An economics major in undergrad, an attorney at a free legal clinic, a parish minister, and the director of clergy excellence for the Virginia United Methodist Conference. What do all of the roles have in common?
For one, they’ve been held by the same person. Meredith McNabb sees the many differences in the positions she’s held, but she also sees a common thread: a career focused on helping people and the situations they’re in.
Now, she’s starting a new role as the associate director of educational programming at Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, where she’ll work with clergy and lay leaders to help them do their work in the most effective way that they can. McNabb has worked in this capacity before, but she’s excited to focus on generosity and faith and giving.
“Generosity ties into leadership, into organizational strength, and into clarity of mission and purpose. I love working with people in the nonprofit sector to build their programs and capabilities,” she said.
Work to build knowledge of faith and giving is rapidly growing. In the last three years, participation in Lake Institute’s educational courses has gone up by 85 percent.
McNabb will facilitate and lead the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising (ECRF) courses, while also developing new offerings or subsets of current offerings. Along with the other members of Lake Institute’s team, she will help redesign the ECRF to fit current practitioner needs.
“We host parish pastors, seminary presidents, nonprofit directors of development, and many others in these courses,” McNabb said. “These leaders all have different needs to address, and so we’re trying to develop and deliver new, tailored content to help their organizations grow.”
Grounding the redesign is Lake Institute’s emphasis and use of up-to-date research. As a practitioner with years of experience working in a parish and for a conference, McNabb understands the importance of empirical data and its applicability for religious leaders: “People aren’t always aware of how to broach the subject of generosity and faith in the parish setting, but it’s powerful and important to have this data and information and to effectively build relationships with donors.
“If they think of their dreams and goals as good for the world, and there’s someone able and willing to fund them, then leaders need to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to make that happen.”
McNabb also looks forward to working in an ecumenical and interfaith space. “I enjoyed doing denominational work, but I’m excited to ask questions, learn more, and engage with people’s stories!” she said.
Overall, she’s excited to live in Indianapolis and work with the Lake Institute team in its mission to foster a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationship between faith and giving.
“It’s great to see that organizations are hungry for what we’re offering. To be a part of that feels like part of my sense of calling. I hope to build up organizations to be effective and build up practitioners so that they feel confident in what they need to do.”