Nine per cent of people in the UK account for 66 per cent of all the time and money donated to charities, according to research by the Charities Aid Foundation.
A report called Britain’s Civic Core: Who are the People Powering Britain’s Charities? is based on a survey of 2,027 UK adults between 31 July and 1 August 2013 that asked respondents about their attitudes towards and involvement with charities and social causes.
People were asked how much they donated to charity and how much time they volunteered. The research found that 24 per cent of people in the UK do little or nothing for charity – the "zero givers".
The 9 per cent who are responsible for two-thirds of the UK’s charitable activity are classified as the "civic core".
The other 67 per cent of people in the UK, who account for the remaining 34 per cent of charitable activity, are labelled the "middle ground".
People in the civic core would give a minimum of £352 in donations and a minimum of 63 hours a year to charity.
CAF said it published the report ahead of the party conference season to try to spark a debate about how Britain could be made a more generous society.
According to the research, members of the civic core have a greater sense of community spirit and civic duty than other groups. Forty-six per cent of the most generous group agree that there is a strong sense of community in the UK, compared with 39 per cent of the middle ground and 31 per cent of zero givers.
Ninety-one per cent of the civic core agree that voting is important, compared with 85 per cent of the middle ground and 73 per cent of zero givers.
Only 41 per cent of zero givers think it is important that people respect and preserve the environment, compared with 68 per cent of the civic core.
Members of the civic core are also more likely to leave money to charities in their wills. Thirty-eight per cent of the civic core believe that they owe it to society to leave money to charitable causes, compared with 13 per cent of zero givers.
Slightly more than half of the civic core, 51 per cent, strongly agree it is rewarding to feel you have helped people in need in some way, compared with 38 per cent of the middle ground and 21 per cent of zero givers.
Sixty per cent of the civic core are female and 33 per cent are aged over 65.
John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: "This report raises serious questions about the nature of society in 21st-century Britain.
"Britain is one of the most charitable countries in the world, yet this research shows a stark divide in society between those who do the most for good causes and those who do little if anything at all.
"It is a worrying fact that nearly one in four people do very little if anything to support charities, which are at the forefront of civil society. Charities, government and businesses can all encourage people to discover how rewarding it is to support the causes we all care about."