Doug Balfour


linkedin icon twitter icon

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.

As the former owner and CEO of Geneva Global, Doug has transitioned into a consultant role to support Scott and the Executive team in making the transition smooth for staff while focusing on achieving the synergistic business development opportunities the new configuration enables.

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 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.

What three words would you use to describe your colleagues?

Collaborative, creative, and fun

Who or what has inspired you to do the work that you do?

The local heroes I have met over the last 25 years who have pretty much sacrificed everything to make a positive difference in their own communities around the world. They set a standard of care, patience, perseverance, faith and inventiveness that I don’t think I will ever attain, but still aspire to!

What book, film or quote has shaped the way you think?

The quote I like best is “If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.”

How many countries have you visited?

101 now. I hit 100 in February 2017, and we had a great party! I’m now shooting for 125!