Beeston’s Blog “Philanthropy’s Silent Minutes” – Emma Beeston writes about why goodwill is so integral to philanthropy

Each month we feature blogs by Emma Beeston of the Emma Beeston Consultancy and Sarah Taragon and Steve Woollett of Clarity CIC.

Emma’s blog for January is entitled “Philanthropy’s Silent Minutes” and considers why goodwill is such an integral part of philanthropy and the act of giving.  

Philanthropy’s Silent Minutes

“Over the festive break I learned about Bristol resident Wellesley Tudor Pole. He is quite a character and it is well worth reading about his wider interests. What struck me most is that in 1940 he started the Silent Minute movement. Backed by King George VI and Winston Churchill and the chimes of Big Ben, the Silent Minute was a ‘spiritual weapon’ in which people made a collective prayer or wish for peace daily at 9pm. The idea was that this combined and focused act of goodwill could help end the war. The practice and the movement had a resurgence following 9/11 and continues to date.

How does this relate to philanthropy?

There is a quote from Margaret Thatcher which says: “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well.” Whilst it is true that what non-profits need most right now is funding, in philanthropy it is not just what you give but how you give that also matters. Having a clear intention to create social change is important. It is this intention that keeps philanthropists giving. It is manifest in the public pledges like the Giving Pledge or Funder Commitment on Climate Change where funders and philanthropists signal their good intentions for others to see.

There is more to any philanthropic exchange than a financial transaction. Fundraisers and their organisations often mention that a donation is a welcome source of funds and also a boost to morale. A gift is also a vote of confidence and a belief in their work. Donors also get a ‘warm glow’ from the transaction, which helps keep them giving. Giving done well is about trust, mutual respect, partnership – all intangibles that make philanthropy about more than money.

There is space for all those involved in giving to spend a silent minute before making each gift or at the start of a grants panel. It can be used to remember what it is intended any grant or donation will achieve. And it can pass on goodwill to the recipients and those they support. Like the Silent Minute, philanthropy is also a collective expression of goodwill.”

The Emma Beeston Consultancy advises grant-makers, companies and families on creating and implementing giving strategies.

For enquiries or to book a free 30-minute consultation, contact Emma at or phone +44 (0) 7810 543737.

Image: Emma Beeston