It has been in existence for only four years, but Ethicall has quickly made its mark on the sector with its telephone fundraising services.
The company employs 150 staff, had more than 950,000 conversations in 2010 with supporters of 50 charity clients, and has so far persuaded the public to donate more than £15m to various charitable causes, including Guide Dogs, the RSPB, ActionAid and Epilepsy Action.
But as well as helping charities raise funds, Bristol-based Ethicall is committed to donating a minimum of 10 per cent of its pre-tax profits to local charities in the city - equivalent, on average, to 25 per cent of its post-tax profit. In the past three years, its donations have totalled £250,000.
It gave £50,000 to refurbish the Bristol Samaritans office, £20,000 to provide families staying at a local children's hospice with dinner for a year, £15,000 to save a city farm from imminent closure and £20,000 to help a charity for street workers expand its services.
Ethicall's staff nominate and vote for the charities they wish to support. Before making a final decision, the company's directors meet potential beneficiaries in order to get assurances that any funding provided will produce tangible, long-lasting results. They also make sure they will receive feedback so that Ethicall staff can see the impact the funding has had on the local community.
Ethicall also runs a Fundraiser of the Year award for its staff. The winner is invited to take part in a charity event anywhere in the world for a UK-registered charity of their choice, with costs covered by the company.
In November 2010, the Fundraiser of the Year went to Nepal to work on a house-building project run by ActionAid. In previous years, award winners have been on week-long working trips to projects run by company clients, such as an RSPB reserve in Orkney.
Ethicall also seeks to encourage innovation in fundraising by offering a 10 per cent discount to clients trying new approaches, with the aim of reducing the costs and the associated risks of innovation. The company also offers its clients free fundraising seminars in London, where the majority of them are based.
Eileen Donnelly, group corporate responsibility and sustainable development manager at Virgin Management and one of the judges of the award, said philanthropy was at the core of Ethicall.
"The whole business model is built around raising maximum funds for charity, and this extends to the culture of the organisation and its people," she said. "This is demonstrated by its donation of 10 per cent of pre-tax profits and its adoption of a charity each year for which they raise funds and donate their time."