The proportion of people planning to cut their charitable giving is rising, according to the latest results from Charity Awareness Monitor, published by research body nfpSynergy.
The results also suggest that the proportion of people planning to cut back their spending in other areas, such as eating out or buying clothes, is falling.
The think tank surveyed 1,000 adults in the UK in November 2008, May 2009 and September 2009. It asked where they were likely to cut their household spending over the following year as a result of the recession.
The proportion of people who expected to give less to charity increased from 34 per cent in November 2008 to 42 per cent in September 2009.
But the proportion who planned to reduce spending on clothes fell from 60 per cent to 54 per cent and the proportion planning to spend less on food shopping dropped from 52 per cent to 45 per cent.
"Donations to charities were initially not deemed an area to cut back on in response to the economic gloom," said Rebecca Molyneux, a researcher at nfpSynergy. "But now it is the only area in which the proportion of people planning to make cuts has increased. It shows a self-preserving trend that is very worrying for the sector."
Sixty-two per cent of respondents planned to spend less on eating out, down from 64 per cent in November 2008. Thirty-four per cent expected to spend less on petrol, down from 47 per cent the first time the survey was carried out.
Respondents from poorer backgrounds were more likely to be planning to reduce their charitable donations.
The survey found that 51 per cent of people from the C2 social group, generally defined as skilled manual workers, planned to cut their charitable giving, compared with 37 per cent of those from the AB group of managerial and professional workers.
The poll also found that almost half of men expected to reduce their charitable giving this year. In the September 2009 survey, 47 per cent of men said they expected to give less money to charity. For women, the figure was 38 per cent.