Does Foreign Aid Really Work? was written by Roger Riddell, the former international director of Christian Aid.
Riddell found that 30 per cent of aid donors were sceptical about how their money is spent.
He told Third Sector that people's moral obligation to give was so strong that they donated even if they were not confident that their money was being used effectively.
"I would hope that the aid charities can get their supporters to engage and interact with them so there can be a sophisticated discussion about the issue," he said.
Andrew Cook, director of communications and fundraising at development charity WaterAid, said: "We work on the assumption that if people are giving us money then they are trusting us to spend it well.
"The public understands that organisations like us work in difficult circumstances sometimes, and it is incumbent on charities to be honest and transparent and say what they have learned from their difficulties."