How can a systems change approach transform your philanthropy?

The term Systems Change and Systems Entrepreneurship is currently in almost every philanthropic journal and being discussed at every philanthropic conference. But what does it mean? How do you know if what you are funding or implementing is likely to change a system and does it matter? This Masterclass will answer your questions of what is Systems Change, what it is not, when to use this approach, who plays what role, how it fits with advocacy, policy, scaling and social entrepreneurship, what is the missing middle, how to measure it and how to use donor collaborations in all their forms. It will illustrate these topics with examples across sectors and different geographies, giving time for interactive questions and break out groups and will finish with a practical application Systems Change clinic focusing on participants’ real life challenges.


This masterclass is for funders wishing to better understand how to use a systems approach to social change. ID Code: Masterclass 14 REGISTER HERE


Outcomes for Participants

Participants will leave this masterclass with a clear understanding of:

  • What is Systems Change and how is it different to normal Philanthropic/ Charitable programming? This would be an explanation with short examples, focusing on the key questions that donors have.
  • A longer interactive section focused around key questions in break out groups and feedback.
  • A Systems Change clinic where everyone can raise the practical problems they have or have seen and brainstorming ways to address those problems with a Systems Change mindset


Masterclass Presenter

Doug Balfour
CEO, Geneva Global 

Doug Balfour Image

With more than 30 years of experience in philanthropy, international development, leadership, and organizational development, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge to his work with Geneva Global’s clients. Since taking ownership of Geneva Global in 2008, Doug has assembled a leadership team that brings expertise from a range of sectors, including international development, global health, finance, consulting, risk management, and marketing to each client assignment. He is currently the Chairman of Geneva Global, after having previously led the company as CEO for 10 years.

He has led the expansion of the organization’s offerings into a full range of philanthropic and consulting services. Passionate about bringing creative solutions to address social problems, he seeks to revise traditional approaches whenever appropriate and possible. Through his writing and speaking engagements, Doug has become a thought leader in the social sector, advocating for a systems-change approach to social issues and for the importance of systems entrepreneurship. He has been involved in the creation of many innovative donor collaborations for clients including the END Fund, the Freedom Fund, Luminos, and others, whilst incorporating topics such as maximizing social impact, measuring social change, creating sustainable transformation though grassroots organizations, and the positive blending of strategic philanthropy and impact investing. He has published the book Doing Good Great: An Insider’s Guide to Getting the Most out of Your Philanthropic Journey. The second edition is available as a condensed, free eBook.

Prior to joining Geneva Global’s senior leadership team in 2006, Doug helped to create and was Executive Director of London-based Integral, a global alliance of 12 relief and development agencies. He previously served for nine years as General Director Tearfund, one of the United Kingdom’s largest aid agencies, based in London. At Tearfund, he led a multinational staff of more than 650 people in the implementation of advocacy, relief and development programs through 300 partners in 70 countries.

Earlier, Doug held management and consulting roles with the U.K.-based Lucas Group and lived and worked in various countries in Africa. In 2003, Doug worked alongside a team to found the Micah Network and Micah Challenge. He studied at the University of Southampton in the U.K and earned a master’s in business administration from the Cranfield School of Management in the U.K.

Story Archives

Didn't find what you were
looking for?

Check out the Stories in Philanthropy archives.


Upcoming Events

Explore the latest events from the sector

More details