The Direct Impact Group exists for one clear purpose - to maximise our client’s social impact!
Our vision is to unleash potential, maximise impact and change the world.
We do this through working with organisations that see having a social impact as an important part of their work.
Whether you are a NGO or a business, philanthropic foundation or investor, we engage with clients in three core areas:
Getting your organisation future ready
Facilitating partnerships to scale impact
Accelerating impact through innovation and design
This approach is intentionally staged and completely focused on making our clients the most impactful organisations in the world.
In the dynamic world we all work in now, the line between a non-profit organisation and a business is becoming increasingly blurred. The expectations of staff, customers and investors or donors are that organisations will be able to demonstrate their social impact as clearly as they do their bottom line.
What now differentiates organisations is where they fit on a for-purpose to for-profit continuum. Getting your positioning right will be increasingly important to ongoing success.
The Sustainable Development Goals set the framework for the new way of working, where organisations from all across this for-purpose to for-profit continuum work together to address the world’s biggest challenges and open up new opportunities for growth.
Whatever your focus, the Direct Impact Group will deliver a tailored solution that recognises your unique needs and the impact you want to have.
Stagnation = Potential wasted
No matter how new or old, large or small, you need to ensure that your organisation operates at the most optimised level possible.
Organisational Development maximises social impact.
One + One can equal three or more
Partnerships, consortia and networks are great tools. However, working across organisational or sectoral boundaries requires alignment and coordination.
Facilitated Partnerships maximise social impact.
In times of shrinking civic space and increased competition for funding – excellent accountability is crucially important to build trust demonstrate impact.
However, our study for Accountable Now (former INGO Accountability Charter) reveals that there are severe challenges the sector is facing.
Our study on currency risks in the civil-society sector was designed to bring together an inventory of best practices in the civil-society sector for dealing with risk associated with currency volatility.
To achieve this, we surveyed a group of 103 NGOs. The results of the study show the growing importance of hedging currency risk in order to maximise the impact of donations.
We acknowledge that the work of organisations seeking social impact is a positive driving force for the development of communities where everybody can achieve their full potential in harmony with the environment. Our work with organisations that engage in the development of social impact contributes to increasing the effectiveness of the change they seek.
Our experience in civil society means we appreciate and identify with our clients purpose and mindset. We believe that one person alone cannot keep pace with the speed of innovation and change. Therefore we have a team of specialised experts who offer insight and understanding of new and frequent changes that are the daily reality of working to achieve meaningful social impact.
We are facilitators of change. Understanding that our clients know their business best and that they know what change will make the most impact within their mandate we work alongside them to unlock these ideas and turn them into positive change!
The solutions that we provide are simple because in a dynamic world where skill sets vary considerably only simple solutions will get real results. It is much harder to provide clean and simple solutions but it is worth it!
We demonstrate and build respect for others, trustworthiness, as well as personal and professional integrity. While our initiatives are pinpointed and time limited, the relationships with our clients are long term oriented.
The Direct Impact Group is the result of the collaboration of consultants with experience in the civil society and the business sector. Together, the partners stand for more than 30 years of experience in leadership and management of international NGOs. Markus Hesse and Darren Ward gathered their extensive experience in the development of INGOs, in several years of consulting work for international consulting companies, but also the leadership of international organisations. In the Direct Impact Group they combine their shared enthusiasm for social impact. They stand for the quality and the group’s unique approach for consulting, facilitation and coaching.
Markus combines more than 18 years of experience in senior and executive management of international civil society organisations with a track record as business consultant. He served as Vice President for Strategy and Finance of CBM International. Markus served as Board Member and Treasurer of Accountable Now (former INGO Accountability Charter), a cross-sectoral accountability framework working on human rights, sustainable development, environmental protection, humanitarian response, and anti-corruption. His educational background includes a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Business Coaching and Change Management. He is an author for the Euro-FH University in Hamburg for Change Management in Civil Society and a credited member of the European Association for Supervision and Coaching (EASC).
Darren has over 15 years experience in senior leadership roles, including 7 years leading an international NGO. He also has over 10 years experience in NGO governance. His consulting focuses on strategy development, strategy execution, organisational development, change management and marketing alignment. Having served in a wide range of roles in both corporate and CSO organisations he has been part of significant change initiatives and organisational re-prioritisation. He has delivered significant performance across organisations of all sizes and stages of development. In addition to his consulting experience, he offers business coaching and provides strategic leadership to the Direct Impact Group in his role as managing partner. Darren has served on various NGO Boards and as a strategic advisor to Boards and management. He is managing the Australasian operations and is a managing partner of the Direct Impact Group.
Our experienced team members have track records in the leadership of Civil Society Organisations. The Direct Impact Group is the result of the collaboration of consultants with experience in the civil society and the business sector. We are continuously developing our portfolio of consultants in the areas of Accountability Frameworks, Strategic Health Check, Change Management, and Strategic M&E. Today our portfolio includes consultants, living and operating in Asia, Australasia, East Africa, Europe and North America. Within the international Direct Impact Group, we offer our services in English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Tamil. Our consultants are used to working on projects in virtual teams using web based collaboration tools, while having a liaison lead at the clients site, ensuring close and effective communication. This approach provides you with the opportunity to gain international expertise with different professional perspectives, while keeping your costs under control.
Scanning the Horizon is a civil society platform for horizon scanning and strategic thinking, a dynamic community for peer exchange on trend analysis, strategic positioning and organisational adaptiveness. Through annual meetings, webinars and other activities, the community helps members spot and prepare for trends and potential disruption, build capacity and increase their impact. New and innovative ways of thinking are fostered, by engaging with a wide variety of experts from diverse sectors. It provides a space for strategists and trend analysts from non-profit organisations to network and benefit from peer learning and feedback. To learn more please see: https://icscentre.org/our-work/scanning-the-horizon/
The Council for International Development (CID) is the national umbrella agency of international development organisations based in Aotearoa New Zealand. CID was formed in 1985 by a small group of development NGOs and aid agencies to coordinate some activities and present a single voice on issues of common concern. Today CID represents over 50 members, from small community based organisations to large international NGOs. CID is governed by a board made up of member organisations. For more information please see: https://www.cid.org.nz
Accountable Now provides a global, fully comprehensive and cross-sectoral accountability framework for Civil Society Organisations. Annual reports and a robust independent vetting mechanism have led to significant improvements in the quality of the members' work on accountability, transparency and effectiveness: The Direct Impact Group supports the important work of Accountable Now, which has become a driving force for excellence in the civil society.
CoThink provides training and facilitation in the application of critical thinking processes like process optimisation, problem solving and decision-making. CoThink and the Direct Impact Group have jointly developed the RATIO Project Management methodology, a simple planning tool, which combines project management experience from the business and non-for-profit sector.
Good4Trust.org is a movement driven by common values and concerns for the planet and humanity. It consists of an online platform that promotes fair and ethical trade through its online market, while aiming to create online communities where trust, transparency, justice and peace are the currencies. Signing up as a Good4Trust producer or prosumer will give you access to a great variety of ethical products and services as well as a good deeds platform, which is an online hub of thousands of prosumers and producers where you can learn and share experiences and ideas, and become part of the prosumer economy.
FrankAdvice is a values-driven consultancy that provides strategic direction to help organisations make better decisions. Effective decision-making is all about turning facts into compelling narratives. We help our clients use the information and data they hold, together with New Zealand and international evidence, to understand and increase their impact and create the outcomes they value for the people they serve. The real value of our work is realised when decisions change and people live better lives as a result of the insight generated.