More than half of Britons did some form of voluntary work last year, with women and older people doing the most, according to a new report.
A survey of more than 2,000 adults by insurance firm Zurich found that 55% took part in at least one volunteering activity in 2011, including fund-raising, supporting school activities or helping out at a charity shop or hospital.
Paul Emery, of Zurich, said: "It is encouraging to see that despite time and money both being tight over the last year, so many people volunteer.
"It is essential that everyone can see the big range of volunteering activities they can take part in, whether it's watering next door's plants or caring for an elderly neighbour."
Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd said: "It's very positive news to hear that lots of people did voluntary work last year - especially in a time of economic difficulty.
"It just goes to show that we all want a bigger, stronger society where people get involved and do their bit so it's vital that we keep up the pace of reform and make it easier for more people to take part.
"The Government wants to support volunteers and to make it easier for people to do their bit.
"This summer up to 30,000 16-year-olds will take part in the National Citizen Service, and other schemes, such as the £10 million Innovation In Giving Fund and the £20 million Social Action Fund, are developing new ideas, making the most of technology and encouraging volunteering across the generations."