Many years ago, I learned an interesting way to look at recruiting new board members. Although an organization’s bylaws may require consumers, specific types of professionals (e.g., doctors, service providers), or professionals who have certain credentials (e.g., a licensed social worker, certified occupational therapist) to be on its board, examining the three W’s may also be a concept worth incorporating into your recruitment efforts.

The three W’s to remember when recruiting potential board members are to seek the wise, the workers, and the wealthy. Although this mixture may vary over time, each group should comprise approximately 1/3 of your board of directors. Of course, this balance will depend on the current needs of your organization.

The Wise – These are the individuals who have specific types of expertise. They could be doctors, accountants, marketers, fundraisers, attorneys, or individuals whose wisdom comes from many years of experience in a specific area. These individuals are valuable, as they often provide great insight and advice that could help the organization to save thousands of dollars. As these individuals are most likely extremely busy, use caution when contacting them, as you don’t want to take advantage of their knowledge and expertise. How many of these individuals are on your board? Do you a sufficient number to help you achieve your mission?

The Workers – These are the individuals who have more time to spend working on projects, fundraising events, or other activities the organization’s staff doesn’t have time to do, or that might be better suited for board members. These people often have high energy levels, and are generally in a better position to assist the organization in addressing its goals and objectives. Ask these individuals which projects they are most interested in, so you fully utilize their knowledge, expertise, skills, and talents. How many workers do you have on your board? Do you need more to aid you in completing specific activities and projects?

The Wealthy – These are the individuals who have a lot of money or have access to money. They could be independently wealthy (e.g., Bill Gates), they may have developed and/or manage a foundation, or they may have an excellent track record for soliciting funds, whether through grants or some other means. These individuals may also know people (e.g., family members, friends, colleagues, co-workers) who are wealthy, and who may be looking for a great cause to fund. These individuals are extremely valuable, as they can assist the organization in securing and/or maintaining financially stability. Do you need more of these individuals on your board, or are you satisfied with your current composition?

So, in addition to reviewing and adhering to the requirements stated in your bylaws, also consider seeking individuals who fit into one or more of the three categories mentioned above. Remembering the three W’s is simply another tool you can use in recruiting those individuals who can best help you to achieve your organization’s mission and vision.

Copyright 2009 © Sharon L. Mikrut, All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Sharon L. Mikrut, MSW, CTACC, of, is an Executive & Life Coach, speaker, writer, and CEO of Create It! Coaching. She believes that everyone has the ability to create the life they desire and deserve! Visit her website for additional information and to sign up for her free monthly messages, tidbits, and resource information, designed to help you create the life you desire. Also, visit her Nonprofit Professionals blog at

Although Sharon's niche is to partner with nonprofit executive directors and managers to maximize their resources in a competitive environment, she enjoys working with all individuals interested in creating positive changes in their lives. Sharon has two BA degrees (Social Work and Psychology) and a Master's degree in Social Work Administration. In addition, she is a Coach Training Alliance Certified Coach.

Sharon has held a variety of jobs throughout her career, ranging from being a vocational counselor to President of a national certification body. She was a former Executive Director of two nonprofit organizations and understands the multiple challenges that nonprofit EDs face in managing their organizations. She has always enjoyed the challenge of developing grants, programs and agencies.

Although Sharon was born in Detroit, Michigan, and lived in Colorado for almost 14 years, she currently resides in Tucson, Arizona.