Frequently Asked Questions
What is the membership fee and what does it cover?
The membership fee is $35 per year. This covers everything (see Member Benefits) except for the face-to-face workshops, the annual conference and merchandise. These three things obviously have additional costs involved due to venue hire and product.
Why is the membership fee so little?
Birth work is a passion-driven vocation. We recognise that many doulas are working part-time or casually. Some may only be attending a few births a year and some may be struggling to find clients at all! This is why we have priced the membership fee as low as possible to cater to everyone. Charging more could exclude some doulas (and probably the doulas who really need the support!) and we really wanted membership to be accessible to ALL doulas. By keeping the fee low, we enable every doula in Australia to participate no matter what their situation.
What is the membership fee for?
There are a number of costs involved in running a national Association. Currently our costs are relatively low and include things such as our website, bank account and compliance with ASIC requirements. As we grow costs may include accountant fees, website development, occasional venue hire (for local group meet-ups) and additional member benefits (e.g. securing a group discount or products for members).
All monies received by the Association can only be used for the Association. In other words, the fees can not be used to profit any individual member. This is not a business venture by any means at all. Funds collected, which are in excess to our current needs, are kept in our bank account and the members decide how to spend it. For example, we may be able to secure additional benefits for members or fund a media campaign - the sky is the limit! :)
Do Committee members or State Representatives get paid?
Committee members and State Representatives generously help on a volunteer basis. An enormous amount of hours goes into the running of the Association. We have no paid employees.
How do I know that the funds are being used properly?
All money received by the Association BELONGS to the members collectively. Decisions about how to use our funds must be made democratically within the Association. Members must be up-to-date with their membership fee in order to vote on such issues. The financial records are open to any member to inspect. There is also a safeguard, in that, any withdrawal of money from the bank account requires the authorization of two "public officers" (usually the treasurer and another appointed committee member).
If I join, does that mean I am working for the Association?
No. The Association is not a doula agency or business of any kind. It is more like a "club" or "union". Members are shareholders in the Association.
How is the Association different from training organisations?
The Association is not a training organisation. It does not compete with or replace training organisations. The Association is not affiliated with any specific training organisation - it is impartial. The Association promotes the value of receiving training to become a doula and lists all known training options on the Links page. If you see an option missing please let us know so we can update the page!
Any "training" that the Association provides, is in a "professional development" and/or "peer support" context. The Association does not provide certifying courses and does not "certify" doulas.
Does the Association have a Code of Conduct?
We expect members to treat each other with respect but beyond this, we don't feel it is necessary to have a specific Code of Conduct at this time. We are especially mindful that the purpose of a Code of Conduct is usually to stipulate how a doula should practice. We specifically do not wish to tell doulas how to practice. There is nothing inherently wrong with having a Code of Conduct. We just don't feel that the Association should get involved in 'policing' doulas and how they practice. There are many different perspectives on how to do this. We are inclusive of all doulas and practicing philosophies.
Is the Association a regulating body?
Our goal is to unify and support doulas, not control them. We do not have a "Code of Conduct" for this very reason. Doulas are free to practice according to their conscience. For doulas who wish to abide by a "Code of Conduct", there are some training organisations who provide this. You can be a member of a training organisation and a member of our Association - all are welcome! :)
Do I have to have attended training to become a member?
We encourage attending a training course to become a doula although it is not compulsory. You can be "self-trained". All are welcome, as long as you identify as a 'doula' (as opposed to identifying as an occasional "support person" for friends or family). If you have not attended a training course, you must be actively attending births as a doula. If you have not started "doula-ing" yet, you need to be enrolled in a course to become a member. You do not need to have completed the course, just enrolled.
I am already a member of another group of doulas. Does that mean I cannot be involved in Doula Network Australia?
There are many doula "groups" around Australia, particularly through the various organisations and individuals who provide doula courses. Training organisations and other support groups provide a wonderful resource for local support and learning. Our Association complements these efforts and provides a banner under which all doulas can unite. This does not mean dismantling the current groups! You can be a member of any other group and also a member of our Association. :)
What is the role of the Committee?
The Committee oversees the running of the Association. Members of the Committee are voted in at each Annual General Meeting. Any member of the Association can put their name forward to serve as a Committee member. Members vote for who they would like to be on the Committee. To view our current Committee, click here.
Do I have a say in how the Association is run?
Yes! The Association is actually "owned" by the members collectively. Therefore the Association must be run in a democratic way, ensuring all members have a say in:
- how it is run
- financial decisions
- ideas for improvement
- who is on the Committee
Members can only vote on issues if they are up-to-date with their annual membership fee.
Is there a hierarchy in the Association?
No! There is no hierarchy, seniority or "ladder" to climb. All members are respected as equals in the Association regardless of their "position" or how long they have been a doula. The Association must be run democratically and therefore all members have an equal opportunity to share their ideas and vote on issues. No one is "the boss" or " in charge". State Representatives and Committee Members are not "above" members. They are ordinary members who simply help with the administrative tasks of the Association. Any member can put themselves forward to serve on the Committee or be a State Representative. Any member is welcome to become involved in organising local meet ups or other initiatives.
I have another question not listed here!