These are some of the findings in a report published by the market intelligence provider Key Note, collated from the responses of 958 adults who were interviewed by the market researcher BMRB in July. The results were compared with a similar poll conducted in April 2003.
In 2003, 80 per cent of those surveyed had given to charity in the previous six months. By 2005, this figure had dropped to 66 per cent.
Furthermore, only 13 per cent of this year's respondents agreed that "charities spend money more efficiently than the Government would", compared with 59 per cent in 2003.
It also showed a slump in the number of people buying National Lottery tickets, donating by direct debit or standing order and giving through a television appeal such as Comic Relief. But Comic Relief said this year had seen its "best Red Nose Day ever".
On a positive note, the survey found a substantial drop - from 39 per cent to 12 per cent - in the proportion who think "charities spend too much on advertising". And confidence seems to be growing that donations are being spent properly. In 2003, 72 per cent said they would give more to charity if they knew it reached the end cause. In 2005, just 28 per cent agreed with this.
The Institute of Fundraising did not wish to comment on the study other than to say that the two surveys should not be directly compared because the six-month period ending in April 2003 included Christmas, the most lucrative time in the fundraising calendar.
The 122-page Charity Funding Report also consolidates other research studies from organisations including the Charities Aid Foundation, the Charity Commission and the Institute of Fundraising, to paint a picture of the current state of giving in the UK.