Meg Russell, a political researcher at UCL, made the suggestion in an article in Fabian Review, a left-wing think tank publication.
"I would rather trust DfID with my money," Russell wrote. "Because DfID doesn't operate in the same competitive environment, there is less danger of waste."
Patrick Watt, policy co-ordinator at ActionAid, said the idea "didn't bear close scrutiny" and that DfID had higher administration costs than the NGOs it funds.
"When people donate to development NGOs, they're wanting us to do something different to the UK government," he said. "We are able to innovate and take risks."