The Charity Commission's specialist casework division dealt with 40 per cent more new cases between April and June than in the same period last year.
Neil Robertson, head of the division, which gives legal permission to charities with annual incomes of less than £5m to do things they would be otherwise unable to do, said the recession was partly to blame for the rise.
Robertson said the division had dealt with more insolvent charities and more with no money left that wanted to use endowment funds or novel fundraising methods such as unusual financial instruments.
The recession was also responsible for an increase in enquiries about collaborations and mergers, for which the commission's permission is sometimes required, he said.
A spokeswoman for the commission said the regulator's registration division has also reported a 28 per cent increase in the number of applications during the same period.