-Chapter with the above provisions and other provisions of these by-laws.

2.2.4 Head Quarters:

Since AID was founded in Maryland, the AID-Chapter in Maryland or the AID-Maryland Chapter, shall be called Head Quarters of AID, unless the Board of Directors decides to designate some other chapter as the Head Quarters to facilitate better functioning of AID. The Head Quarters shall have the responsibility of maintaining relevant project, treasury, membership and organizational information of AID and its chapters. However, the officers of the Head Quarters shall not use the title of officers of AID as these are defined in Sections 3.2 and 3.3.

2.2.4.1 Regional Head Quarters:

With recommendations from the Head Quarters, a chapter of AID can be deemed a Regional Head Quarters by the Board of Directors provided such a designation helps manage the activities of AID more easily. Input from all the existing chapters in a region will be sought by the Board of Directors before they designate a Regional Head Quarters for that respective region. The Head Quarters can delegate some of its responsibilities to the Regional Head Quarters.

2.2.5 Student Organizations:

Students in colleges and universities interested in volunteer experience and helping AID will be given the permission to use the name “Association for India’s Development” and other copyrighted material in a limited way. Members of such student organizations can attend and help arrange the meetings of a nearby chapter of AID, as well as help AID in fund-raising, awareness and project review. Though these student organizations are financially independent of AID and register and operate according to the rules and regulations of the said colleges or universities, they must submit a copy of their current constituition or by-laws to the Executive Board of AID. Members of student organizations must direct any potential donors interested in contributing to AID, to the nearest AID-Chapter since a donation to the student organization is not a donation to AID.

 

3. EXECUTIVE STRUCTURE

The executive structure consists of the Executive Committees of AID-Chapters (Section 3.1), and the Board of Directors and Executive Board of AID (Section 3.2). These are together responsible for carrying out all the tasks and for meeting the objectives of the organization.

3.1 Officers of AID-Chapter: Executive Committee

Officers serving on the executive committee of an AID-Chapter shall be elected by its active-volunteers (see Section 4.5) . Each officer of the executive committee shall serve for a two year term and shall not receive any emoluments from AID.

The executive committee shall consist of at least five officers including the president, vice-president, secretary, and two treasurers. Additional officers like a Projects Coordinator and Newsletter Editor can also be elected to the executive committee if the chapter’s voting volunteers decided at the AID-Chapter’s Community Service Hour (see Section 4.1) to create additional posts. The elections will take place at the respective AID-Chapter’s General Body Meeting (see Section 4.1).

Executive Committee members should realize that they have the important responsibility of working hard, with conviction, cooperation and a will to meet deadlines and improve the quality of their own working. A good working Executive Committee can energize each of its members as well as other volunteers by providing a sound working base of at least 5-6 people doing the following very important tasks regularly:

President of AID-Chapter : The president should have a keen interest and commitment to the objectives of AID. His/Her main task would be to ensure that the AID-Chapter meets all its objectives and functions efficiently. He/She should strive to expand the scope and reach of AID in terms of awareness of AID activities, especially in minds of people in the city and state where the AID-Chapter is located, and in terms of the breadth and depth of various developmental projects in India. He/She should have a vision for the future and should come up with interesting ideas so that people can get motivated to contribute time, money and effort to the cause of AID. He/She should delegate responsibilities to other volunteers and should coordinate the various tasks of the AID-Chapter. He/She should also be active in collecting information about prospective developmental projects for AID. He/She should take an active part in increasing the awareness in the general public of the various activities of AID. He/She should interact with the executive committee of the other AID-Chapters, the Executive Board and the Board of Directors constantly for acheiving the overall objectives and functions of AID. He/She should also interact closely with the Head Quarters or Regional Head Quarters, recognize its various innovative and effective strategies and implement them in his/her own AID-Chapter. He/She should preside the GBMs of his/her chapter in the normal course of events.

Vice-President of AID-Chapter: The Vice-President should actively help and support the President in organising various activities of the AID-Chapter. She/he should coordinate publicity of AID at social and cultural events and should strive to expand its membership, especially in the city and state where the AID-Chapter is located. In the absence of the President, or when the President is indisposed, the Vice-President should assume the powers and execute the tasks of the President. She/he should strive to expand the public relations of AID with other organizations of similar interest and seek their support and participation in AID efforts. She/he will coordinate the CSH of the AID-Chapter regularly and also set up its agenda. She/he along with the Secretary of the AID-Chapter should maintain the minutes of all CSH organized by the AID-Chapter.

