By: Hillary Melchiors PhD, MPH, CD(DONA) LCC

The structure and function of DONA International should be important to you as a doula.  If you’ve spent any time looking around at different doula organizations, this post is specifically for you.  There are many different ways these doula organizations work, and understanding the DONA difference honestly made me proud to be a part of this. You don’t have to be all the way on the inside of DONA to get it though.

Here are my three reasons why the structure and function of DONA International is important to me:

  1. DONA International is classified as a 501(c)(6) by the IRS. In other words, DONA is a Business League whose entire purpose is to promote the common business interest of doulas. This Not-for-Profit designation means there are no individuals, shareholders, or owners at the top of a DONA pyramid gaining financially from what the organization does. This is one of the reasons I originally chose to train with DONA International! This also means that our entire organization, including board members, is comprised of volunteers. Yes, we have staff members that the organization pays to keep things running smoothly in the office, but by law the board may not be paid at all, and the board is who makes all the decisions about how this organization moves. Have you read the mission statement of DONA International? In case you haven’t: “The mission of DONA International is to promote high-quality birth, postpartum, and community-centered doula support by setting the standard for the doula profession through evidence-based training and certification for doulas of diverse backgrounds.” Every single thing that this organization does has to be focused on our mission and our members, all because of the type of organization that we are legal. That mission is our goal!
  2. DONA is us. There is no CEO sitting at a desk deciding what happens at DONA International. There are dedicated doulas who volunteer their time to help this organization move forward by sitting in meetings, talking to fellow doulas, making decisions, and doing the hard behind-the-scenes work that goes into keeping an organization with thousands of members moving forward every day. There is no guru whose face is on everything either, and that is intentional. We are servant leaders, in the doula spirit, helping during our time of leadership, and hoping to make a positive impact.
  3. DONA is far from perfect, but I can tell you that after sitting in a room with the brilliant leaders of this organization who are working to make it better, this organization is focused on the future of doulas around the world. The ambitious targets that have been set as we blaze new trails are going to take work to achieve. To reach those goals, we are going to need the talents and energy of our members. We know we cannot do it alone.

Do you have 5 hours a week to volunteer to improve DONA & help us move the needle? Check out these Volunteer Opportunities that we have for you right now.  Whether you are interested in sitting on the nominations committee to help find and vet the next leaders or if you think you’d like to gather and rally the doulas in your local area as an Ambassador we would LOVE to have your energy!! These are great
opportunities to network with other doulas to help make change happen too.

Are you interested in contracting to make some money while helping DONA International? We have two really important and currently Open Positions for you! These are honestly really great ways to not only flex your current skill set but to develop new skills that will be helpful to you in your business too.

If you are ready to make a difference for doulas and to help us move forward as an organization, I’m calling you IN to come get your hands in the building up of our profession. This not-for-profit organization needs leaders who want to help us move forward. I don’t know why you chose to train with DONA, but I’m so glad you are here and ready to help make a difference with your passion, knowledge, and skills. Join us!