161: Measuring Success: How Nonprofit Leaders Can Look Beyond the Numbers (Megha Desai)
How do you measure nonprofit success? Unlike the for-profit sector, where metrics are clear, the charitable sector isn’t always as straightforward. In episode #161 of Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership, Megha Desai takes a hard look at how, as nonprofit leaders, we measure success and how we communicate that success to our donors and key constituents. Megha explains how she makes decisions based on the people she serves then uses the data to validate rather than the other way around, something large institutional donors have been shifting towards. Having converted her family foundation to a public 501(c)(3) programmatic nonprofit, she shares some unique opportunities and significant challenges the organization faced. Do you allow mission creep to acquire funding? Learn how to resist designated giving and remain mission focused.
Megha is President of the Desai Foundation, a public foundation that aims to elevate the health and livelihood of women and children through community programs in the U.S. and India. She helped transform the organization’s mission, work, and message leading to its transformation from a small family foundation to a robust public foundation. Her leadership has helped put the Desai Foundation on the map through heralded events, like Diwali on the Hudson and the 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 through vocational classes, health camps, community volunteer outreach, and sanitary napkin programs. The organization, to date, has impacted over a million lives in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh, India; Metro-Boston; and Harlem, New York. Megha currently sits on the advisory boards of several start-ups and non-profits, including Take Two Academy, TYE Boston – TiE Young Entrepreneurs, and NPR’s Generation Listen. Megha was nominated for India New England’s Woman of the Year Award in 2017. Megha holds a B.A. in Economics from Barnard College of Columbia University and completed the Executive Program for Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford Business School.
EPISODE TOPICS & RESOURCES