Secretary of AID-Chapter: The Secretary should be responsible for the following tasks:
holding a GBM of the AID-Chapter at least once in six months, including setting the agenda, informing members in advance and keeping minutes of the GBM,
maintaining and updating the list of members with the Head Quarters,
internal publicity within the AID-Chapter and
maintaining correspondence with on-going projects in India. He/She along with the help of the Vice president will maintain the minutes of all the CSHs of the AID-Chapter. He/She should convey the decision of the Executive Board to its volunteers and the decisions of the AID-Chapter to the Executive Board.

Treasurer of AID-Chapter: The treasurer shall be responsible for the following tasks:
collecting contributions from members and other sources,
maintaining the accounts of the AID-Chapter in conformity with the requirements of the Executive Board,
presenting the financial status of the AID-Chapter at each GBM and annual report at the first GBM of every new calendar year before the general elections (see section 4.6), and (iv) sending financial contributions to the on-going projects at regular time intervals. The Treasurer should be in constant touch with the Executive Board and update them periodically with the financial accounts of the AID-Chapter.

3.2 Officers of AID: Board of Directors and Executive Board

3.2.1 Board of Directors

People who have made significant contributions to building or expanding the organization, have the commitment to spend significant amount of volunteer time to maintain the organization as a cohesive unit, and who have served in the executive board of AID can be elected to the Board of Directors in a board meeting. The Board of Directors shall consist of at least three and at most seven people. The term for each director shall be determined at the time of his/her elections by the electing directors. Directors elected for an unspecified term, or for a term greater than four years, shall seek a vote of continued confidence from the remaining directors every four years. In the event of less than 50% confidence their term will expire on the date set by the remaining directors.

The main purpose of the Board of Directors is to ensure that AID meets its main objective of being able to do the best it can for the betterment of the poor in India. The tasks of the Board of Directors include:

Decentralizing the activities, projects and usage of the funds of AID by giving consent to the AID-Chapters (as described in Section 2.2.3.1) and the Executive Board.

Creating an Executive Board to ensure that despite decentralization, projects and efforts of different chapters are done in a planned manner so that they reinforce one-another.

Through the Executive Board, not only setting but also recognizing the standards for quality in projects, fund-raising and other activities of AID, no matter which chapter or group of volunteers has set them, so that everyone else can learn and benefit from them.

In addition, two of the Directors will function as the president and the chief treasurer of AID, and will be responsible for filing the annual reports, annual state registrations and tax returns. The Board of Directors shall meet regularly to assess and make decisions about the overall functioning of AID, as described in Section 4.2.

3.2.2 Executive Board

Experienced volunteers with motivation, interest and abilities to handle the various over-all tasks of AID, shall be nominated for specified terms to the Executive Board and empowered by the Board of Directors (with inputs and recommendations from Headquarters and chapters) to execute the various tasks of AID. AID-volunteers can also be elected to the Executive Board for two year terms at AID Special Meetings. The elected members shall form about 25% of the Executive Board. Duties of the members elected to the Executive Board will be determined by the Board of Directors and the other Executive Board Members. The Executive Board will consist of a Secretary and teams dealing with treasury, projects, newsletters and publications, fundraising, publicity and chapters coordination. These will be considered officers of AID, as opposed to officers of a chapter of AID, and will have the responsibilities such as auditing of AID accounts, publications for AID, assisting the Board of Directors in filing annual reports, state registrations and federal returns, etc. Other posts and committees can be created by the Board of Directors within the Executive Board.

 

4. MEETINGS, DECISION MAKING AND VOTING, AND ELECTIONS

4.1 AID-Chapter Meetings:

AID-Chapters shall have three types of meetings:

  1. Community Service Hour
  2. Executive Committee Meeting and
  3. General Body Meeting.

The functional details of these meetings are described below:

Community Service Hours (CSH):

Every chapter shall have a CSH at least once a month, preferably every week. The CSH is the place where AID volunteers of a chapter meet and set the agenda for the weekly/monthly activities of the chapter. Every volunteer should be given a chance to speak and the CSH should also have certain work items on the agenda, like making posters, writing to projects or donors, exchanging/viewing informative videos. Important decisions like project review and support, fund-raising activities of the chapter etc. will be discussed and made/initiated at the CSH. Projects can be passed at the CSH by a majority vote afterthe volunteers get a chance to ask questions and seek modifications and clarifications. The CSH can also empower smaller project committes and coordinators to make decisions on projects. It can also serve as a forum to introduce and train new volunteers and to keep the vision of making a difference in the world alive.

