Four Ways Businesses Can Give Back Using Digital to Make a Difference

There is a quote by Maya Angelou that goes, “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” For many companies, being able to give back sets the tone for creating the core values of the culture.

And, if you want your work and business to impact the world, you need to be able to connect your business with others who can benefit from your brand. One of the greatest challenges is where to start, especially with so much information available online and viewed through different digital channels. Don’t worry; in this post, we will give you ideas on how you can give back and even take advantage of all the digital information out there.

Here are four great ways a business can give back and use online and digital experiences to help.

1. Unite with Your Partners

Reach out to your community of partners and join forces. The first step would be to collaborate on the charities that mean the most to your business and your partners. Once decided on the foundation, you will be able to narrow down how to give back. For many, your partners might not be local, but with the growing trend to help through digital channels, this should not be an issue.

One way to get started is to give part of every sale to a nonprofit. You can set a time limit on this offering or continue it over the long run. One company that continues to give proceeds of product sales is TOMS, and they have now extended their reach to partner with 100 companies.

They take advantage of sharing the digital experience on social media and redirect visitors back to their site (shown in the image below)

Helping to spread the word expands their impact and encourages others to help, either through partnerships or simply by buying their products.

2. Sponsor an Event

The exposure you get from working with charitable foundations is often tough to measure but worth the expense. One company related to the outdoor fitness industry realized enormous success by sponsoring a large bike race with over 7,000 participants. They used the race, which was attended by their target audience, to offer discounts, engage with the participants, and align their brand with a great experience and cause. Now, this well-known company can be seen sponsoring or taking part in hundreds of events across the country.

Also, the company is smart about using social media, mobile apps, and online videos to help get the word out about sponsored events, which lead back to the brand identity and product they are selling.

3. Offer Your Skills

As an expert in your industry, you have an area of expertise that’s of value to others. Consider teaching classes in your area of expertise that could be of value to those who are have been out of the workforce or looking to advance in their field.

With the right technology, you can stream or record sessions and share through different platform solutions. Or, you could use a webcam and conduct your training live, which gives the added benefit of interacting with others.

4. Encourage Employee Volunteerism

A great way to boost the culture of your enterprise and make a difference is to start with the employees. Many businesses are encouraging employees to volunteer by offering paid time off.

Employees can give back in several ways, and some, they may not even know about. With digital experiences advancing, you can now become a digital volunteer.

The organizations that are thriving as volunteering declines are the ones who are using digital volunteers and who make it simple to find their volunteer openings online.

Here are a few successful service organizations that will make it easy for you to volunteer:

  • The United Nations — Allows you to choose from several volunteer opportunities available through the United Nations based on either your skills, experience, a development topic, health, or even a specific geographic location. Check out the openings here for more information on how to help.

  • American Red Cross — The Red Cross offers training for individuals interested in assisting their social engagement team. Individuals can communicate with people on social media and other online tools during times of disaster. Volunteers help people obtain the information they are looking for, help direct people to where they can get help if it’s needed, and comfort the distressed on behalf of the Red Cross. If you are interested in providing help digitally using social media, this may be a good volunteer opportunity for you

  • All For Good — The All For Good database makes it easy to search by your local area and state for virtual opportunities. What sticks out the most regarding the All For Good database is the variety of positions highlighted by both leading nonprofits and local grassroots organizations, giving all positions equal visibility. Search here for the current virtual volunteer opportunities with All For Good and see if one could be a fit for you.

How do you find digital or virtual volunteer opportunities in your community? And has your enterprise taken advantage of new digital channels and volunteer openings? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Introducing Crafter CMS 2.5 Community

We’re very excited to announce the release of Crafter CMS Community version 2.5.0! This release of Crafter delivers a brand new authoring interface and a new Crafter Studio architecture in addition to a number of other features, enhancements and bug fixes that are sure to help your team create and deliver more engaging digital experiences! Here is a quick summary of what’s new:

Updated Authoring Interface

Crafter Studio, Crafter CMS’s authoring component just got a facelift and a major upgrade.  Let’s walk through a number of the changes:

 

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Modernized Look and Feel

The first thing you will notice when you log in to Crafter Studio is a brand new look and feel.  2.5.x does not drastically change the basic navigation of the application but the interface is cleaner and more modern.  We’ve also begun to transition our Studio interface code to Angular JS.

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Internationalized Interface

We’ve also added internationalization support for the Studio interface. New translation packages for the application are easy to produce and install.
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Improved In-Context Editing

The easier it is to identify and quickly make content changes to your pages and components, the more engaging content and experiences your team can create.  In Crafter CMS 2.5 we’ve updated the in-context editing to make it faster to set up and easy to use.
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Improved Drag and Drop

We’ve also improved drag and drop.  The interface is cleaner, more beautiful and authors now have better categorization and organization of their available widgets.

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Improved Code Editing

Now it’s easier than ever to update your scripts and templates in Crafter CMS.  We’ve improved our code editor with a more functional, full screen code editing experience and our new code templates make coding easier and faster.

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New Project Blue prints

Crafter Studio 2.5 also ships with a number of new Project Blue Prints that provide examples and help you get up and running with your project quickly.

  • The Pluton Theme which demonstrates how Crafter easily supports any kind of markup or responsive design framework
  • The Angular JS Example Memory application which demonstrates how Crafter is a perfect platform for content as a service, single page applications and Component based content.

Improved Architecture

In previous versions of Crafter Studio, our authoring tools were an extension of the Alfresco Share application and integrated with in-process Alfresco services.  In this release we moved Studio to it’s own independent application. Now communication takes place with the underlying repository through an abstraction layer and over CMIS for Alfresco.  This allows us to continue to provide a deep integration with repositories like Alfresco but to manage the lifecycle and upgrade of Studio independently.

