This is according to research commissioned by the organisers of forum3, a recruitment event held for the non-profit sector.
If pay in the sector were equal to that in the commercial world, 90 per cent of the respondents would consider a career in the sector. But low pay puts off 70 per cent.
The email survey polled 800 commercial sector employees working in a range of roles. Half of those surveyed said high-profile fundraising for the London bombings and Boxing Day tsunami - and campaigning for Live8 - had made them consider working in charity.
Three-quarters saw charities as the "sexiest" part of the non-profit sector, compared with just 3 per cent tempted by housing associations.
Deborah Hockham, project director for forum3, said: "It's encouraging to see that the not-for-profit sector is finally losing its cardigan brigade label and being seen as a sector that can offer strong career prospects."