McLean, who was selected from 42 applicants, 17 of whom were interviewed, will take up her position on 1 November.
She told Third Sector that she had 16 years of fundraising experience and was "a fundraiser at heart".
According to McLean, making fundraising more professional will be one of the main aims of the institute because this would have benefits for the sector as a whole.
"It can help on a practical level because it gives people better skills to fundraise in this challenging environment," she said. "It also gives people the chance to see fundraising as a long-term career, which it has been for me."
Another of her key priorities is to increase membership numbers. She said she wanted the IoF to be seen as the "must-join" organisation in the sector. She said she would like to see more charities joining at an organisational level, rather than at a fundraiser level only.
Another aim is to see the codes of practice promoted more among both member and non-member charities.
"Because of who we are, enabling good fundraising practice is something we should do regardless," she said. "I want everyone to follow the codes of conduct."
McLean's first fundraising job was as a community fundraiser at Action for Children in 1994. She spent two years, from 2006, as the director of fundraising and communications at DebRa UK, a charity that works on behalf of people with a genetic skin blistering condition.
McLean said the current climate was a challenging time for fundraising generally, but that there were still ways to be successful; she pointed to her previous role as chief executive of Prostate UK.
"We managed to grow our fundraising income by 11 per cent last year by diversifying our fundraising," she said, "so there is hope."
She hinted that there would eventually be some organisational changes at the IoF, but said that these would be decided on and implemented after careful consideration.
"What's obvious is that there is no need to make any quick changes," she said. "I have no sense that anything is broken and needs fixing."
One target McLean has already set herself is to visit the institute's 11 regional branches and 18 special interest groups within her first year in the role. "If you want to lead an organisation, you need to understand how all of it works," she said.
Lindsay Boswell, the current chief executive, will step down on 30 September, and Bruce Leeke, the IoF's chief operating officer, will take interim charge until McLean starts her new role.