Interested in starting your own journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Danielle Bonanno, Co-Founder of Inclusive Recovery Athens, located in Athens, GA, USA.
What's your organization, and who are your members?
As the Executive Director of Inclusive Recovery, my nonprofit's mission is to create safe spaces for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals to lead happier, healthier lives by providing affirmational recovery support services. We serve queer individuals who are looking to recover from trauma and addiction. Our organization is dedicated to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community who are seeking support and resources for their recovery journey.
Tell us about yourself
I began my own recovery journey in 2017 when I began my own recovery from trauma and addiction. I had been working as a sex worker for many years and was trapped in survival mode. When I finally entered recovery, I was forced to recover in cisgender spaces, which was a traumatic experience for me. As I grew and progressed in my own recovery journey, I started working in the addiction recovery field and became an advocate in both the LGBTQIA2S+ and recovery communities. Through my own experiences, I recognized a need for more inclusive spaces for queer individuals to recover and heal. I felt a strong desire to bridge the gap between the queer community and the recovery community, and that's where the idea of Inclusive Recovery came from. Today, I am passionate about what I do because I know firsthand the impact that trauma and addiction can have on someone's life. I am dedicated to creating a safe and affirming space for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals to recover and lead happier, healthier lives.
What's your biggest accomplishment as an organization?
I imagine that one of my biggest accomplishments would be the positive impact I have had on the lives of the individuals I serve. By providing affirmational recovery support services and creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for queer individuals seeking support and resources for their recovery journey, I believe that I am making a significant difference in the lives of those who have faced challenges related to trauma and addiction. It brings me great joy to see individuals who have gone through our programs and services move towards happier, healthier lives and know that Inclusive Recovery played a role in that transformation.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being an organization?
One thing that can be challenging about being a nonprofit business owner is the constant need to secure funding and donations to support the organization's operations and programs. Unlike for-profit businesses, nonprofits rely heavily on grants, donations, and fundraising efforts to sustain their operations, which can require significant time and resources. This can be especially difficult for small or new nonprofits that do not have a well-established network of donors or supporters. Additionally, navigating complex regulations and compliance requirements for nonprofits can also be challenging and requires specialized knowledge and expertise.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow an organization today?
- Clearly define your mission and goals: When starting a nonprofit, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your organization's purpose and what you hope to achieve. Clearly define your mission and goals and make sure they align with the needs of the community you aim to serve. This will help guide your organization's decision-making and keep everyone focused on the same objectives.
- Build a strong network of supporters: Building a strong network of supporters, including volunteers, donors, and community partners, is crucial to the success of any nonprofit. Reach out to individuals and organizations that share your mission and build relationships with them. Attend community events, host fundraisers, and leverage social media to connect with potential supporters.
- Be strategic with your resources: As a nonprofit, your resources are limited, so it's important to be strategic with how you allocate them. Develop a budget and prioritize the areas where you can make the most impact. Consider seeking out pro-bono support from professionals who can help with things like marketing, legal, and accounting services. Finally, be sure to measure and track your progress so you can continuously refine your approach and ensure your resources are being used effectively.
Where can people find you and your group?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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