Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Evaluating Mpowerment Social Outreach Events

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. Each 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 gay/ bisexual men’s community?)
  • Was the outreach performance carried out well? (Did it keep the attention of the young men present? Was it interesting or funny? Did it effectively convey a message supportive of PrEP, or staying in treatment if living with HIV?) 
  • 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?) 
  • 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?) 

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.

Remember this.
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). 

Record every event.

The Mpowerment Project Social Outreach Event Evaluation Form will be useful in guiding the Core Group discussion about each event (See 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. Many Projects also use their Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts to upload photos of recent events, in effect maintaining an on-line scrapbook.

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 Module 12: Evaluation.

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

BONUS:  Mpowerment Projects share event materials

DYK. The Mpowerment manual is free! Module 7 is Outreach - Social Events and the Outreach Team.  Planning forms and sample calendars, MORE!   

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QUESTIONS?  Making high-impact HIV prevention possible for Community Based Organizations: Capacity Building Assistance (CBA) services available. via University California San Francisco Center for AIDS Prevention Studies