Apple just released what Steve Jobs calls “The most important product he’s ever worked on” and while the consensus is out on whether it will be a big success or not. One thing seems to stand out. Apple has created a computer that seems to just get out of the way of you doing what you are trying to do. While I haven’t had the chance to use one myself, everything I’ve heard seems to acknowledge that Apple has created a product where the technology just fades into the background and lets the user forget that it’s a computer. That’s what technology should do, shouldn’t it?
So what does this have to do with you the non-profit administrator and fundraiser? Everything! As a non-profit administrator myself, I don’t often do the direct to client services that my co-workers do. I’m not a social worker (although I do social work at times). I’m not the one who works with, in my case the homeless, on a daily basis. No, my responsibility is to create an atmosphere and provide the resources for the the social workers, nurses, mental health counselors, etc. to do their work.
Our job is to be like the Apple Ipad – and do what we do so well that we can fade into the background and let our staff do what they need to do. I don’t want our nurse to have to worry about whether payroll will be distributed on time or that there will be enough copy paper when she needs it. No, I want her to spend her time helping the homeless with medical problems, giving vaccines, providing first aid, and educating diabetics on how to take care of their feet.
The new Ipad doesn’t provide any shocking never before seen technology. It simply takes the best of technology and puts it together in a seamless and intuitive way. My goal as an administrator is not to come up with some shocking never before seen way to buy office paper or raise funds (although that would be really nice). My goal is to do all of the administrative tasks and do them so well, and so consistently that no one has to even think about them. The administrative tasks just fade into the background and allows our co-workers to do what they are trained to do – help people.
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