“Where you start matters.” Fox Chase Cancer Center’s sterling reputation as an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Philadelphia region has persisted for years thanks to the excellent care offered there. Fox Chase gives cancer patients access to leading physicians, state-of-the-art technologies, novel therapies and cutting-edge clinical trials—while also supporting cancer research and science that has led to bold discoveries in the field.

S&W and Fox Chase have partnered for the past eight years on direct response, using multi-channel strategies to drive engagement with and revenue for the hospital. Digital outreach has grown in recent years, expanding to email, web sliders and Facebook ads, with amplified efforts for year-end and Giving Tuesday campaigns.


Digital Growth

Through testing and creative refinement, as well as a reliance on best practices, we maximized our response on digital channels to beat year-over-year numbers and get our best ROI yet.

Cross-Departmental Collaboration

Our team worked closely with both institutional advancement and marketing at Fox Chase to create content for Facebook that aligned with fundraising goals while integrating with and supporting awareness campaigns.

The Challenge

Each December, Fox Chase rolls out a matching gift campaign online and through direct mail to solicit year-end gifts. But in a crowded time of year for philanthropic communication that encompasses everything from Giving Tuesday to New Year’s Eve, it can be tough to stand out. Additionally, we were tasked with increasing the response to digital elements, particularly for Facebook ads, where it can be difficult to recoup investment.

The Solution

With a matching gift offer of $75,000 from a longtime Fox Chase supporter, we split Fox Chase’s campaign into two phases. In our initial November emails, year-end mailing and Giving Tuesday Facebook ads, we used a target goal of $50,000 for the matching gift challenge. Then, on December 27, we sent an email extending the match to $75,000 until the end of the year to increase the sense of urgency. Updated Facebook ad creative reflected this higher match goal for the final four days of the advertising run.

In addition, we worked with Fox Chase’s marketing team to develop four Facebook image ads featuring Fox Chase doctors and patients that integrated with both current marketing messaging and the rest of the multi-channel appeal campaign. Fox Chase then enabled technology on their donation pages, allowing activity on them to be tracked by Facebook who then used the data to serve ads to likely prospects.


Fox Chase raised their highest year-end total ever online, with more than $58,000 in gross revenue—2.5 times the previous year’s record high. This was largely driven by the seven-part email series, which raised more than $48,000 in gross revenue, $33,000 more than the year prior.

The strategy of increasing the match from $50,000 to $75,000 over the last four days of the year was a winning one. In that four-day period alone, Fox Chase raised $34,175, which accounted for 70% of total online revenue and 50% of online gifts.

Facebook ads also outperformed their previous year’s counterparts. With 28 gifts and $1,645 in gross revenue, 2019 year-end Facebook ads generated 2.8 times as many donations and 2.3 times as much gross revenue as the 2018 ads. Switching from a campaign that optimized for website traffic to one optimized for donation conversion undoubtedly accounted for this difference, with a 66% lower cost per donor in 2019 than 2018. Additionally, donations to the homepage slider grew over threefold from 9 to 30 in 2019.

Ultimately, the campaign was a success—and used many strategies that are replicable for 2020 and beyond. Great partnership, thoughtful strategy, and a matching gift narrative that added urgency made this stellar campaign possible.

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