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How to Work as a Doula - Doula Collectives {4 in a 5 part series}

How to Work as a Doula - Doula Collectives {4 in a 5 part series}

Collectives that I describe in this section are independent doulas that work together under a shared group name, but handle all money and contracts on an individual basis.  Some groups use the word ‘collective’ in their names, but actually function more like an agency in that they handle matching of doulas to clients and handle contracts and payments.   For this blog, I looked at 12 areas of business and gave my thoughts on how the agency doula relates to each. {For purposes of this blog series I will be using the pronoun “she” as this fits the vast majority of doulas.  Males can be doulas too. Which is wonderful!}

  • Income – Most doulas in a collective do not share any portion of the fee for their services. They might however owe a due that is paid monthly or yearly to be part of the collective. 
  • Marketing Efforts – Marketing efforts are usually a combined effort between the group and the individual doula. Often doulas in a collective can share marketing efforts by listing their services on a central website and holding group meet the doula events.  The ability to share marketing efforts is often one of the top benefits that draw doulas into a collective.
  • Doula CollectiveBrand – The responsibility of managing , protecting and promoting the brand is usually the responsibility of all of the members of the collective.
  • Reputation – If the doula member represents herself as a member of the collective then she can impact the reputation of the brand. If she represents herself as an individual doula then she will impact her own personal company.
  • Backup Doula – One of the top benefits for joining a collective is to establish a solid backup network within the collective.
  • Input on How the Business is Managed - Each doula in the collective will manage their own business.  The management of the collective itself is usually done collectively by all of the group members.  In some cases, the collective will elect officers who will serve the role of collective manager(s) for their term of office. 
  • Doula Contracts – In most cases, contracts are handled by the individual doula in a collective.
  • Client Acquisition – The responsibility of finding clients is shared between the collective and the independent doula.
  • Client Fit – Some collectives have a matching process where a manager or volunteer processes inquiries and matches them with collective members. Other collectives are very open with the information that they provide about each doula in the collective and allow the client to contact the doula(s) that they are interested in.
  • Schedule Flexibility – Doulas that join collectives generally have complete control over their own schedule. She can book her calendar as full as she desires (or is able to). 
  • Job Security – A doula in a collective is her own boss. This means that she creates job security for herself.
  • Testimonials - All testimonials are owned by the independent doula. If she receives a positive testimonial it will always be a benefit to her business and won’t have to be used to grow a group.   She can grow her testimonials for her own business on her website and other sites like Yelp and

    Things to consider when joining a collective

    • Collective often have requirements for membership that include participation in both volunteer and marketing activities. It is important to know the requirements of the collective and to be able to fulfill the requirements.
    • Having a network of doulas to pull for backup is usually considered one of the top benefits for joining a collective; however I would make sure that you are comfortable with the backup that you are using before using any member of the collective. If the backup doesn’t not perform well it could be a reflection on your individual business and not the collective.
    • A collective can be a great fit if you want to run your own business, but would like the support system of a group.

     Read more about other ways to work as a doula.



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    • Alice Turner
    Comments 1
    • Susan Young
      Susan Young

      After I watched the collective doula video, I watched the periscope about new doulas picking a mode of work. I am wondering as a newer doula (25 births), what kind of birth stats should I be keeping as I go along. What types of information will I want to look back to and how should I compile this info. I work in Houston which has a million different hospitals, so I know I want to be able to answer the question “how many times have you supported other families at this hospital?” I think this would be a great topic for a blog post or chat or periscope. Thanks for exploring all these different ways of engaging other doulas!

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