I was writing a piece for a charity yesterday on charitable giving in the UK and was quite mind-blown by the scale of operations in the charitable sector.
In the UK alone, there are over 188,000 registered charities which draw in around £35 billion each year.
Around a quarter of that is freely given by individuals - £9 billion from the pockets of Joe and Jessica Average across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
70 per cent of the UK population give to charity every year, and almost half donate funds each month. Women give more often - but men tend to give a little more.
Clearly we're a charitable nation - one of the most charitable per capita in the world in fact. But we're not efficient givers, with too few people Gift Aiding (a way of enabling charities to claim back tax on donations) or Payroll Giving (only 4% of employees participate).
As a consequence, charities lose £ millions each year.
Given that state support for so many local, national and international initiatives is collapsing or non existent - and as a nation we seem averse to paying more tax - should both charities and donors take a little more time to fill in a few forms and set up payroll schemes to really maximise the amount that goes to great causes?