Nearly three quarters (73%) of all respondents to a survey carried out by PwC in conjunction with the Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Finance Group reported improving their fundraising practice over the past year.

Very little of the money that may come from the super-rich is ever likely to find its way into the accounts of the grassroots voluntary organisations that make up the majority of charities.

PwC survey shows 80% of charities believe press and public scrutiny is the biggest challenge they face

As Peter Beresford professor of social policy at Brunel University points out, today the government's U-turn on efforts to restrict tax relief to super-rich givers shows just what muscle big charity has. There seems to be a growing divide between small charitable organisations – with little profile but high energy, real street credibility and beneficiary involvement – and the traditional large organisations – with big reserves, highly paid chief executives and expensive central London headquarters, adds Beresford.

But criticism of philanthropy can go far deeper than just highlighting wasteful schemes like PlayPump. At its worst, charity is said to distract us from the root causes of need. That is, lack of access to well-paid work. Or as Oscar Wilde put it: “… remedies do not cure the disease; they merely prolong it.”

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She added: “It is too early to tell what the long term financial consequences of the changes to fundraising regulation will be and the impact on every charity will be different. However, every fundraising charity needs to think about how their business model will be impacted and start making plans now in order to adapt to potential shortfalls.”

Many of the replies are straightforward reminders of poverty and global hunger. And it is when we think about urgent need that we start to really focus our minds on how to do the most good with the money we have to donate.

Learn more about all of these charities and others at Charity Navigator.

PwC survey shows 80% of charities believe press and public scrutiny is the biggest challenge they face

The money is a huge boost to the Samaritans, who raised £6.7m in the latest year available, 2010 - according to this data from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

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The death of Claire Squires in the London marathon - and subsequent influx of donations to the Samaritans - have drawn attention to the size of Britain's charities.

Learn more about all of these charities and others at Charity Navigator.

Even Madonna, the world famous popstar, joined the debate. She is a graduate of Rochester Adams High School, about 30 miles north of Detroit, and so she invited Bezos on a trip with her to the Motor City, hash-tagging her Twitter reply with charities in the area.

But their survival is dependent on the generosity of individuals. Almost two thirds of their meagre income does comes from ordinary, local people raising funds in a variety of ways from car boot sales to sponsored swims and rattling tins.

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Donations and purchases, which includes membership dues and legacies, account for around £14bn of charities' total income (39%). Donations make up more than a third of the income of the household name charities. They employ teams of professional fundraisers and have departments dedicated to securing legacies, getting major gifts from wealthy philanthropists and signing up new supporters in the street which shores up their income year on year even during a recession. The RNLI for example says that six out of ten of its launches are funded by legacies. For every £1 given to the RNLI 81p is spent on providing a rescue service, but 16p is spent on generating voluntary income. The big cancer charities and animal charities, such as the Donkey Sanctuary and People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, consistently top the list for legacy income.

The death of Claire Squires in the London marathon - and subsequent influx of donations to the Samaritans - have drawn attention to the size of Britain's charities.

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Attorney Errol Copilevitz represents some of the worst charities in the U.S. Hear reporter Kendall Taggart discuss meeting Copilevitz.

The money is a huge boost to the Samaritans, who raised £6.7m in the latest year available, 2010 - according to this data from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

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The FSH Society is the world’s largest and most progressive grass-roots network of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), a genetic muscle disorder in which the muscles of the face, shoulder blades and upper arms are among the most affected.

An anonymous tip or document can open the door to more reporting.

Most charities have taken action to improve the way they fundraise following last year’s scandals.