The Big Hire: Louise Parkes

Parkes will become chief executive of Gosh Children's Charity in May

Louise Parkes
Louise Parkes

It’s still relatively unusual for a fundraiser to be appointed chief executive of a major charity. But Louise Parkes achieved it when she was announced as the successor to Tim Johnson at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Parkes, who will take up the role on 1 May, is one of the voluntary sector’s best-known fundraisers. She has been corporate director of income and innovation at Barnardo’s for the past three years and previously led the fundraising directorates at the British Heart Foundation and Shelter. She has also worked at Help the Aged, Age UK, Cancer Research UK and the National Deaf Children’s Society during a 20-year career in the charity sector.

Parkes is joining a charity that is vastly different from the one she is leaving. Barnardo’s employs more than 8,000 staff and receives most of its £300m-plus annual income from grants and fees. Gosh Children’s Charity’s employs 252 staff and generated £99.4m of its £103.2m income from fundraising in the financial year ending 31 March 2018.

Income from fundraising rose sharply from £88m the previous year, which was mainly due to a large increase in legacy income from £14.1m to £26.3m. This was due mostly to a change in its legacy accrual estimation process, which added £8.6m to its normal accrual. "However, even excluding this one-off change, 2017/18 was a record year for fundraising," its accounts say.

But not every aspect of fundraising at Gosh Children’s Charity is booming. A decline in community fundraising contributed to a small fall in donations in 2017/18, from £68.4m to £67.6m. Trading income was flat at £5.5m.

Parkes said in a statement: "It is an incredibly exciting time to join the charity, lead on the next stage of its strategy and build on its excellent foundations."

John Connolly, chair of the charity, said Parkes "brings with her considerable experience in fundraising and leadership, and we are confident that she will take the charity from strength to strength as we enter a new era".

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