NASW Bylaws Amendment Process

The NASW Bylaws are the written rules and regulations of the Association that provide a framework for the Association’s governance and operation.


Bylaws amendments are changes in the governing document that guide and direct the actions of the Association in such areas as organizational purpose, structure, authority and responsibility, membership categories and privileges and Chapter structure and responsibilities.

NASW Bylaws Article XV grants authority to the NASW Board of Directors to amend the Bylaws at anytime with two exceptions. Matters related to Delegate Assembly and the NASW National/Chapter dues allocation must be submitted to the Delegate Assembly for consideration. All other Bylaws amendments are within the authority of the NASW Board of Directors. Except for matters requiring emergency action, the Board will schedule Bylaws amendments for consideration once during the fiscal year at a regularly scheduled meeting. The Board, similar to the Delegate Assembly, must exercise responsible financial judgment in its deliberation and voting on proposed Bylaws amendments.

Bylaws Amendment Process

The process by which amendments will be considered is described below.

  • Proposals for Bylaws amendments must be submitted to the NASW Board of Directors by September 1. Proposals may be submitted by individual members in good standing, including NASW National or Chapter Executive Directors; Chapter Boards or National Board members; NASW Board Committees and Task Forces.
  • Each proposed amendment will be reviewed by the Bylaws Committee, which will make recommendations to the Board. Any proposed amendment determined to be insufficient or inappropriate by the Board will be returned to the proponent by the Bylaws Committee either with an explanation or request for further information. Proponents who are requested to provide additional information or modifications will have 30 days in which to resubmit the proposed amendment. Other proposals will receive a brief explanation regarding the Board action taken.
  • The Bylaws Committee will submit their recommendations at the winter meeting (usually in January or February) for proposed Bylaws amendments to be placed on the spring Board agenda. The Board, by majority vote, will decide whether to place a proposed amendment for a final vote on the spring Board meeting agenda. Proposed amendments that are accepted for consideration will be posted for a ninety-day period in appropriate NASW communication vehicles. A letter communicating the Board’s rationale for each amendment not accepted for the spring agenda will be sent to the proponent(s).
  • The Board has the right during its review and discussion to make changes/revisions that are germane to each proposed amendment. Secondary amendments to a proposed Bylaws amendment must be germane, i.e., closely related to the primary amendment.
  • At least 90 days prior to the spring Board meeting, the proposed amendments shall be distributed to the Chapters and posted in appropriate communication vehicles.
  • At the spring Board meeting immediately following the ninety-day period, the Board will give final consideration to the published amendments. In order for each proposed Bylaws amendment to be approved, it must receive at least a 2/3 vote of the Board members present and voting at the meeting. The final vote on a Bylaws amendment shall be counted and, unless unanimous, recorded in the minutes. All votes shall be reported to the amendment(s)’s proponents, chapters, and Association members.
  • Bylaws amendments adopted by the Board will be implemented on July 1 following the Board vote unless an alternative implementation date is incorporated in the amendment.

Format for Submitting Proposed Amendments

  • A proposed Bylaws amendment may be submitted by: individual members in good standing, including NASW National or Chapter Executive Directors; Chapter Boards or National Board members; NASW Board Committees and Task Forces.

A form outlining the required elements for submitting proposed Bylaws amendments shall be provided in appropriate NASW communication vehicles and made available from the National Office upon request.

  Online Proposed Bylaws Amendment Form

Proponents of proposed Bylaws amendments must submit a completed form for each proposed amendment no later than September 1.

Emergency Bylaws Changes

Emergency Bylaws changes shall be initiated solely by the National Board and shall be published at least 30 calendar days prior to a vote by the Board. For a proposed emergency Bylaws amendment to be placed on the agenda of the next Board meeting, a vote of at least 2/3 of the Board members present for a meeting shall be required. The final adoption of an emergency Bylaws amendment requires a 2/3 vote of Board members present and voting.

Bylaws Amendment Process Timeline

  • September 1: Proposed Bylaws amendments forms are due
  • Mid-September: Bylaws Committee holds first meeting; prepares initial report to Board
  • Fall (September/October): National Board meeting; receives and reviews Bylaws Committee report; Board could vote to stop further consideration of a proposed amendment (with explanation to proponents)
  • Mid-October/November: Bylaws Committee meets; sends Board comments and/or questions to proponents of proposed amendments; revisions to proposals are re-submitted to Committee (if requested);
  • December/January: Bylaws Committee develops recommendations for the Board winter meeting
  • January/February: Board considers the recommendations of the Bylaws Committee; votes to accept or reject proposals for further consideration
  • February-May: Per the Bylaws, accepted proposed amendments are posted for the 90-day period preceding the next scheduled Board meeting
  • March-April: Board considers the impact statements and takes final vote on proposed amendments.
  • July 1: Approved Bylaws amendments go into effect, unless an alternative implementation date is incorporated in the amendment


Reminder: Annual NASW Bylaws Amendment Deadline

Proposed bylaws amendments for consideration by the NASW Board of Directors must be submitted by September 1, 2018

For information about the amendment process or to submit a proposed amendment for consideration, review the Bylaws Amendment Process. 

Proposed amendments related to Delegate Assembly (DA) and the National/Chapter dues allocation must follow the DA process and timeline. All other bylaws amendments may be considered by the NASW Board.

  Online Proposed Bylaws Amendment Form