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Improved Engine and Development Capabilities

Crafter Engine, the dynamic content delivery server in Crafter CMS continues to improve and impress. As many of you know Crafter Engine is by far, the fastest and most scalable dynamic content delivery server on the planet. It’s used to run many of the world’s largest web properties, mission critical portals and apps.  With Crafter 2.5 we’ve made some changes that will make the development of your sites, applications and other digital content applications so fast and easy it will blow your mind.

Server Side Scripting

featured-Groovy-3MIn our 2.4 release we introduced a Groovy scripting capability that along with Freemarker templates enable developers to write and deploy applications and RESTful services very quickly without heavy deployment.

Many developers in the Java space that are looking for the power and flexibility of the MEAN stack are finding Crafter Engine’s Spring MVC, Groovy and built in MongoDB integration a much better solution than switching out their application tier for Node.js and the Javascript language on the server. They know Spring, they know Groovy, it’s tried, true and there is no comparison performance-wise. Crafter Engine blows Node.js out of the water.

In Crafter 2.5 we’ve continue to improve our scripting capabilities. Building on our ability to script page, component and RESTful service controllers we’ve added support for interceptors (Servlet Filter like functionality) and scheduled tasks. AWESOME!  While you will always be able to create Java backed Spring beans, with Crafter Engine 2.5 there’s almost nothing you can’t do in script.

Support for GIT, SVN and Other Source Code Repositories

Developers love Crafter Engine because it’s fast, familiar and easy to develop for.  With the 2.5 release, development just got EVEN BETTER.  With 2.5.x we support full development of your applications and websites on top of GIT and other source code repositories.  Developers simply point Crafter Engine to their Source Code Management (SCM) check out location and start working.  Every change is tracked and shared with the team by SCM.

This is useful for any kind of application development but it’s AMAZING for WCM and digital experience projects.  The developer/designer vs author split has long been a huge point of pain for web teams of all sizes.  Everyone wants to use the tools that are best for them.  Crafter CMS now bridges this divide in a simple, beautiful way that lets developer and authors each use the workflows and tools that are best suited to their needs.  It’s powerful, it’s elegant and only Crafter can do it.
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Easy to Install and Setup!

Installing enterprise software can be tough.  With Crafter CMS 2.5 we’ve simplified our packaging and made the installation as simple as downloading and opening a zip file.  It doesn’t matter if you are installing on Windows, Linux, or OSX, it’s all the same simple install.  Give it a try!

Alfresco 5 Support

Crafter CMS adds support for the latest version 5.x of Alfresco’s open source, enterprise-class content repository.  Alfresco is the leading open source content repository in the world and continues to improve year over year.  Our architectural work in 2.5 enables us to more easily provide deep integration with Alfresco and certification.

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Crafter is the award-winning Web content and experience management solution that allows leading enterprises to build personalized digital experiences across all online channels. To learn more about the open source Crafter CMS project, connect with our community and download Crafter CMS 2.5.0 here.

The Enterprise Edition of Crafter CMS, which includes commercial licenses, production support, cloud offerings and integration services, is available through Crafter Software and its certified partner network.

Crafter Software Announces Annual Global Partner Awards

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Crafter Software recently announce our first annual global partner awards.  These awards recognize outstanding performance of System Integrator and Technology Partners. Partners are selected based on demonstrated excellence in the areas of customer satisfaction, innovation and open source community involvement.

“Crafter Software experienced over 200% growth in sales in 2014, in large part due to our exceptional partner ecosystem,” said Russ Danner, VP of Products at Crafter Software. “Crafter CMS is chosen by many of the world’s top brands for building next generation customer experiences because of its ease of use and its unique architecture. Our partners are instrumental in helping our customers quickly identify and implement innovative solutions that drive great customer experiences and better bottom line results.”

The following companies are recipients of the Crafter Software Partner Awards for 2014.

North America Partner of the Year Award: Rivet Logic
“Today’s content, data and user experience challenges require a new approach,” said Alaaeldin El-Nattar, Executive Vice President of Client Services at Rivet Logic. “Crafter CMS is the most modern open source and SaaS platform of its kind. Crafter enables our team of experts to deliver truly engaging websites, sleek mobile applications, and rich multi-channel digital experiences for our clients.”

EMEA Partner of the Year Award: Sourcesense
“Crafter CMS enables Sourcesense to meet the need for a full suite of WCM and ECM capabilities for large, high profile organizations throughout Europe” said Massimo Massacesi, Partner & Alliances Director of Sourcesense.

Crafter Enterprise Innovator Award: Blue Fish Development Group
“Crafter’s WCM architecture and integration with enterprise content management makes it possible to deliver a wide range of content solutions to our clients – including traditional websites, e-commerce, portal and other content oriented applications on premise or in the cloud.” said Jeff Philipp, CEO, Blue Fish Development Group.

Crafter Cloud Innovator Award: Tribloom
“It is no secret that many CIOs are moving their business systems to the cloud. Crafter Software’s SaaS and hybrid solutions provide a high ROI and allow organizations to focus their resources on what matters most to their business. Crafter Cloud is leading the way for the future of web content management.” said Michael McCarthy, CTO, Tribloom.

Crafter CMS’s award-winning web content and experience management solution, paired with our partners’ specialized experience in modern open source and cloud implementations, has helped leading enterprises reclaim freedom over their websites, mobile applications and multi-channel digital experiences.

To learn more about our exceptional partners visit our Partner Page.