$216,337 is the amount St. Elizabeth Shelter received in donations during the 2009 holiday season.

$333,263  is the amount St. Elizabeth Shelter received in donations during the 2010 holiday season (including $100,000 contributed by three donors as part of a matching gift challenge).

" This was not a good year for fundraising, and I think this match really saved us."—Jim Podesta, St. Elizabeth Shelter director of development

In August, St. Elizabeth Shelter realized it was down approximately $200,000 in fundraising from the year before. The downtick caused particular concern because the shelter's newly opened Casa Familia facility desperately needs funding, Director of Development Jim Podesta tells SFR.

Kitchen Angels also felt the pain of a lean donation year, Executive Director Tony McCarty says. At press time, it had received 20 percent fewer donations during the 2010 holiday season than during the same time the year before (though that may have changed as donors rushed to give before the end of the tax year).

"I think what's going on is that things in the economy are uncertain, and people are waiting as long as possible before making a donation," McCarty says.

St. Elizabeth Shelter reversed its donation slump late in 2010 when three donors agreed to put $100,000 toward the Casa Familia shelter if other donors matched that amount. At press time, approximately $90,000 had been donated specifically for Casa Familia, so Podesta was confident the shelter would make the match.

The match challenge brought new donors and provided an incentive to give, Podesta says. One of the three donors also committed to do $50,000 match challenges in 2011 and 2012.

Although the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society couldn't provide figures for the holiday season's numbers by press time, spokesman Bill Hutchison said the shelter actually did much better in 2010 than the two previous years.

“One of the upshots of having two really dreadful years is that if you have anything that starts to improve, anything up from really dreadful is a step up,” Hutchison says. “People tend to give where their heart is. And people’s hearts have been really expansive and generous…”