A guest post by Megan Willis, Market Development and Sustainability Manager, Indigo Ag

Megan Willis will be teaching the Skill-building class on Fundraising at the TFF Academy.

Megan is a social impact and sustainability professional with a passion for improving the global food and agriculture system. She spent over a decade in international development, starting out as a US Peace Corps Volunteer, then moving on to work at Chemonics International and USAID. During this journey, she honed her business development skills, designed programs, built partnerships, monitored results, and reported on the impact of ag value chain investments in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Megan returned recently to the US to earn her MBA and now lends her talents to the market development and sustainability efforts at Indigo Ag, one of the food and ag sector’s fastest-growing startups. Megan is passionate about purpose in any business and helps social enterprises to communicate their impact vision to funders focused on the double and triple bottom line.

Business today is all about purpose, and it is no longer just nonprofits focused on impact. Young consumers are more informed and engaged than ever and demand the most from their goods and services. As a result of this, there’s been an incredible shift as funders open their thinking to understand that profit and purpose go hand-in-hand to drive more sustainable impact.

While the traditional world of capital has taken notice of this trend, philanthropies shouldn’t be overlooked in your fundraising strategies. In the past several years, international aid agencies, foundations, and universities have expanded their grant opportunities to include social enterprises and for-profits. They are changing their models and looking be a part of the incredible purpose revolution led by business.

However, securing their funds isn’t easy and the process requires a tailored approach, very different from your typical pitches.

Megan is perfectly-placed to guide you through this, as she’s sat on both sides of this table. She developed grant-writing expertise early in her career and today applies it to help food and ag start ups. As a former Agriculture Officer with USAID, she’s been the recipient and avid reader of countless funding proposals and has developed an arsenal of “dos and don’ts” for fund seekers.  

In this skill-building masterclass, you’ll learn where to find philanthropic funding, how to optimize your searches and how to decode postings full of aid-industry jargon. You’ll also chat about strategy in choosing opportunities, so you can be more successful in less time. Then you’ll work on crafting your story, getting to the purposeful “so what?” of your business. Finally, you’ll talk about how to spot any requirements that might be associated with the funding, because it turns out that some free money isn’t free at all.

Curious to learn the dos and don’ts of purpose-driven fundraising? Join this Skill-Building Masterclass with Megan Willis at the TFF Academy this July.