What is a constitution?
The constitution is a document establishing the club and setting out the purposes for which it has come together and all of the rules under which it proposes to operate. It must reflect the way in which the club works.
A constitution is generally made up of two parts;
(i) the rules which include the basic principles of the group and can be changed only by a General Meeting, and
(ii) the regulations or by-laws which generally can be changed by the Committee.
The rules in your constitution should relate specifically to the administration of the club. Other aspects of your club’s operation are more easily handled outside the formality of these rules. Non-administrative rules generally appear in regulations and by-laws. For example, a club would not include the membership charges or club colours in the rules, as they do not relate to the conduct of the activities of the club.
What to include in a constitution?
The constitution should define the rights and duties of individual members and those of the members of the committee, who are elected to run the club on a day-to-day basis. The constitution should specify:
  • Name of club
  • Powers of the club
  • Qualification for membership; that is, who is entitled to be a member; how an application is made and who decides on applications for membership (usually the committee)
  • Classes of members and their rights; such as honorary life members who have all the entitlements of ordinary members but who may not be eligible to vote
  • Termination of membership; that is how a membership can be cancelled other than by resignation (e.g. overdue membership subscriptions) and the reasons a person can be expelled or suspended from a club.
  • Management Committee/Office Bearer positions
  • Powers of the committee; which enable committee members to manage the day-to-day running of the club
  • The number of members on the committee, the regularity of meetings and number of committee members required for a quorum
  • Timing, manner and voting procedures for major meetings and the minimum number to make meeting valid (quorum)
  • Financial procedures
  • Procedure for amending (changing) the constitution
  • The manner of winding-up the club and the distribution of assets
Changes to the constitution are usually required to be debated and voted upon at an annual general meeting or a special general meeting.
The constitution should always be kept up-to-date by the Secretary, so that there can be no confusion as to the rules at a certain time. It is good practice to send copies of all amendments to those who hold copies of the constitution.
Constitution templates
No two clubs are the same in their aims or objectives. There are examples of generic constitutions which can be modified to suit most clubs. In any constitution there are certain matters which are common and which should always be included for the protection of members.
Below are some example constitution templates.
Reproduced with permission from the Australian Sports Commission and Department of Sport and Recreation Western Australia


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