Would you recommend any formal trainings or seminars which will ensure the success of a community builder?
Hi Gena, I myself really started out as a lay person, so I don't know a lot about the great courses and trainings out there. I definitely would recommend finding online courses or workshops to shore up any skills you might need in different situations (back end databases, volunteer management etc). If I had to give 3 tops tips, based on something one of my mentors told me it might look something like this (although ask me another day and it could be different!):
1. Don't burn out: Make sure you are setting appropriate boundaries for your self and family. A community can give a lot, but it can also require a lot of giving on your part. Decide from the outset what your lines in the sand are as far as your hours, family time and health.
2. Don't expect thanks: We do a lot of things for our community because we believe and care about it, but sometimes much of what we do is hidden from view, or just taken for granted (not always on purpose, but because it meets such a desperate need). Find your own reasons to be happy about what you've done, and ways to affirm yourself. Set goals and cheer when you achieve them, have little parties with your inner circle staff who get what milestones have been achieved. You will relieve a lot of resentment if you start out not expecting people to thank you all the time for what you are doing.
3. Expect Criticism: Everyone has an idea of how to do it better. Everyone has an opinion of what worked and what didn't. They will tell you these things. A lot. Prepare yourself, especially if you have a few others in your community who care about it as much as you do, but come at that caring from a different perspective or way of expressing that. Be open, but don't take it personally. Take what you can learn from the critique and then chuck the rest (including any negative attitudes that come with it). Remember the bigger picture in the face of criticism and allow people to give their two cents, because the more engagement the better, but always temper that with the fact that you can always say "great idea, you should do that!".
Seminars and trainings are really more of a personal choice based on the needs of your community and your needs as a leader to fill the gaps.
Keep going!!! ellie.