The total donated rose from £10.3bn in the year to February 2007 to £11.2bn in the same period for 2007/08. But this year's survey of 3,316 adults shows it fell to £9.9bn in the year to February 2009.
Medical causes and children were the most popular types of charity, the survey shows. Fifty-four cent of respondents said they had given to charity in the period surveyed, a fall of 2 per cent from the same period the previous year. The median gift was £10, down from £11.
The survey shows that only 40 per cent of donations were Gift-Aided. John Low, Chief Executive of CAF, urged everyone to make the most of tax-effective giving and called on the Government to reform Gift Aid.
"The Government could ensure there is maximum participation from donors by simplifying the scheme and the way it works for higher-rate taxpayers," he said.