Excellence Requires Expertise, Experience, Resources and a Strong Reputation

by Dan Billingsley, Vice President of External Affairs

This time of year, I spend more time in the kitchen cooking. We all do. It’s also a time I start watching YouTube videos to get ideas for recipes and techniques. I recently was mesmerized by one particular video of the great French master chef Jacques Pépin. The short video featured the culinary giant effortlessly deboning a whole chicken to make a galantine, essentially a boneless stuffed bird tied up, sautéed and finished in the oven.

And when I say this is mesmerizing, it was almost epic. He quietly and quickly made work of deboning the chicken in a matter of a minute or two, remarking over and over again how fast and easy this work was.

I attempted – what took the chef mere seconds to accomplish took me a full 26 minutes with plenty of frustration and a lot of accidents with the knife (no bleeding, so no worries there).

Pépin is a master chef not because he’s uniquely creative or was born with some otherworldly gift. He is a master chef after decades upon decades of training, practice, learning about food and finding the best of it and creating a strong reputation of excellence in the process. There’s a reason he can debone a chicken in a matter of seconds. He has unflinching expertise, experience, impeccable resources and an amazing reputation.

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits is not great at chicken preparation, although I have a couple of co-workers who make excellent roasted and fried chickens. However, we do have incredible expertise on our staff. Whether in governance, nonprofit finance, marketing, fundraising, program evaluation, diversity, management, leadership and more, our staff of experts brings decades upon decades of training and expertise to the work.

Additionally, our staff have incredible experience in the industry. We have been board members, executive directors, development and marketing directors, church pastors, leadership consultants, chief financial officers and more. That experience with all kinds of situations means that we aren’t just book smart, we’re street smart. We’ve seen it. Heard it. Done it. That’s crucial when your nonprofit needs assistance.

We also have the best resources. Just like Pépin, we have a drawer of incredibly sharp tools at our disposal, including the Standards for Excellence Curriculum, leadership assessments, coaching tools, curricula for marketing, fundraising and governance, and more. While we can’t debone a chicken in 79 seconds, we certainly can quickly diagnose and produce a treatment plan for any situation your nonprofit is facing.

And finally, we have a reputation for excellence. For decades, the Center has helped nonprofits grow and manage that growth. They better adapt thanks to the professional development and consultation we provide. And because we have a strong reputation, we also can advocate for our sector effectively with policy makers at the local, state and federal levels.

I encourage you all to read our 2018 Annual Report online, or let us know if you’d like a paper copy. We are thankful for your support as members, donors, supporters, champions, advocates, cheerleaders and nonprofit evangelists everywhere.

May you have a fantastic holiday season and prosperous new year.

And keep practicing your own knife skills!

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