Pensioners are Britain's most generous donors, according to a report published by Mintel.
Research showed that 64 per cent of Britons donated more than £5 to charity last year. Among those aged 65 and above, this figure rose to 75 per cent.
Those aged between 15 and 24, or born in the post-Second World War baby boom, were also less likely to give than pensioners.
More than 25,000 people across the UK took part in the survey, which also showed that although young people are the least likely to give, they are more than twice as likely than the average Brit to buy charity wristbands.
Matt King, senior market analyst at Mintel, said: "The relative apathy of younger consumers shows there is huge potential for charities to make themselves more relevant to the under-25s."
Emergency appeals and buying charitable Christmas cards were the most popular ways of donating. Setting up a direct debit as a result of direct mail and being stopped in the street to give were the least popular.
Since 2003 there has been an increase in giving by adults, but King said the gap between philanthropists and occasional donors must be bridged, because donations between £50 and £100 were the least common amounts given.
The most popular causes were cancer, children and the Poppy Day Appeal, with increased interest in overseas aid an important trend.