Our Constitution

The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets
CONSTITUTION
Amended Fall 2012

ARTICLE I – NAME

The organization shall be called The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, hereinafter known as "WFOP" or "the Fellowship."

ARTICLE II – PURPOSE

The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets is intended to be an organization of men and women who are interested in poetry, who write poetry and (or) who are willing to make Wisconsin poetry-conscious and conscious of its own poets; the organization is formed exclusively for literary and scientific purposes with the meaning of the Section (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue law.

ARTICLE III – OBJECTIVES

a) to secure fuller recognition of poetry as one of the important forces making for a higher civilization and to create a finer appreciation of poetry by the public at large.

b) to help Wisconsin poets perfect their work through seminars, criticism, and study.

c) to encourage the study of poetry in the schools of the state.

ARTICLE IV – MEMBERSHIP

Membership shall be open to residents and former residents of the State of Wisconsin who are interested in the aims and endeavors of the organization. Poets lacking only the residential qualification may become members upon invitation of the president and membership chair. No person may become a member of any regional group of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets without first becoming a member of the state organization. Members shall be classified as Active, Honorary and Life.

ARTICLE V – OFFICERS

SECTION 1. The officers of the WFOP shall be a president, a vice-president, a secretary, and a treasurer.

SECTION 2. The officers shall be elected at the WFOP fall meeting and shall begin their terms of office on January 1 of the year following their election. The officers shall serve for a period of three years.

ARTICLE VI – MEETINGS

The organization shall meet at least two times a year at the call of the president.

ARTICLE VII – RESTRICTIONS

The method of accepting and discharging members, any denial of restrictions of voting rights, and any classification of members (including distinguishing features of each class) will be set forth in the By-Laws of the Corporation. No part of the net earnings of the Corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, directors, officers, or other private persons, except that the Corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered.

No substantial part of the activities of the Corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Corporation shall not participate in or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

In the event of dissolution, any remaining assets shall be distributed to organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as exempt organizations under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

ARTICLE VIII – AMENDMENTS

(Any) Proposed amendment(s) to this Constitution shall be submitted to the Board of Directors. If approved by the Board, the proposed amendment(s) shall be presented for a first reading at the next general business meeting. The proposed amendment(s) will be voted on at the subsequent general business meeting. A two-thirds (2/3rds) vote of members present is necessary for the amendment(s) to be adopted.


Bylaws of the Constitution of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets

ARTICLE I - BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board of Directors is defined as the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, membership chair, regional vice-presidents, and all past presidents of the WFOP.

SECTION 1. To be eligible for the office of president, a member must have previously served the WFOP in some other office, or be approved by the Board of Directors.

SECTION 2. The president and other officers of the Fellowship shall hold the corresponding offices in the said Board of Directors and shall arrange for all meetings of the Board and discharge all duties of officers of the said Board.

SECTION 3. The primary duty of the Board of Directors is to make and carry out long-range plans for the Fellowship, tending to increase its membership and influence, and to decide on programs to be followed, and, in general, to supervise the activities of the Fellowship.

SECTION 4. It shall appoint officers to fill vacancies that may occur during the period between meetings of the Fellowship and shall, in general, act as Executive Committee for the Fellowship in any emergency or contingency when it may be impractical to get action by a general meeting of the Fellowship.

ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP

SECTION 1. Any person who is a resident or former resident of the State of Wisconsin and who is interested in the aims and endeavors of the Fellowship shall be eligible to become a member.

SECTION 2. A person lacking only the residential qualifications may become an Active member upon invitation of the president and the membership chair.

SECTION 3. Members shall be classified as Active, Honorary, and Life.

(a) An Active member is one who has been a resident of Wisconsin, is interested in the aims and endeavors of the Fellowship, and has paid dues.

A member must be a resident of Wisconsin in order to hold office.
Student members are Active members who, as long as they are full-time students, shall pay reduced dues.
A Continued member is an Active member who cannot pay dues either permanently or temporarily, as approved by the Board of Directors.

(b) A Life member is an Active member who: attains the age of seventy (70) years; has been a member for at least ten (10) years; and has made an outstanding contribution to the welfare and activities of the Fellowship as declared by unanimous consent of the Board of Directors and a majority of the membership present at the next general business meeting. 1) Life members shall pay no dues.

(c) An Honorary member is an individual or corporation which donated a substantial amount to the Fellowship; or an individual who is well-known in literary or educational fields, and has enhanced the Fellowship as a contest judge, program presenter or through publicity.

An Honorary member is appointed for one year and shall pay no dues.
Honorary membership must be approved by the Board of Directors. Monies received from an Honorary membership shall be considered a donation to a non-profit organization. Such monies are not dues and do not confer Active membership rights.
An Honorary member may not vote or hold any office.

(d) A Patron member prior to the adoption of this article shall become an Active member, and shall pay no dues.

