Client Spotlight: A Talk With Tim Reinke

Client Spotlight: A Talk With Tim Reinke

ROI:  When did you start working with Defenders of Wildlife?

Tim:  I began working at Defenders of Wildlife in October 2015 and one of the first things I was tasked with was thinking about a new database for Defenders. Before Defenders I was doing some consulting and before that I was at National Wildlife Federation as Director of Analytics where I also assisted on a couple of conversions.

ROI:  Can you tell us a little bit more about Defenders of Wildlife? What issue is the organization working on currently?

Tim:  At its core, Defenders of Wildlife ( is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  Our conservation efforts are targeted at the full range of vulnerable North American biodiversity, from plants to pollinators to predators. Our goal is to accomplish this by working to ensure that existing environmental protection laws are protected, enforced to their full extent, and improved whenever possible.

The current political climate has placed many vital environmental protection laws in jeopardy, and Defenders has been incredibly busy fighting to protect those laws and the animals and habitats they protect.

ROI: Defenders just went through a conversion to ROI, not long after you started with the organization.  How did the process go?  What tips would you share with other organizations that are undertaking an implementation?

Tim: There are three rules to an implementation:  prepare, prepare, prepare.  Actually, I just presented with ROI’s VP of Product Karen Engstrom at the NTEN conference in New Orleans.  If I had to summarize it, here are a couple of the things I’ve learned over time:

  • Outside of choosing the right CRM, I think requirements gathering – and I mean in depth and accurate requirements gathering – is probably the most important factor in having happy users in the long run.  It can sometimes be difficult, but it is critical to capture your requirements, prioritize them, and be clear about your expectations for achievement, both immediately and in the long run.  If you can’t do this with in-house staff, and you have the resources, sometimes it’s great to have consultants help out – they are specialists in helping to unearth those requirements.
  • During a conversion, all users should be able to continue accomplishing their jobs with little to no impact on performance, and wherever possible, improve upon it (which was certainly the case with our conversion to ROI Solutions).
  • Wherever possible you need to lose the siloed spreadsheets and help users realize the value of a single integrated CRM.  The entire staff doesn’t need to be in the CRM, as some people may be using third party applications, but the data needs to get back in there.
  • The bulk of the work around an implementation is being done by some pretty technical people.  At any organization, the majority of users are not that technical.  So as a Database person working on any transition, it is important to be able to put yourself into the user’s shoes as much as possible.  Interacting with the CRM is only a small portion of many of our user’s jobs, in fact only about 2% of what they do involves direct interaction with the CRM.  So, you need to speak their language and be cognizant of their level of CRM interaction while gathering requirements and helping them adopt a new system.

ROI:  Can you share a fun fact about yourself outside of the work environment, maybe a hobby?

Tim:   I could make something cool up for the user base to read about, but the reality is that spending time with my family is my favorite hobby.

If you asked me that 6 years ago, I would’ve said traveling the world.  Before we started our family, my wife, Courtnei, and I traveled a lot.  She is a Marketing Director for National Geographic Expeditions, so she still gets to visit to some pretty exciting destinations. She was formerly the Director of Marketing for the publishing arm of National Wildlife Federation, so we got to work together there for a few years.  The great news is that National Geographic is literally right across the street from Defenders, so even though we are no longer in the same building, we are not too far apart.  Although we are both busy, we meet up at lunch sometimes and last week when the weather warmed up, we were able to take a half-hour walk together.

While travel is still fun, and I’ve got a few places still on the wish list, we’ve traded up some exotic destinations for slightly more family-friendly vacations for my 6-year-old and 3-year-old, like Disney World last year and the Outer Banks every year (a longtime family favorite).  Actually, travel or not, I can’t wait for the weekends – whether it is watching my son play soccer or my daughter dancing ballet.  Last weekend my wife and I volunteered at a big carnival at my daughter’s pre-school.  My adult friends are the parents of the kids that they go to school with and we’ve fallen in with a great crowd.

ROI: Matt Rosen told me that you are a big football fan, who do you root for?

Tim:  Well I think that Matt might be setting me up…

ROI:  What do you mean?

Tim:  Well, for my entire life I have been a proud, die-hard football fan for the Eagles, of the great city of Philadelphia.

ROI:  Oh, geez! (as an aside, all but one of our ROI staff are die-hard New England Patriots football fans whose memories of the big game in February still pain them.  And our CEO is a GreenBay Packers fan).

Tim:  I know.  Bear with me.  Growing up as an Eagles fan, it wasn’t easy, and I think it actually builds character, because even when things are seemingly going well, you are just waiting for reality to come crashing down.  So, during the big game, I was on the phone with my lifelong friend, cheering, and I think there were a few tears from both of us.  It’s about five months later and there is rarely a day that passes that I don’t watch one clip from that game.  Actually, I’ve probably watched the “Philly Special” on YouTube about 40-50 times now.   

ROI:  Okay, Tim.  Sincerely thanks for sharing with the ROI User Community and (drippingly sarcastically) hurray for your Eagles…