Eighty per cent of charitable foundations have maintained their spending as a proportion of their endowment since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, according to a survey by the Association of Charitable Foundations.
Another 5 per cent of trusts increased their spending, says the survey, released at the association's annual conference today.
The research, based on 226 responses from members of the ACF and the Charity Finance Group, and bursars of Oxford and Cambridge colleges, was carried out in association with the investment managers Schroders Charities.
It will form part of a report to be published by the ACF later in the winter, which will focus on the key questions facing charities that rely on investment returns to fund their activities in the long term.
David Emerson, chief executive of the ACF, said in his opening speech to the conference that "where other funders and industries have retreated, foundations have held steady" in their funding of charities.
Emerson said that, in the context of a prolonged economic slump, independent funders were asking themselves how long they could maintain their current rates of spending.
"Many funders are considering how to make the most of what they have in order to achieve their charitable missions, whether as smarter investors, better grant-makers or by working more actively with others to combat the problems communities face," he said.