Identifying and overcoming barriers to raising funds from individuals for tobacco prevention
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Introduction: Nonprofit tobacco prevention programs receive a level of public support that is disproportionately low to the burden of tobacco-related disease and death in the United States (US). Individual donors’ recent emphasis on the importance of measurable results and cost-effectiveness is particularly conducive to funding opportunities offered through evidence-based tobacco prevention programs. The American public’s perception of tobacco prevention as a cause worth funding through individual donations has yet to be researched. Methods: An online survey asked randomly-selected participants about their charitable giving motivations, assessed their knowledge of tobacco use and lung cancer as leading causes of death in the US, and inquired about their perceptions of tobacco prevention programs as potential funding opportunities. Respondents were segmented by demographic characteristics, knowledge of tobacco use and lung cancer, and charitable giving motivations to inform the analysis of barriers to raising funds from individuals for tobacco prevention. Results: Survey responses from 245 individuals suggest that other giving priorities, the perception of tobacco use as a choice, and a lack of awareness of relevant organizations are the main barriers to raising funds from individuals for tobacco prevention. Approximately three in four respondents correctly named smoking as the cause of most lung cancers, and a similar proportion was receptive to the possibility of donating to an organization working in tobacco prevention. One third of these respondents reported that more information about such organizations and/or the results of their work might make them more likely to support such programs, particularly those that educate children about the harms of tobacco use. Discussion: Nonprofit organizations working in tobacco prevention could augment public support of their programs by reframing the issue of tobacco use, appealing to cognitive and emotional donor motivations, and leveraging innovative programs. By correcting misperceptions about the consequences of tobacco use, as well as characterizing tobacco dependence as an addiction that inhibits the choice of tobacco users, these organizations may be able to help accelerate progress in domestic tobacco prevention efforts.
- Health services