Ferguson will take up the role on 6 December, replacing Joe Irvin, who became Acevo chair in July after Paul Farmer, chief executive of the mental health charity Mind, stepped down for personal reasons.
Irvin must relinquish the position in December because he will have reached the maximum six-year term as an Acevo trustee.
Ferguson, who has been chief executive of Gingerbread since February last year, previously held the same position at the young people’s charity London Youth.
Ferguson, who will be co-opted onto the Acevo board, takes up the role for a three-year term, with the possibility of a further three years.
She said in a statement: "I believe strongly in ensuring that the UK has a thriving civil society and am utterly committed to championing and developing excellent leadership within civil society organisations.
"I’m looking forward to working with the Acevo trustees and chief executive Vicky Browning and her team to deliver the new strategy and inspire and support civil society leaders to make the biggest possible difference."
Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets, the charity for pedestrians, said Ferguson was "passionate about leadership for social change".