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Genius is in the idea
Impact, however, comes from action.

About us

We facilitate change in civil society to succeed in a disruptive environment.

The direct impact group is an international consulting firm founded in 2014 that specialises in working with organisations that engage in the development of the civil society sector.

Our interventions are designed to get to the heart of the issue ad deliver clean, simple solutions.  Simple solutions, because in a dynamic world where skill sets vary considerably only simplicity will get real and sustainable results.

We are committed to results that make a direct impact.  

In a situation where a false start or a long learning curve in the execution of your strategy can determine success or failure, we ensure quick and sustainable results. 

Our experienced team members have track records in the leadership of Civil Society Organisations and NGO’s.  They know from first hand experience what it means to turn strategic ideas into transformative results. Our consultants combine experience in the business sector with a track record of success at executive level for International Civil Society Organisations.

The direct impact group has a network in Europe, Australasia, India, South East Asia, North America, East Africa and the Middle East.

Our approach is simple, effective and field-tested.

Our Values

Our values established the culture of the direct impact group. They influence our thinking, decision making and daily behaviour. They are our promise to our clients and universal to our work.


We believe, genius is in the idea. impact, however, comes from action

We acknowledge that the work of the civil society sector 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 civil society contributes to increasing the effectiveness of the change they seek!


We know what we are talking about

Our experience in business and civil society organisations means we appreciate and identify with the challenges that impact the world our clients work in. We believe that one person alone cannot keep pace with the speed of innovation and change. Therefore we are supported by our broad network of specialised experts who offer insight and understanding of the new and frequent changes that are the daily reality of working in the development of civil society!


We believe it's not about us

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!


We demonstrate that complex problem need simple solutions

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 focus on delivering results that make a direct impact

We work with our clients to define and measure the outcomes they seek. Our interventions are designed to get to the heart of the issue and deliver clean, simple solutions. Results from our engagement are specific, tangible and make a direct impact!

Our Partners

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' experience in leadership and management of international NGOs. Markus Hesse, Darren Ward and Dr. Guna Fernandez gathered their extensive expertise in the development of accountability of iNGOs, in several years of consulting work for international consulting companies, but also the leadership of international organizations. In the direct impact group they combine their shared enthusiasm for the work of the civil society sector. They stand for the quality and the group’s unique approach for consulting, facilitation and business coaching.

Markus Hesse
Managing Partner - Europe

Markus has more than 15 years of experience in organisational effectiveness and 9 years of experience in senior and executive management of international NGOs. He has served as Vice President for Strategy and Finance of the international disability and development organisation CBM. Markus has worked as consultant, project manager, team leader, and consulting team member on more than 100 projects in a variety of industries for Fortune 500 and mid- sized companies. He has served on various NGO Boards and served as Member of the Board of Directors of the INGO Accountability Charter. The Charter is a cross-sectoral accountability framework working on human rights, sustainable development, environmental protection, humanitarian response, and anti- corruption. Hesse is managing the European operations and is a managing partner of the direct impact group.

Darren Ward
Managing Partner - Australasia

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.

Dr. Guna Fernandez
Associate Partner - India

Guna is a senior executive with 25 years of experience in international social and disability inclusive development. Guna has operated at global level, influencing policies with her cross cultural insights and disability programme experience. She pioneered initiatives in disability inclusive development for wider application. Her background in academia which honed her researching skills helps her in conceptualizing theories into practice. A strong believer of diversity and inclusion, she seeks opportunities to be a facilitator of change in the lives of the marginalised through her career. Guna has edited a reference book for professionals, “See with the Blind”. She is skilled in programme design and development, monitoring and evaluation, quality assurance and accreditation, ISO 9000-2000 auditing, and training. Guna is managing the Asian operations and is an associated partner of the direct impact group.

Our Team


Our experienced team members have track records in the leadership of Civil Society Organisations.

We are continuously developing our portfolio of consultants in the areas of strategy formulation, strategy implementation, accountability and operational improvement.

Today our portfolio includes over 25 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, 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. 

  • Change Management

  • Inclusive Development

  • Cost Optimisation

  • Accountability

  • Carbon Footprint Reporting

Our Offices


Managing Partner
Markus Hesse


Phone: +49 6252 7953241
Wilhelmstrasse 53
64646 Heppenheim


Managing Partner
Darren Ward

New Zealand

Phone: +64 21 59 2020
68B Stredwick Dr
Torbay – Auckland 0630


Associate Partner
Dr. Guna Fernandez


Phone: +91 9880537450
9/9 First Cross,
Bangalore – 560 033

For more information contact us at

Cooperation Partners

alliance partner 3

Commitment to a high standard of accountability

The INGO Accountability Charter 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 Charter Members’ work on accountability, transparency and effectiveness. The direct impact group supports the important work of the INGO Accountability Charter, which has become a driving force for excellence in the civil society.

alliance partner 3

Pioneering leaders in adaptive philanthropy

SharedImpact is the world’s first and only global donor-advised fund. Headquartered in London, with offices in New York and Hong Kong, SharedImpact provides philanthropists, foundations, corporations and family offices with access to social investment expertise. As a global network of charities created to foster social impact investment, SharedImpact is making it easier for donors, investors and charitable organizations to connect, give and receive donations. The collaboration of SharedImpact and the direct impact group provides innovative solutions for civil society organizations, foundations and businesses.

alliance partner 3

Critical thinking for a complex world

CoThink provides training and facilitation in the application of critical thinking processes like process optimization, 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.


The direct impact group supports the formulation and execution of our client’s strategy and develop the organisation’s accountability towards beneficiaries, donors, governments, and the public.

Strategy Formulation

How solid is your strategy? Is it inspiring as well as providing a framework for daily priority setting?

Execution of Organizational Strategies

How do you prioritize and orchestrate your strategic initiatives? How do you ensure collaboration?

Execution of Multi Partner Strategies

How can we establish true collaboration across different organisations to execute development programmes successfully?


How well developed are your accountability measures compared to standards in the sector? What works well and where are the gaps?

Our Services



Business Coaching

Contact us

a brand of
direct impact consulting ltd.

Registered Office:
68B Stredwick Drive
Auckland 0630

Registered in New Zealand 
Registration No: 5798932

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