The revenue brought in by charity magazine publishing has grown by £20.4m in the past two years to £54.4m, according to new research.
The Customer Publishing Industry 2005/06, a report produced by market analyst Mintel on behalf of the Association of Publishing Agencies, revealed that charity magazines are now worth 8 per cent of the customer publishing market - an increase of three percentage points on 2004.
This figure makes the charity sector the fourth biggest producer of customer magazines. The only industries to have larger market shares are retail and distribution, which accounts for 15 per cent of the market, financial services (14 per cent) and the automotive industry (9 per cent).
Julia Hutchison, director of APA, said charities faced different challenges from those encountered by other customer publishers. "The attraction of many customer titles is that consumers feel they are getting something for nothing, but charities cannot be seen to be profligate with donated money," she said.
"As a result, charity publications are often less glossy - although this doesn't compromise design or content - and less frequently produced than their private sector counterparts."
Ian McAuliffe, publishing director of Think Publishing, which produces magazines for charities including the Scouts, the Wildlife Trusts and the Ramblers' Association, said: "A magazine adds value to the charity and gives members a read that will educate, inform and represent a significant part of its membership.
"People who join charities do so because they are interested in a particular subject matter. By giving them a magazine that reflects their interests, you're giving them a reason to be part of the organisation."
Every one of the 27 charity titles that are members of the Association of Publishing Agencies took part in the research. These included the NSPCC's quarterly magazine Your Family, St John Life, the publication from St John Ambulance, and Arthritis Today, the magazine for members of Arthritis Research.
In all, 34 publishing companies accounting for a total of 332 customer titles took part in the research for the APA report.