Members of the public believe other people give less money to charity than they actually do, according to a poll.
The UK Giving 2009 report by the Charities Aid Foundation and the NCVO said 54 per cent donated to charity each month. But a study by Ipsos Mori says only 15 per cent of people believe that more than half of the population donates to charity each month.
The Ipsos Mori report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 people in November, says 30 per cent of respondents estimated that fewer than 20 per cent of people donated to charity in a given month.
The report also reveals that 44 per cent of those polled thought the average monthly gift from donors was less than £6. According to the UK Giving 2009 report, the actual figure is £10.
Sally Panayiotou, head of charities research at Ipsos Mori, said the figures were discouraging because people would be more likely to donate if they thought other people were doing so.
"Cultural and social norms are expectations of behaviour within a specific cultural or social group," she said. "The development of a stronger social norm for charitable giving would offer clear benefits to the voluntary sector."