Remembering the Three W’s of Recruiting Board Members


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 possible board members are to seek the wise, the workers, and the wealthy. Although this combination 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 skill. 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 skill. How many of these individuals are on your board? Do you a sufficient number to help you unprotected to your mission?

The Workers – These are the individuals who have more time to use 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, skill, 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 by grants or some other method. 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 unprotected to your organization’s mission and vision.

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

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