Charitable giving in the United States declined in 2022 -- only the fourth time in four decades that donations did not increase year over year -- according to the Giving USA report released Tuesday.

Total giving fell 3.4% in 2022 to $499.3 billion in current dollars, a drop of 10.5% when adjusted for inflation. The decline comes at a time when many nonprofits, especially ones providing services to those in need, report an increase in requests for help.

However, Josh Birkholz, chairman of the Giving USA Foundation, which publishes the report and provides data and insights about donation trends, said the results are actually much better than they could have been considering the tough economic climate of late 2022.

“I go back and forth on whether it’s encouraging or discouraging,” Birkholz told The Associated Press in an interview. “There was a 20 to 25% decline in the stock market and an 8% inflation rate, but Americans still gave nearly a half trillion dollars.”

Those 2022 donations came after two record-setting years for charitable giving, driven by the unprecedented needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Giving USA report’s lead researcher. It’s a sign of continued generosity, though there are some areas of concern.

“At the beginning of the 21st century, two thirds of Americans gave,” Osili said. “Today, that is down to under 50% for the first time. So giving has grown, but fewer people are participating.”

The downturn in giving has led to issues at Community Help in Park Slope, better known as CHiPS, as it has in many charities across the country. The Brooklyn, New York, nonprofit operates a soup kitchen and food pantry, as well as supporting single mothers and their infants.

Read the full article about charitable giving in 2022 by Glenn Gamboa at ABC News.