In August, at the 2019 Annual Business Meeting, every Toastmasters club will have the opportunity to vote on proposed amendments to the Bylaws of Toastmasters International and the Club Constitution.
Modernization and Consistency of Language
The Board proposes that the following series of amendments be applied to the Bylaws of Toastmasters International and the Club Constitution for the purposes of consistency, clarity and conformity to current real-world practices.
- Minor grammatical and language changes throughout to improve readability and clarity of thought, in instances where it is found to be difficult to understand the intended meaning of a passage.
- Numbering Conventions:
- Any number between one and nine is rendered as a word, followed by a parenthetical number—e.g., “one (1) year.”
- Any number greater than or equal to ten is rendered as a number only—e.g., “10 members.”
- Percentages follow the same convention for rendering numbers as words or in numerical form; when rendered as a number only, the percent symbol is included—e.g., “five (5) percent” or “25%.”
- Replace gender-specific language with nongendered language.
- actice. Chief Executive Officer is the title that has been in use within the organization since August 2013.
- Capitalize all Toastmasters International role titles (e.g., Club President, District Director, etc.), as well as the names of administrative units (e.g., Member Clubs, Areas, Districts, etc.).
- Clarify the use of the term “member” in the governing documents and specify when it refers to an “individual member” or a voting member of the organization. The voting members of the organization are the “Member Clubs” and the “Delegates at Large.”
- Amend all references to the international officer role of “Vice President” to specifically denote “First” and “Second” Vice Presidents, with the intent to tie various responsibilities more directly to those specific offices.
- Replace the term “presiding officer” with “chair” for consistency across the documents.
- Remove references to “alternate(s)” as this is a term no longer used in current practice.
A single statement will be added into the Toastmasters International Bylaws, Article V, Section 2, that comprehensively affirms the Board’s right to perform its authorized duties at any time of its choosing, except where otherwise noted.
The Board proposes the removal of the phrase “from time to time” in most instances.
Start/End Times for Terms of Office
Terms of office begin on July 1 and end on June 30 for district and club officers serving annual terms. Club officers serving half-year terms either commence their term on July 1 and end on December 31 or commence on January 1 and end on June 30. The Board proposes amending the start time to midnight and the end time to 11:59 p.m. on the respective dates for terms of office for district and club officers.
How Members are Notified About International Dues Changes
The Board proposes amending the Bylaws of Toastmasters International and the Club Constitution to emphasize with greater clarity that changes in dues must be announced in either the Toastmaster magazine or on the Toastmasters International website before their effective date. Furthermore, the proposed amendments more clearly express that the “financial obligations” of clubs are the international dues.
Please note, this is not an increase in dues, only a clarification of how changes are announced.
Change to the Term “Board Members”
In the Bylaws of Toastmasters International, the term “director” has historically been used to refer to any voting member of the Board of Directors. As the Board includes both international officer and international director roles, this leads to some confusion. The Board proposes using the umbrella term “Board Members” to enhance clarity when referring to the international officers and directors collectively.
Introduction of the Term “Charged Member”
The governing documents use a number of different terms to describe members, including “paid member in good standing,” “active,” “inactive,” and “honorary.” The Board proposes the introduction of the term “charged member” to describe a member being accused of violating a provision of the Toastmasters International governing documents.
Definition of the Term “Active Membership”
Individual club members are referred to as active, inactive, or honorary. While inactive and honorary members are defined and described, there is no such entry for active members.
The Board proposes including a definition of “active membership” in the Club Constitution.
International Dues and Fees Versus Club Dues and Fees
The Board proposes that the Club Constitution be amended to give greater clarity and differentiation to the terms “Toastmasters dues,” “club dues,” and “club new member fees.”
The specific changes proposed are:
- Change the title of Article III to “Club Dues and New Member Fees.”
- Include an introductory paragraph that indicates where in the govern- ing documents the Toastmasters International dues and fees are defined and described.
- Insert the word “club” to be more specific about the dues and new member fees being described.
- Re-order the sections to address dues first.
Outdated Materials and Committee Designation
The Board proposes that references to outdated programs, materials, and committees that no longer align with the current practices of Toastmasters International be amended as appropriate.
Materials no longer distributed by World Headquarters, such as the “new member kit,” would no longer be referenced. The “club nominating committee” would be renamed the “Club Leadership Committee” to bring it in line with the District Leadership Committee and International Leadership Committee, which serve similar functions at other levels of the organization.
Club Management of Individual Memberships
To be admitted into the membership of a Toastmasters club, an individual must complete and submit a membership application. The club members then vote on whether to accept the individual’s application. If accepted, the application and applicable dues and fees are submitted to World Headquarters. Currently, the steps in this process are described as being handled by the club secretary. The same is true for the transfer of an individual’s membership from one club to another.
The Board proposes that the Club Constitution be amended to allow a membership application to be filed with and by any club officer.
Speech Contests and Inactive Members
When a member has been absent from a club and the Club Executive Committee has conferred inactive status on the member, the inactive member loses many of the rights and privileges of an active member. The Board proposes amending the Club Constitution to disallow the participation of inactive members in all speech contests rather than only in the International Speech Contest.
Simplification of Structural Handling of Officer Positions at the Corporate, International, and District Levels
The Board proposes several amendments to the Bylaws of Toastmasters International to address structural concerns regarding the officer positions at the corporate, international and district levels.
Each year the Secretary-Treasurer of Toastmasters International delegates the treasurer responsibilities to another employee of World Headquarters. To simplify this process, the role of Secretary- Treasurer would be divided into the Secretary and Treasurer components.
Individual members may be elected to and serve on the Board of Directors based upon the qualifications described in the Bylaws, Article IX, Section 2. In order to enhance general understanding of the qualifications and term limitations for individuals elected to the Board, the language of this section has been clarified.
All current districts maintain a divisional structure, and for many years no district has exercised its right to operate without divisions. As such, the optional nature of divisions has become antiquated and division directors have become an integral part of the district structure.