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Expanding the Reach of Health Campaigns: Can Community Organizations Serve as Viable Channels of Health Information?
Unformatted Document Text:  Expanding the Reach 20 divided into groups of individuals based on some meaningful criterion (Rimal & Adkins, in press). The criterion used to segment the audience, in turn, depends upon the objective of the campaign (Cirksena & Flora, 1995). For example, health campaigns designed to change individuals’ behaviors may segment the audience according to criteria such as audience members’ psychological profile, their demographic characteristics, and their communicative behaviors (Williams & Flora, 1995). Community organizations can facilitate this segmentation process because of the ready access they provide to a group of individuals who are homogenous according to some criterion that ties them together. Finding the fit between this criterion and campaign objectives may be the most fruitful objective to pursue if community organizations are to be used as viable channels for health information. Because membership in community organizations is usually voluntary, messages emanating from the organization are likely to be received with greater levels of trust, which can enhance their persuasive appeal. Further, because members are bound by a common set of values, the potential to exert social influence is likely to be much greater if the assistance of community organizations can be elicited by the campaign. Once health campaigns can enlist the support of key members, including those of opinion leaders, normative influences are likely to further propel changes among the larger membership. It should be noted that the findings reported in this paper are based only on total reported membership, not on the level of involvement in the organizations. It is quite possible, indeed quite likely, that many individuals belong only to a single organization and devote most of their time to it. According to the measure of social capital adopted in this paper, such individuals would be classified as low on membership. It is also possible that individuals are members of multiple organizations and active in none. This raises the question: Which is a better measure of

Authors: Stephens, Keri., Rimal, Rajiv. and Flora, June.
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Expanding the Reach 20
divided into groups of individuals based on some meaningful criterion (Rimal & Adkins, in
press). The criterion used to segment the audience, in turn, depends upon the objective of the
campaign (Cirksena & Flora, 1995). For example, health campaigns designed to change
individuals’ behaviors may segment the audience according to criteria such as audience
members’ psychological profile, their demographic characteristics, and their communicative
behaviors (Williams & Flora, 1995). Community organizations can facilitate this segmentation
process because of the ready access they provide to a group of individuals who are homogenous
according to some criterion that ties them together. Finding the fit between this criterion and
campaign objectives may be the most fruitful objective to pursue if community organizations are
to be used as viable channels for health information.
Because membership in community organizations is usually voluntary, messages
emanating from the organization are likely to be received with greater levels of trust, which can
enhance their persuasive appeal. Further, because members are bound by a common set of
values, the potential to exert social influence is likely to be much greater if the assistance of
community organizations can be elicited by the campaign. Once health campaigns can enlist the
support of key members, including those of opinion leaders, normative influences are likely to
further propel changes among the larger membership.
It should be noted that the findings reported in this paper are based only on total reported
membership, not on the level of involvement in the organizations. It is quite possible, indeed
quite likely, that many individuals belong only to a single organization and devote most of their
time to it. According to the measure of social capital adopted in this paper, such individuals
would be classified as low on membership. It is also possible that individuals are members of
multiple organizations and active in none. This raises the question: Which is a better measure of


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