With rent and inflation on the rise, we are looking at what is likely to be a sustained economic downturn. As people struggle to make ends meet amid rising costs, charities providing essential services, including food and housing, will see an increase in the needs of the communities they serve. History suggests that even as demand grows, economic downturns reduce charitable donations. In 2008, charitable giving dropped 7 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, followed by another 6.2 percent decrease in 2009. Giving didn’t begin to rebound until 2010, with just a 1.3 percent increase.