Philanthropy is good for your soul and your personal brand. Where you give, how you give and why you give can be a huge window into who you are. As a personal branding coach, I recommend all my clients consider making a donation through kiva.org.
Through this site, you can spend as little as $25 and rock someone’s world, including your own. Impossible to believe, but for the cost of a movie ticket or two in LA or any big US city, you can buy a business for someone in Africa or another emerging place (including part of the US). That’s right. A cow, craft materials or seed money for seed can cost you no more than a latte for five weeks. Or more, if you are able and so inclined.
Good and smart
Not only is philanthropy a good thing to do for your karma, it’s smart when you do it on Kiva. They have a better than 90% repayment record. Yes, you get repaid, albeit without interest. You can take your money back, or put it back into the next venture you want to help lift off the ground.
Because Kiva does such a great job of vetting the people seeking these microloans – and such a great job of helping you understand where in the world your money is – you get a lot by giving relatively little. It’s brought to you by some of the PayPal genius runaways who definitely understand the power of small amounts of money. They perfected the simple for people to spend. In this case, they also help you get it back, with a large dose of good feelings in between.
It’s all good
Something good happens when you learn by investing yourself, your money and your attention in a serious way. I remember buying a few shares in toy companies when my parents were teaching me about the stock market. I remember looking at ads in the paper to see how far my afterschool earnings would go if I had to buy a car. And, I remember the shock and awe of my first mortgage on a house in Southern California.
Now you and I have the power beyond meeting our own needs. We have the power to be venture capitalists either at home or abroad.
So, why is this good for your personal brand? It’s good because it gives you something meaningful to talk about. It gives you something positive to say about your endeavors – especially important if you are not in the job of your dreams. It makes you a world citizen because you participate – in fact on KIVA you can compete – with groups all over the place.
Go see it – it’s just uplifting to be on the site. It will change your point of view about where we are all headed, if you’ve been as saddened and worried as I have about the 99% of people who share less than half of the wealth on this planet (much less).
Then, post, tweet, update, upload photos and otherwise brag about the success of the person or organization you support. Give us a reason to see your status on a social network, and put the one thing between us that always connects us: a smile.