Despite how it may appear, the heart of successful fundraising is not the black tie event. It is donor prospecting and cultivation (P+C).
For many small nonprofits, this is problematic because the development department is often insufficiently staffed to allow all the requisite development functions to be carried out. Events and annual campaigns are time intensive and essential for most nonprofits.
The irony is that P+C is the area that some organizations skimp on or ignore almost all together, and it is among the most important things nonprofits can do to ensure sustainable fundraising.
The development staff need not be solely responsible for prospecting and cultivation. In fact, the management team, the board, the development and related committee(s) and others should play key and ongoing roles.
What the development staff should do is put in place a formal mechanism for prospecting and tracking cultivation. Then either the staff or someone they delegate to can manage the process and assignments. This is a relatively simple task but one that can yield real results and should not be overlooked.