By Alex Stevenson Follow @alex__stevenson
Britain has become a more charitable place in the last 12 months despite the austere financial climate, a survey out today has found.
The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) placed the UK as the fifth most charitable country in the world, up from eighth in 2010.
It found that Britain is the second most generous country in the world in monetary terms, with 79% of the population donating to charity each month. Thailand was first with 85% of its citizens giving money.
The CAF also considered two other measures - 'volunteering time' and 'helping a stranger', which saw Liberia and Turkmenistan emerge on top. Only 28% of Brits give up time in a good cause, with 63% having helped strangers in a typical month.
The survey placed the US as the most charitable country in the world, with Ireland second, Australia third and New Zealand fourth.
CAF chief executive John Low said the UK's improved position showed "just how deep-seated the idea of charity and charitable giving is in our society".
"It is amazing that even during these tough economic times an overwhelming majority of the UK population gives to charity each month.
"However, there is always more that can be done. Creating an even stronger culture of giving in the UK will require ongoing commitment and effort by government, business and charities."
Civil society minister Nick Hurd said the government was pledging £1.2 million to match public support for the Text Santa, Streetsmart and Local Giving Christmas appeals.
"The government is determined to do its bit too and that's why we are supporting innovative models that connect with people in new ways and give fresh impetus to charitable giving," he said.
"In their different ways, these appeals are giving us new opportunities to support those in need whether it be texting, adding a small amount to a restaurant bill or going online to find and support local charities."
Mr Low said the government needed to show "strong leadership" and ensure that tax relief for charitable donations remains simple, up-to-date and works effectively "with the way people give in an increasingly digital and interconnected world".
TOP TEN MOST CHARITABLE NATIONS
10 (11) - Lao People's Democratic Republic
09 (25) - Thailand
08 (8) - Sri Lanka
07 (3) - Canada
06 (7) - Netherlands
05 (8) - UK
04 (=1) - New Zealand
03 (=1) - Australia
02 (3) - Ireland
01 (5) - USA