142: Unlocking Donor Engagement: Understanding How Fundraiser Behavior Leads to Donor Behavior

This episode is sponsored by:

watch on youtube


“At the end of the day, that’s really what it’s about. We can talk about dollar goals all day long, but from a donor perspective, they want to see that they’re helping somebody.”

–  Jessica Channell-IIer
Episode #142


In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

In the world of philanthropy, Jessica Channell-Iler’s journey was anything but ordinary. As the Director of Fundraising, Intelligence, Analytics, and Reporting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Jessica’s navigated the labyrinth of higher education fundraising for two decades. Harnessing the power of data-driven decision-making, she’s deftly amalgamated her knowledge of analytics and fundraising intelligence to build robust bonds between fundraisers and donors, blending the precision of data science with the delicate art of relationship-building.

In this episode, Jessica and I delve into the intricate relationship between fundraising activities and donor behavior. There’s a tendency in our sector to view donor behavior as a meteorological phenomenon – as if it randomly occurs without provocation. However, donor behavior often mirrors fundraiser actions; the latter acts as a leading indicator, while the former is a lagging indicator. I’m intrigued to explore what transpires when we scrutinize this correlation closely – which behaviors yield the most impact and thus require prioritization? What shifts when we actively track our actions, rather than solely focusing on the end result? 

Jessica’s current focus is on understanding the relationship between fundraising activities and donor behavior makes her the perfect person to discuss this with. Her mission is to uncover the drivers of productivity and to refine the approach, particularly in the mid-level giving space. Through her work, Jessica continues to inspire a culture of giving that is aligned with the interests and capacities of her constituents.


Jessica Channell-Iler


  • Many thanks to our sponsor, Bloomerang for making this episode possible. Bloomerang offers donor management and online fundraising software that helps small to medium nonprofits, like First Tee of Greater Akron, a nonprofit that empowers kids and teens through the game of golf. After just one year with Bloomerang they doubled their unique donors, improved donor stewardship, and raised more funds. Head to bloomerang.com/whatthefundraising to learn more about Bloomerang. 
  • If you haven’t already, please visit our new What the Fundraising community forum. Check it out and join the conversation at this link.
  • If you’re looking to raise more from the right funders, then you’ll want to check out my Power Partners Formula, a step-by-step approach to identifying the optimal partners for your organization. This free masterclass offers a great starting point

Brought To
you By:




Get to know Jessica:

Jessica is the Director of Fundraising Intelligence, Data Analytics, and Reporting at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Other episodes you would enjoy



I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.


Scroll to Top

You're one step away from getting my favorite tools!

Just put in your name and email to let the magic begin….