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  • 11
  • January

How To Enhance Your Reputation Using Philanthropy

It is likely that you have wondered at some point: How can I enhance my reputation using philanthropy? A better way of asking this might be to wonder about specific ways in which philanthropy can enhance anyone’s reputation, especially using a veteran reputation management company that has experience utilizing doing good and promoting it online.

After all, is there a human being on earth whose online reputation is so bad that it can never be enhanced by anything, including philanthropy? Philanthropy itself is a tool just like any other. It has been used throughout the ages by both good people and bad ones. However, both categories generally aim at the same ultimate goal of creating an enhanced reputation of themselves. For example, in the Middle Ages, it was common for people who had led very, shall we say, secular lives to endow some kind of charitable organization at the end of their existence.

This often took the form of a perpetually-funded monastery whose inhabitants were expected to quite literally pray for their deceased benefactor for the rest of eternity. While this might narrowly be regarded as a form of philanthropy, the act’s motive makes it somewhat suspect. In its purest form, philanthropy is undertaken at the benefactor’s expense rather than for their particular exaltation.

Giving away an entire fortune and then living the rest of your life as a busboy in a restaurant could be considered the purest form of philanthropy. Read about the Billionaire who wasn’t if you want great lessons in giving.  Most philanthropic efforts fall in between these two extremes. Particularly among people who still expect to live long, happy lives, philanthropy often is employed to fund some worthy cause but not to the point of impoverishing the philanthropist. As a reputation confirmation or enhancement tool, philanthropy often takes the form of a lasting achievement rather than a temporary gift. Supporting your local classical music station with a quarterly check is a nice thing to do, but nobody really knows about it. In that regard, it is not really a reputation-enhancing form of philanthropy.

Something more permanent, a successor to those dedicated monasteries of the past, is really what is required for having a lasting effect on one’s peers. Endowing a new wing at the art museum or building a new playground for children in the rotten old neighborhood you clawed your way out of is more along the lines of what is needed. After giving such a great gift you can build great press around this and start to rebuild your reputation and replace negative Google search results in place of your new giving.

A great gift, in other words, that keeps on giving even long after the giver has gone to their final reward will serve your reputation in many ways. These can have such a reputational effect as to absolutely reverse the reality of who someone truly was when they were alive. The Rockefeller Foundation is a well-known philanthropic institution funded from the proceeds of John D Rockefeller’s predatory Standard Oil monopoly. While the old robber baron gave away dimes to street urchins, Rockefeller was utterly ruthless as a businessman and ruined countless competitors, often through very suspect methods. Yet nobody remembers that part of his legacy any longer. Instead, all that is seen are the plethora of wonderful good works performed in his name long after he died. Nobody questions where the funding originally came from. In that regard, philanthropy as a reputation enhancement device boils down to a question of tangible involvement. If one were to give a billion dollars to Greenpeace or the Salvation Army, it would be headlines for a day or two, but the gift would ultimately redound to the recipient.

How Philanthropy Pays For An Improved Reputation

Nobody cares who pays for the Christmas kettles or fast boats harassing whaling ships. They care about the people who are doing these things. So a direct reputation in exchange for philanthropy needs to be founded on enduring organizations or monuments undertaken in one’s own name, not as a supporter of someone else’s noble dream. It also depends on becoming someone worthy of being able to create such a legacy. Living a good, generous life and then carrying on afterward is the best way of going about it.

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