Most people believe that government, not charities, should pick up the bill for tackling domestic issues such as homelessness, according to a new report.
But the majority also take the view that international problems should be a matter for charities.
These are the results of questions on giving which the Institute of Philanthropy paid to be included in the Government's regular British Social Attitudes Survey.
The report identifies three types of donor. 'Bystanders' give less than £5 a year to charity and make up 30 per cent of the population. They are likely to be young, with an income of less than £12,000 and not religious.
'Contributors' represent 58 per cent and give between £5 and £120 a year.
'Investors' account for 12 per cent and give more than £500 a year in regular, planned and often tax-efficient payments. They tend to be older, interested in politics and regular church-goers.
Beth Breeze, deputy director of the institute, said: "This shows that to get people to give more, we need to increase awareness of the presence and causes of need."