Preparing to Be a Lone Ranger
Reach out to the heritage leaders in your area. Arrange a once-a-month gathering for drinks or coffee and an exchange of information. Learn from each other.
Expand your posse of peeps to include a Mr. or Ms. Fix-it. Maybe it's your father or your grandfather, maybe your best friend, but find someone who's owned a home or two, who'll take your call after you successfully turned off the spewing plumbing but before you meet with the plumbers.
Know what you don't know. You wouldn't conserve a painting by yourself, you'd raise the money and send it to a conservator so don't trust the care of the building to just anyone.
Understand that there are likely people in your community who are more interested in your building and how it works than in anything inside or in the generations of folks who lived there.
Don't make decisions alone. Does your organization have a building committee? There are a lot of complaints about boards that don't manage and boards that micro-manage, but when heritage buildings need help, that generally spells money. Not only should you not make those decisions by yourself, hopefully the strategy for making decisions already exists. When the roof is failing and snow is forecast is not the moment to test how your historic house functions in crisis.
Know yourself: Do you work well independently? Will you seek community when you need it? Working as a loan ranger isn't for the faint of heart. Be well. Do good work, and send us your tips for life as a solo heritage organization leader. Joan Baldwin