Quorum for making decisions in the CSH :

Each chapter can set its CSH’s quorum requirements or modify any quorum requirements set by it previously at the CSH (meeting the current quorum requirements) by an absolute majority. Until such a time that the chapter sets its first quorum requirements, the quorum for a chapter shall be defined as attendance of at least 6 active AID volunteers. Any quorum requirements set by the CSH of the chapter shall not fall below the attendance of a minimum of six active AID-Volunteers. The term ‘active-volunteer’ is defined in Section 4.5.

Voting in the CSH :

All active AID volunteers can vote on a decision in the CSH.

Executive Committee Meeting:

The primary function of these meetings shall be to implement resolutions passed in the CSH and GBM and to set direction for future and ongoing projects. The detailed structure of the executive committee is given in section 3.1. Any member who is not a member of the executive committee can attend this meeting only with invitation or prior approval from any of the members of the executive committee. The executive committee has the authority to allot contingency funds up to 10% of the annual budget of the respective AID-Chapter, for emergency project support.

General Body Meeting (GBM):

This meeting is open to all members of AID. The secretary is responsible to set agenda and inform all members in advance and keep the minutes of the meeting. Any issues not directly related to the set agenda can be raised for discussion by any member with approval from the secretaryof the AID-Chapter. The GBM would be presided over by the president of the AID-Chapter. The quorum for GBM shall be the same as the quorum of the previous CSH meeting. Further at least one-third of the executive commitee members should be be present in the GBM, for quorum requirements to be met. The meeting shall fail to be a GBM if the quorum requirements are not met. A GBM shall be held at least once every quarter (three months) for the headquarters and regional head quarters, and at least once a year for all other chapters.

Some of the important functions of the GBM are as follows:

  • to make a special effort to reach out to more people of diverse qualities and aptitudes by inviting those who have shown interest but never attended, or who have attended occasionally in the past and offered interesting ideas,
  • to give update to the members on the on-going projects,
  • to discuss the budget, progress and targets for the next period,
  • to discuss new ideas for awareness of AID,
  • to hear and respond to a periodic report by every executive committee member,
  • to hold elections every two years and select members of the executive committee by majority vote, and
  • to resolve special issues such as, amending the constitution, or approving no-confidence motion against any member of the executive committee of the AID-Chapter. These special motions shall require absolute majority vote (see section 4.5) to be approved.

4.2 Directors Meeting

The Board of Directors will have a Directors meeting atleast once every two months. The quorum shall be presence of at least 3 directors. The purpose of the meetings is to expand and make changes to the membership of the Executive Board, empower different members of the Executive Board to make decisions and take-up responsibilities in different areas, and to determine the usage of the funds of AID, including giving consent through the Executive Board to an AID-Chapter to use a portion of the funds raised by the AID-Chapter, as specified in Section 2.2.3.1. All decisions of the Board of Directors should be made by an absolute majority of the Directors present.

The Board of Directors should strive to seek the inputs and recommendations from every other decision making body, while arriving at their decisions.

4.3 Executive Board Meeting

The primary function of these meetings will be to implement the resolutions passed in the Directors Meeting, such as reaching various targets in the overall projects and fund-raising, awareness and publicity activities of AID. Guidelines for the executive committees of various chapters especially in the areas of treasury, projects, and long-term plans of AID, can be discussed at the Executive Board Meetings, and recommendations can be given to the Board of Directors for their approval.

4.4 AID Special Meeting

AID Special Meeting will called by the Board of Directors and all voting volunteers of all chapters will be invited with sufficient notice. Quorum for the AID Special Meeting is the presence of 25 voting-volunteers.

4.5 Voting:

Any AID-Volunteer who has attended at least three of the last six or two of the last three CSHs in an AID-Chapter is an active-volunteer (or voting volunteer) of AID and has a right to vote. AID Volunteers who have attended 20% of the CSHs and GBMs held in any AID-Chapter in the last one, two or three years are also active-volunteers (or voting volunteers) and enjoy this same right.

Motions in the meetings described in section 4 shall be subjected to open (or voice) vote, provided the motion is related to the topic under discussion (according to the set agenda). The chair-person has the right to allocate time duration for discussion before the motion is subjected to vote.

Resolutions can be passed by the following types of votes:

Majority Vote: A majority vote for any motion shall consist of approval by more than 50% of the active-volunteers present and voting.

Absolute Majority Vote: An absolute majority vote consists of approval by at least two-thirds of all active-volunteers of AID present and voting.

