Pure Fundraising appoints Helen Mackenzie as chief executive

Mckenzie has spent most of her career in the financial sector, notably at Capital Corporate Finance, but has also worked for Save the Children

Helen Mackenzie
Helen Mackenzie

The telephone fundraising agency Pure Fundraising has appointed a new chief executive, five months after it was sold, together with its now defunct sister company Pell & Bales, by the business process outsourcing firm Parseq.

Helen Mackenzie, who most recently spent less than a year as head of strategic partnerships at the peer-to-peer invoice trading and supply chain finance business Platform Black, started the role this month after a period of gardening leave, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Mackenzie, who has spent most of her career in the financial sector, most notably serving as a director at the brokerage firm Capital Corporate Finance, where she worked for almost 18 years, also spent six months working as a freelance face-to-face payroll giving fundraiser in 2015 and 10 months as head of new business in the corporate partnerships team of Save the Children in 2014/15.

Pure Fundraising had been operating without a chief executive since it and Pell & Bales were bought by a team of investors led by the financier Gerry Hoare in June.

In September, Pell & Bales went into liquidation, which Hoare attributed to the challenging marketplace.

Mackenzie’s appointment is likely to come as a surprise to some former Pell & Bales employees, who had predicted that the agency would close down within weeks of its sister company’s collapse, a suggestion strongly denied by Hoare at the time.

Hoare, who is the sole director of Pure Fundraising, told Third Sector in August that the firm was being run by two senior managers and that a chief executive, a head of client services and a head of transformation were being recruited.

Tim Smart, a creative executive at Pure Fundraising, said today that the agency had recently appointed Amanda Froude Evans, a former account director at Pell & Bales, as head of client services, and she and Mackenzie were now the most senior managers at the firm. A head of transformation was yet to be recruited, he said.

In a statement announcing her appointment, Mackenzie said: "There have been many changes and challenges in fundraising recently, so it’s an honour to have the opportunity work with Pure Fundraising, which is already leading its field in terms of its ethical and supporter-focused approach to fundraising.

"Charities are doing a fantastic job in very challenging circumstances, so I want to ensure that Pure commits to working with charities of all sizes, helping them respond to the challenges that recent changes in fundraising regulation present."

The statement said Mackenzie wanted to work with the sector over the coming year to help challenge and change the perception of fundraising that had been built up from recent negative press coverage.

Smart said Pure Fundraising was working on campaigns with clients including Cancer Research UK, the RNIB and Greenpeace.

Pure was in administration when it was acquired by Parseq in 2013 and was subsequently wound up. Parseq continued to use the Pure brand, which traded as a division of the parent company.

When Hoare acquired it in June, he registered a new holding company for it at Companies House called Pure Fundraising.

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