Film-maker Richard Curtis paid tribute to the dedication of the voluntary sector's full-time workforce when he accepted the award for Personality of the Year at Third Sector's inaugural Excellence Awards on 6 October.
"I couldn't crack jokes all day if you didn't all do what you do, full-time," Curtis said.
He added that by being involved in the Make Poverty History campaign, he had come to realise the full importance of combining fundraising with campaigning.
"It is as important to push the Government to do what it ought to be doing as it is to do what you do," he told the audience.
Curtis was chosen from a shortlist of three that also included rock stars Bono and Bob Geldof.
He raised a laugh by quipping: "Just as well Bob didn't win - he'd only have spoilt the occasion."
When asked what he had planned for 2006, Curtis said: "It is my determination not to let this go. There must be an end to extreme poverty, and the Government has to do its job."