Thanks to the organization’s extensive knowledge about cancer, the Swedish Cancer Society is also active in areas such as public opinion and spreading knowledge about cancer, as well as results of cancer research.
The Swedish Cancer Society was founded in 1951 to support cancer research since government subsidies were – and remain to be – only modest.
The Swedish Cancer Society’s core activity is financing research. In 2013 the Research Commission award 401 million Swedish kronor to research projects, care development projects in cancer research positions, grants and other areas. Additional areas of support include participation in courses and conferences related to cancer, as well as scientific meetings and collaboration groups.
The crucial aspects to consider when awarding grants are each project’s originality, anticipated news value and feasibility, and its link to cancer. The process of selecting the very best research projects follows established procedures and is closely regulated. In May each year researchers submit applications describing the aims and expected results of their projects, along with a cost calculation. Applications are then forwarded to eight different prioritization committees for evaluation. The various committees’ proposals are assessed in October, and in November the Research Commission makes a decision regarding which projects will be funded. The committees and the Commission jointly include some 60 experts in various cancer-related areas.
Regulations stipulate that the Research Commission should follow the same principles as government research councils – such as the national Swedish Research Council – when awarding grants. The Research Commission’s aim is to support the projects that represent the highest quality in the field of cancer, whatever the focus. This means that the selection takes place in national competition and does not take into account the field of research or the geographic location. However, there are some exceptions where targeted funds are awarded to research areas of particular urgency.
Opinion-leading and the spreading of knowledge
As one of Sweden’s largest organizations in the field of cancer, it is vital to actively participate in the general debate about the disease. In 2001 the Swedish Cancer Society started promoting the idea of a collective strategy for fighting cancer in Sweden – expressed by the need for a National Cancer Plan. The aim of the annual Swedish Cancer Society Report is to strengthen opinion-leading efforts, and to contribute with the Society’s knowledge and experience in order to highlight problems in the area of cancer. In 2013 the report was published for the 8th time. We are happy to verify that The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has now started to implement the plan.
Another task that lies within the frame of the Swedish Cancer Society’s opinion-leading efforts is cancer prevention. Efforts in this area are focused on the dangers associated with use of tobacco and excessive exposure to the sun.
As a non-profit organization, the Swedish Cancer Society receives no government funding, and is therefore entirely dependent on private donations. In 2012 the Society raised 509 million Swedish kronor. The main bulk of donations comes from private individuals and companies although legacies represent a significant proportion. In 2012 almost half of the total donations came from legacies. The donors can choose between a dozen different ways to support the Swedish Cancer Society. Fundraising activities are constantly developing in order to improve effectiveness.
The best known and most widely spread fundraising activity is the Pink Ribbon campaign for breast cancer. Companies, organizations and private individuals all over Sweden take part in all kinds of different fundraising activities in the campaign month, which is October. The aim of the campaign is to finance research, increase awareness of breast cancer and arouse public opinion within the breast cancer area.
The Swedish Cancer Society also aims to increase knowledge about the non-profit sector in general. Non-profit organizations operate under different conditions to public services and the private sector, and for as long as knowledge of their situation remains poor, non-profit bodies are obliged to adapt to the rules of play of other sectors. Along with 125 other fundraising organizations, the Swedish Cancer Society is a member of the Swedish Fundraising Council. The mission of the Swedish Fundraising Council is to promote ethical and professional fundraising and improve the conditions for fundraising through political lobbying and negotiating with commercial suppliers. Ethical questions related to fundraising are very important and the Swedish Fundraising Council has worked out standards and a code of conduct for its members. Since 2003, The Swedish Cancer Society has been certified in accordance with ISO 9001:2000, an international quality code and is inspected in accordance with this international standard each year.