The Lotería Project continued into the fourth quarter virtually as COVID rates continued higher than our organization was comfortable facing in the bar we originally planned to host the events. We continued to hold the weekly Lotería events on Facebook Live with one host in-office and one dialing in remotely. While attendance continued to exceed expectations for this project, we did see a tapering of attendees in the last two months as we encountered holidays (Debates, Halloween, Elections and Thanksgiving) and more bars opening in Phoenix.
The hosts continued increased efforts to promote the weekly events as well as their NLM articles via social media. While we saw a tapering in registrations for the weekly events, we saw an increase in click-throughs to the NLM articles as the hosts doubled-down to finish the project strong.
We originally intended to end the Lotería Project with a large HIV Testing Event to coincide with World AIDS Day on December 3rd, but were unable to host that event because of COVID. However, to help give a boost to the final event to let as many people know that the NLM information would continue to be available on our website, the RipplePHX founders donated a 55” Samsung Television to give away as a prize to attract attendees. Attendance was almost tripled for the final event where all 8 hosts virtually attended. Highlight reels from the year were played, rounds of Lotería were played, and NLM articles were discussed. Some of the most notable feedback from the hosts during the broadcast was their reflection of how much they learned throughout the year about HIV as they worked to educate their own community.
Our intent with this project was to focus our efforts to reach gay and bi Latinx men who are most disproportionately affected by HIV in the Phoenix community – which we had a plan to focus our targeting through existing outreach efforts. But when we had to move to virtual events without a budget for targeted online advertising, it was like an unleashed fire hose that we worried wouldn’t be as focused as we had hoped. We continued local social media posts, but all the hosts also did focused peer-to-peer messaging with members of the target population. This resulted in 67% of weekly attendees identifying as Hispanic with 61% identifying as men who have sex with men. It wasn’t as concentrated as we had hoped, but given the circumstances of the year, we were pleased we were able to maintain a majority focus despite lacking additional resources.
We also intended to promote click-throughs to NLM articles through 10,000 printed materials distributed to the community. Because we were unable to meet those distribution goals because of COVID, the Lotería Team increased their social media efforts to maintain their focus on the ultimate intent of those printed materials – click-throughs to the NLM articles. Each team member had a specific Short-Link URL to their article libraries so we could differentiate between their click-throughs and general web traffic. We originally hoped we would see 3,200 click-throughs to NLM articles, but ultimately saw 8,148 click-throughs.
Very few things went “as expected” in 2020, and the Lotería project saw drastic changes in its approach from what was initially proposed, however, the Team rose to meet the challenge, innovated their approach and make quick adjustments to keep the project on-track month-to-month. We are happy to say that at the completion of the project, all deliverables for the project were exceeded with the exception of the distribution of printed materials.
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