Q&A with Jamie Welsh of 10% Solution

Jamie Welsh, the founder and CEO of 10% Solution, will be speaking at the session on “Non-Profits & Socially-Responsible Companies With Global Interests in a 2.0 World” during next week’s SES San Jose.

Jamie%20Welsh.JPG 10% Solution is a social responsibility certification and consulting company. In a previous life Jamie was a highly accomplished executive with a diverse background in, ISO certifications, process consulting, marketing, organizational management and software development. She has worked with fortune 500 companies, start-ups and for the top homebuilders in the country.

Jamie has held executive roles, as the VP of Marketing for Hilton Hotels Corporation, as an executive consultant to start-ups and as President and CTO of Your Design Center. She has been in marketing and consulting for the past 12 years and in the interactive space for 16 years. She holds a Master’s in organizational management and a Bachelor’s in television and film. She also works with several non-profits including Habitat for Humanity. She is on the board of Team Kids and is an executive board member for the Centennial Heritage Museum.

To provide attendees of SES San Jose with a sneak preview of the upcoming “Non-Profits & Socially-Responsible Companies With Global Interests in a 2.0 World” session, I asked Jamie some questions that she was happy to answer.

Q: What role do Web 2.0 tools and/or applications play for a company like 10% Solution that seeks to certify companies as socially responsible?

A: Web 2.0 tools are an intractable part of our abilities to communicate our message and value proposition to our customers. As we move forward it will become an ever increasing core business tool, as we bring together, individuals, organizations, non-profits and groups to enact change at the local and global level through our Giving Networks ™. The web is finally becoming the means of production. It is a great equalizer in giving everyone a voice.

Q: If a company wants to be 10% Solution certified, what types of communities should they be involved in?

A: The hallmark of a good organization is one that has a core group that is dedicated to change and action. This is not a one size fits all equation; each company needs to research and partner with organizations that match their organizational direction.

Socially responsible companies need to embrace and reach out via multiple channels with engaging content and ideas, and thereby empower consumers to engage with their business, products and services directly. If they give consumers more tools, they will get more engagement and hence more collaboration in meeting social responsibility goals.

Q: Web 2.0 implies social networking and the use of blogs and wikis, for example. What are some of the Web 2.0 tools you strongly recommend a company should be integrating into its business model if it wants to become socially responsible?

A: Either before or after certification the companies should be looking at, RSS feeds, facebook groups, twitter, and social bookmarking as well as creating custom YouTube channels to create meaningful content that engages consumer.

A blog or wiki will can be a face to your public relations CSR front, and it will allow employees to also be abreast of company programs and contribute their take on the program. A certification in any arena would be helpful to verify the credibility and authenticity of the blog and wiki posts for both customers and employees. It also demonstrates a level of transparency and openness.

Q: Companies that want to become 10% Solution certified have to meet strict financial and time commitments. For example, a company must commit 1% of sales or 5% of pre-tax profits. How difficult is it for companies who approach you for certification to meet these commitments? Are they effectively using Web 2.0 tools and /or applications in order to meet these commitments?

A: Every organization approaches the social responsibility path with their unique set of opportunities. We typically find that companies that are ready to move down this path are eager and ready to get started. They see it as a platform for engagement and an opportunity to participate in transparent business practices that will have a positive impact on their internal and external business. For companies that are not ready for certification we offer a baby step in our Social Responsibility Program (SRP). This program is a straightforward service that helps you enact socially responsible business practices today. We organize and create an integration path for your charitable giving, volunteerism and green sustainability efforts. 10% makes it easy to track your current contributions of time and money, as well as the activities you engage in every day to help protect the planet and carry out sustainable business practices.

Q: Philanthropy and local action are core beliefs that drive and sustain 10% Solution’s goals and actions. How is Web technology helping to further this value-set in companies that are trying to integrate such beliefs into their business plan?

A: Our on-line community is where individuals, groups and neighborhoods can connect through Giving Network™. Our Giving Networks are a forum for the sharing of ideas, information and empowering local change. They provide a system for people to combine their time, monies and resources to create a dynamic evolving collective impact.

10% Solution also believes measurement and accountability are keys to the long term growth and success of the Social responsibility movement. We are creating measurement tools to allow certified companies to measure their return on investment (ROI) for their CSR programs. Results can be used internally and externally to support the business case for social responsibility programs on a quantitative level.

Q: What are some online resources you might recommend to your clients who are committed to becoming 10% Solutions certified?

A: Here is a sample of sites that would be a good place to start.
– Research and compare your company CSR programs to others within the same industry: http://www.betterworldshopper.org/
– Keep up to date on the latest CSR information: http://www.csrwire.com/
– Finding the best non-profit to connect with for donations and employee volunteerism that align with your corporate values: http://www.justgive.org/, http://www.networkforgood.org/, http://www.volunteermatch.org/

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