Thursday, January 7, 2016

2 simple ways to evaluate Social Outreach Events: Mpowerment Best practices.

1) Learn from your experience
It is important to evaluate every Social Outreach Event, whether formally through the use of evaluation measures, or informally by observing who attended and how the event went. Every outreach event can be viewed as a learning process for both the Coordinators and the Core Group. At the next Core Group meeting following each Social Outreach Event, set aside time to share and process thoughts and feelings about the event. Congratulate each other on what went well, discuss what you learned, and decide how to improve future events. Here are a couple of key questions to ask:

Was publicity for the event effective? 
  • Did it reach enough men? 
  • Did it reach men who had never before attended any events? 
  • Did you reach all segments that you wanted to of the young  adult gay and bisexual men’s community?
Was the outreach performance carried out well? 
What materials were given at the event?
  • Was it interesting, sexy or funny? 
  • Did it effectively convey a message supportive of safer sex and/or knowing one's status and/or supporting friends living with HIV to be in/maintain their care?
Which segments of the young gay/bisexual men’s community did and did not attend the event? 
  • Did it attract the segments that you intended to reach? 
  • If not, how could you reach them in the future?
Did the event foster community-building? 
  • Did the event create a welcoming atmosphere? 
  • Was it favorable to meeting new men?
Was contact information collected successfully?

SOMOS OC | Mpowerment Orange County CA
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While Projects often put on Social Outreach Events that are wonderfully successful, all Projects have also put on some events that can hardly be classified as highly successful, although in fairness they may not have been failures either. Regardless of the outcome, keep a sense of humor about you and don’t get discouraged. Remember—even if an event does not live up to expectations, it may still have reached a number of men. New men may have been recruited to the Project or to M-groups, and may have formed new, supportive friendships. 

Regardless of how successful a Social Outreach Event may be, learn from what may not have worked so well and use that insight in future planning. Consider what went right and what was less successful, and learn from the experiences—and then move on. It is also important to find ways to support Team members when they experience disappointment. However, we have found that it is not helpful to dwell too long on failures, point fingers, or spend inordinate amounts of time complaining about a non- responsive community. In short, for all of the above reasons, it is critically important that the Coordinators and the Core Group evaluate together every medium and large outreach event (as well as occasionally evaluate the effectiveness of a Project’s smaller, ongoing events).

RELATED: Developing a publicity plan: Mpowerment best practices. 

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2) Record each event
The Mpowerment Project (MP) Social Outreach Event Evaluation Form will be useful in guiding the Core Group discussion about each event (Register for free at the Mpowerment website to download the MP Manual:  Module 12: Evaluation, Figure 12.8 for the Social Outreach Event Evaluation Form.). Following the discussion, we suggest that the Project Coordinator complete a written copy of the form to serve as a record of the Project’s activities. In addition, with the form keep copies of all materials used for the event, including flyers, posters, ads, camera-ready art, photos, and so forth. Many Projects have found that making a scrapbook of all this material serves as an exciting and comprehensive visual history for new Project participants, implementing agency staff, funders, and future Coordinators.

The majority of Projects use their Facebook, twitter and Instagram profiles to upload photos of recent events, in effect maintaining an on-line scrapbook.  ... and remember to take  lots of photos!  Assign a Core Group or volunteer photographer at every event you host. As we like to say, "if you don't post photos, the event didn't happen!"

Keeping complete records is important in providing documentation of Project activities. It also prevents the duplication of efforts in case an event is repeated or any of the materials are needed for future events. In addition, records help Project volunteers learn from the experiences of past participants. For more information on Project evaluation, see the MP manual:  Module 12: Evaluation. 

RELATED:  2015 | Mpowerment Projects share event materials.

RELATED: 1 super simple way to recruit new participants: MP best practices.
The Mu Crew | Mpowerment Dayton OH
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Familiarize yourself with the elements of the MP's formal outreach: Module 7: Formal Outreach - Social Outreach Events and Outreach Team and Module 12: Monitoring and Evaluation.  Both Modules are free downloads when you register at

Objectives of Module 7: Formal Outreach - Social Outreach Events and Outreach Team
To familiarize you with the elements of the Mpowerment Project's formal outreach, including:

  1. Social Outreach Events (ranging from events that attract 10 men to events that attract 200-300 or more men)
  2. The Outreach Team, and
  3. Outreach Materials that promote safer sex and testing.
What you'll find in the Appendix:
Figure 7.1 Sample timeline for planning large and medium sized Social Outreach Events
Figure 7.2 Sample monthly events calendars
Figure 7.3 Sample weekly event email reminders via Mpowerment Austin TX
Figure 7.5 Sample Outreach Team Planning Form
Figure 7.6 Outreach Team Evaluation Form

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This blog featured the Publicity materials of:

United Black Ellument - Mpowerment Dallas TX
SOMOS - Mpowerment Wilton Manors FL
The DENIM Collection - Mpowerment Washington DC
Mpowerment Long Island - New York NY

RELATED: Join us. Attend the Mpowerment Project training.

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