The value of charity investments fell by about 6.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, according to WM Performance Services.
The WM Charity Fund Monitor, which collects data from most major charity investors, also showed that charity investments lost 20 per cent of their value in the past 12 months.
In the first quarter of 2009, investments lost value in all major asset classes other than cash, which rose by 0.2 per cent. UK equities fell in value by 9.1 per cent in that period, and overseas equities fell by 10.7 per cent.
John Kelly, head of client investment at investment house CCLA, said bonds issued by some companies and shares in medium-sized organisations had offered positive returns. But overall figures had been dragged down by poor performances from investments in the financial sector, he said.
"January and February were terrible," Kelly said. "Investors just wanted to wear tin hats, sit in a shed and hope the world would go away. But March was more positive."