Every decision of AID or its chapters, made in any of the meetings, should be made available to every other chapter, executive board and board of directors. The minutes of the meeting, available to any AID volunteer on request will suffice to satisfy this requirement. If the Board of Directors receive a petition by ten or more AID-members within one week from the date of any decision made by any decision-making body of AID or AID-Chapters, they can suspend or revoke the decision within another week. For such an action, the petition should have compelling reasons that demonstrate for example, that it is entirely out-of -character of previous decisions made by AID. The Board of Directors will then work with the decsion-making body whose decision has been revoked/suspended and try to come up with a solution suitable to it and the petitioners. The decision of the Board of Directors will be final in such circumstances.

4.6 Elections for the Executive Committee of an AID-Chapter

General elections for the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurers and any other officers of the AID-Chapter, shall be held on a suitable date in the last 6-month period before the expiration of the 2-year term of the current executive committee of the respective AID-chapter. The elections shall be conducted by the current president of the AID-Chapter or an electoral officer appointed him/her. In case of the resignation of the president of the AID-Chapter before the elections, the Board of Directors will appoint an electoral officer. Any volunteer of the AID-Chapter can be nominated for any seat on the executive committee of the AID-Chapter.

All volunteers of AID-Chapter and the Board of Directors must be informed of the date and time of elections at least two CSHs in advance. This would give prospective candidates sufficient time to form a manifesto. Candidates will be given 10 minutes before the election to state their views. The actual electoral process, including the order of the election, shall be formulated by the electoral officer. The person securing the highest number of votes in his or her favour for any post would be declared elected to that post. Transfer of power to the newly elected body will be 2 weeks after the elections, provided there is no question on the fairness with which the election was conducted. If there is a doubt then the transfer of power will be delayed and will require the Board of Directors’ recommendation. The Board of Directors could in the event of serious doubt order a re-election.

If an office-bearer resigns from his/her post or is removed from the post by a vote of no-confidence against the person, then the vacant position shall be filled by an election in the next GBM/CSH. This election shall be held by a majority vote for that position only and the selected candidate shall complete the remaining term of the previous office-bearer.

4.7 AID-Chapter By-Laws.

If necessary, AID-Chapters can make By-Laws appropriate for the running of their Chapter, within the framework of these AID By-Laws. The AID-Chapter By-Laws will have to obey every condition of the AID By-Laws and need to be approved by the Board of Directors of AID before they can come into effect. Any amendments to the AID-Chapter By-Laws need to be similarly approved. In the event of amendment of these AID By-Laws, all AID-Chapters’ By-Laws have to be reapproved by the Board of Directors. In the event of a conflict between the By-Law of an AID-Chapter and the AID By-Laws, the AID By-Laws will apply. AID-Chapters may get help from the Executive Board to make the By-Laws.

 

5. Amendment

5.1 Amendments to these By-Laws can be proposed by any AID-volunteer. Notices must be sent to all voting AID-Volunteers informing them of the date, time and locations of the various general body meetings or AID Special Meeting which they must attend to vote (No AID-volunteer can vote in more than one AID-Chapters’ GBM) , at least 45 days in advance, and a copy of the exact wording of the proposed amendment(s) should be sent to all volunteers at least 30 days in advance.

5.2 Amendments to these By-Laws and any other documents such as “Articles of Association” shall require either: (a) Approval of the amendment by absolute majority vote (see Section 4.5) at GBMs of at least 51% of the AID-Chapters. All GBMs for this purpose should be held within 3 months of each other. Or (b) a 2/3rd majority of Directors voting in favour of the amendment followed by ratification by absolute majority of the amendment at an AID Special Meeting called by the Directors, where all AID-Volunteers are invited and at least 25 Voting-Volunteers are present. Directors moving the amendment should inform all other Directors of the date and time of the Directors’ meeting and the exact wording of the amendment well in advance.

5.3 Amendment to the AID-Chapter By-Laws will require a 2/3rd majority at the GBM of that chapter and the approval of the Board of Directors at a Directors Meeting after the GBM. Notice to amend and the location and time of the GBM should be sent at least thirty days in advance and the exact wording of the amendment at least two weeks in advance to all voting volunteers of the respective chapter and the Board of Directors.

 

6. Impeachment

A Director can be impeached provided a 30-day notice is given to all AID-Volunteers informing about the agenda, time and location of GBMs held to impeach him/her and there is an absolute majority in favor of the impeachment at GBMs of at least 51% of the AID-Chapters.

Any officer of the Executive Committee of an AID-Chapter can be impeached provided a 30-day notice is given to all AID-Volunteers of that AID-Chapter informing about the agenda, time and location of the GBM held to impeach him/her and the impeachement is passed by a 2/3rd majority of the voting-volunteers present in the GBM.

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