(e) Student, Continued, Life and Honorary members prior to the adoption of this article shall retain their membership status and be governed by Article II, Section 3 of these bylaws.

SECTION 4. Membership in the Fellowship shall terminate if a member is two (2) years delinquent in the payment of dues, is not a Continued member, and has been notified in writing.

SECTION 5. The right to vote and hold office in the Fellowship is restricted to Active and Life members not delinquent in the payment of dues.

ARTICLE III – DUTIES OF OFFICERS

SECTION 1. The president shall preside at all meetings of the Fellowship; appoint all committees not otherwise provided for; approve all orders drawn on the treasury; and will generally supervise the business of the organization.

SECTION 2. The vice-president shall preside at meetings and perform the other duties of the president in the absence or incapacitation of that officer, shall represent the president at regional meetings when requested to do so, and shall assist in planning programs for statewide meetings of the organization.

(a) The vice-president shall chair the nominations committee for the slate of officers of the Fellowship. Regional vice-presidents constitute the nominations committee.

SECTION 3. The secretary shall keep a record of all meetings of the Fellowship, and shall also perform such duties as required. The secretary shall keep a record of membership, file all written reports of committees, and attend to all correspondence.

SECTION 4. The treasurer shall hold in trust the funds in the general treasury, keep a strict account of all money received, and disburse no money except upon order approved by the president. The treasurer shall give a financial report at each general business meeting.

SECTION 5. The membership chair shall maintain accurate, up-to-date lists of the members of the Fellowship, and provide appropriate information to the Board of Directors and the chairpersons of the Fellowship’s literary contests.

SECTION 6. Regional vice-presidents shall develop, coordinate, and oversee on-going WFOP activities within their respective regions of representation. In conjunction with the Fellowship’s Conference Planning Coordinator, they shall plan statewide conferences designated for their area.

(a) A region may be represented by co-vice-presidents. However, at meetings of the Board of Directors a region is entitled to only a single vote on any issue.

ARTICLE IV – ADVISORY MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The newsletter editor, the webmaster, the (co-)chairs of the Fellowship’s literary contests, the conference planning coordinator, and the publicity coordinator shall provide advice and counsel to the Board of Directors, by attending Board meetings or otherwise communicating appropriately with the Board or its officers. However, these advisory members will have no voting powers in policy determinations of the Board.

ARTICLE V – COMMITTEES

Committees shall be appointed by the president, as needed, and approved by the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE VI – MEETINGS

SECTION 1. The Board of Directors shall meet prior to each spring and fall conference, and at other times of the year, as needed, at the call of the President.

SECTION 2. Adequate notice of each meeting shall be given to all members prior to such meeting.

SECTION 3. All meetings of the Fellowship shall be conducted in accordance with the general principles of Robert’s Rules of Order.

SECTION 4. A quorum is required at any Fellowship meeting for business to be conducted. For a general meeting, a quorum is a simple majority of those present. For a meeting of the Board of Directors, a quorum is a majority of the elected members of the Board, attending in person or by proxy.

SECTION 5. The time between the fall election of new officers and their installation in the spring shall be considered a time in which all records, correspondence, files, monies and all other appurtenances pertaining to said offices shall be transferred in a timely manner to the duly elected officers.

ARTICLE VII – DUES

SECTION 1. Annual dues shall be established by the Board of Directors. A proposed change in dues shall be presented for a first reading at a general business meeting. The proposed change will be voted on at the next subsequent general business meeting. A simple majority of members present is required for the change to be adopted.

SECTION 2. Annual dues shall be payable at the beginning of the calendar year, which will also be the beginning of the fiscal year.

SECTION 3. Students shall pay one-half (1/2) the Active dues.

ARTICLE VIII – ELECTIONS

SECTION 1. Elections shall be by written vote or by voice vote, at the discretion or the Board.

SECTION 2. Officers shall assume the responsibilities of their offices on January 1 of the year following the fall conference at which they were elected.

ARTICLE IX – AMENDMENTS

(Any) Proposed amendments to these Bylaws shall be submitted to the Board of Directors. If approved by the Board, the proposed amendment(s) shall be presented to a first reading at the next general meeting. The proposed amendment(s) will be then voted on at the subsequent general meeting. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of members present is necessary for the amendment(s) to be adopted.


Implementation of changes to the Constitution and Bylaws. Major changes to the by-laws were first submitted to the WFOP membership at its spring conference in 2011, revised by the Board of Directors in its meeting in August, 2011, resubmitted to the general membership and voted approved at the general meeting, at the fall conference, in 2011, in Stevens Point, Lester Smith, President, presiding.

Two additional changes - 1) to change the age of eligibility for lifetime membership from 75 to 70, and 2) to have officers assume their duties of office on January 1, following the date of their election – were first submitted to the general membership in April 2012 at the spring conference, in Madison; and voted approved at the fall conference in 2012 in Stevens Point, Lester Smith, President, presiding.

—Richard Swanson, Secretary January, 2013