Feature Q&A with Tyler Butler, Principal and Founder, 11Eleven Consulting and Former CSR Director at GoDaddy

Jan 19, 2017 1:30 PM ET
Campaign: Getting to Impact

The Versaic Blog

Tyler Butler is Founder and Principal of 11Eleven Consulting. 11Eleven is a boutique consulting firm focused on aiding companies who aim to do well by doing good. 11Eleven assists companies to develop meaningful and innovative corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

Prior to 11Eleven, Tyler was responsible for revolutionizing GoDaddy’s corporate social responsibility platform. As the leader of GoDaddy’s global philanthropic efforts she led GoDaddy’s commitment to making a difference in communities throughout the world. Her work was the catalyst for GoDaddy's growth as a good corporate citizen and also enabled recognition of the company as a great place to work.

How have companies’ CSR strategies evolved in recent years? 

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a constantly evolving field. Over the past 10 years the most notable change has been that companies now view corporate responsibility as a strategic and necessary component to their overall annual planning. Gone are the days of CSR being a nice to have, it is now a need to have. From segmenting funds for likeminded causes, to actively participating in campaigns and creating unique initiatives of their own that showcase their corporate giving philosophies, CSR in some form is making its way into every company in ways that make the most sense for them based on their business, their customers and the communities they serve.

What is the biggest challenge corporate philanthropy executives face?

The biggest challenge faced by corporate philanthropy executives is an overwhelming need for support from so many causes. CSR practitioners are drowning in a sea of requests from worthy causes, all of which are eager to gain corporate support. It is crucial that non-profits look at each company’s giving priorities and criteria and hone in on those that are a match for their mission. Placing requests with companies where there is no alignment and where no relationships exist can be a waste of resources and valuable time that could be better spent cultivating opportunities that make more sense.

What benefits or outcomes should a company expect from well-executed CSR programs or initiatives?

There is a myriad of outcomes that can be experienced from strategically planned, well-executed CSR programs. These are highly dependent on what types of programs are shared and what the goals for the initiatives are. If a CSR program is focused on engaging employees, then seeing a higher percentage of activation through volunteerism, donations and drives would be a sign of success. However, if a campaign is designed to rally support from a business’s customers via a round up for charity fundraising campaign, then success would be measured by funds raised, customer loyalty and the positive sentiment that can be built by sharing the story of the initiative with the media and general public. Generally speaking, the most desirable outcomes for CSR programs in their totality would be an improvement in public image, increased media coverage, a boost to employee engagement, greater attraction and retention of investors and talent and the competitive advantage it brings to the brand itself.

How can companies measure success and how does that equate to business value?

The best measurement of success where a full circle, world class CSR program is concerned is the slow but legitimate movement of positive sentiment as it correlates to any business or brand. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Survey, 74% of companies surveyed said that corporate citizenship helped increase profits at their company. And when you couple this statistic with the results from the Nielsen Global Consumers study, which found that 6 out of 10 consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service from a company with good values, the only possible conclusion is that there are huge benefits to be had by having legitimate CSR programs.

What are some of the most powerful resources and tools CSR professionals can lever today to advance their programs?

In today’s CSR environment there are so many powerful resources to ensure that time is used efficiently. I would look at ways to streamline efforts by selecting the right tools and processes to enable the most work to be developed from your program. Resources such as Volunteer Match, Bright Funds and CauseCast are all options that enable employees to volunteer for qualified 501c3 charities, track their hours, donate funds, contribute items shared through drives and identify their preferred cause areas. This makes for a more easily tracked, sustainable program where CSR executives are not beholden to manually track results. On another note, one very simple way to advance your program is by simply clearly communicating your company’s giving priorities, key markets and the programs through which you support causes. This way, professionals can cut down on unnecessary, redundant communication and just route people to their site for the answers.

What tips would you offer companies wanting to increase the impact of their CSR programs?

First and foremost, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable, experienced leader for your CSR efforts. In instances where companies do not have internally dedicated resources, I recommend connecting with consultants who lead the field, such as those at my firm, 11Eleven Consulting. Once you’ve tackled the leadership piece, then I would next advocate for continued education and growth opportunities. Since CSR is a constantly changing landscape, professionals in the field must keep up with the ever evolving trends. I recommend checking out the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship. They host trainings in Boston and abroad and this team is amongst the brightest working in this space. Another great resource is the Association of Corporate Contribution Professionals. This organization has oodles of rich content and membership is affordable and well worth the price. Finally, I recommend connecting with peers in this industry. CSR professionals, unlike many other fields, are more open to sharing details about their programs. What worked and what didn’t and even what is next on their radar. These are all great avenues to develop unique and successful CSR programs.