The issues most nonprofits are attempting to resolve are not static. They are changing and shifting over time. As we attempt to experiment and adapt, how do we hold fast to our mission? Funders, data, and the public can all have a stake in our nonprofit’s story, but can they change the narrative? In this episode, Katie interviews Megha Desai of The Desai Foundation about mission drift’s real and raw dangers and undue influence from outside forces.
Do you feel like your donors will allow you to take risks or experiment with your cause? If not, it may be time to examine your donor’s trust. When you work with donors who don’t trust you, they will try to change your mission. However, when you invite your supporters to not only subscribe to learning about your actions but also your leadership style and philosophy, their trust in your decision-making will grow. Megha encourages listeners to know why their cause exists and remember their vision – don’t ever let outside influences tell you what your cause should be.
Megha is President of the Desai Foundation, a public non-profit organization that aims to elevate the health and livelihood of women and children through community programs in the U.S. and India. She is also the Founder of MSD (Marketing, Strategy. Dharma.), a branding and strategic partnership advisory serving social good brands.
Before her work in impact and community development, Megha spent 10+ years in traditional advertising at some of the most prestigious firms in the world. Her work has been awarded five Cannes Lions and several other distinguished awards, and she’s been a pioneer in the branded entertainment space. When she began MSD in 2010, she focused on brands that wanted to integrate social responsibility into their businesses. These brands included HP, NPR, ONE.ORG, 1 Hotel, award-winning musicians, and more.
Around the same time, Megha became more involved in the Desai Foundation – then a small family foundation. She helped to transform the organization’s mission, work, and message leading to its pivot into a robust public, non-profit organization. Her leadership has helped put the Desai Foundation on the map through heralded events, like Diwali on the Hudson and Lotus Festival, along with highly impactful programming leveraging strong partners on the ground in the US and India. The Desai Foundation focuses on sustainable development with programs spanning from vocational classes, health camps, community volunteer outreach, and sanitary napkin programs. The organization, to date, has impacted over 1 million lives in rural India, Metro-Boston, and Harlem, New York.
Megha currently sits on the advisory boards of several start-ups and non-profits, including NPR’s Generation Listen, TakeTwo Film Academy and TiE NY. She is something of a curator of people, content and experiences. Megha holds a B.A. in Economics from Barnard College of Columbia University.