Religious people donate more than twice as much to charity as those who are not, according to a survey by the Charities Aid Foundation.
CAF found that those who said they had religious beliefs gave an average of £576 to charity over the previous year, compared with £235 by people with no religious faith.
However, only 31 per cent of religious donors had given money to a religious activity.
The top two causes for both religious and non-religious donors were medical charities and overseas aid.
The research was carried out for CAF’s 2011 Market Tracker Report, which is only published internally. It is based on a survey of 507 donors who give at least £50 to charity each year.
Richard Harrison, director of research at CAF, said: "These results not only show that those of faith are more generous to charity in general, but that their giving is not uniquely focused on their own religious activities.
"If anything, people of faith broadly give in line with the rest of the general public – to a variety of different appeals."
Only 51 per cent of those identifying themselves as religious said they had strong beliefs. But Harrison said: "The survey shows that there is a link between associating with a religion and charitable behaviour, even when people aren’t actively practising their faith."