- What are you hoping to accomplish with the stories?
- What kind of stories do you need?
- Where will you find those people?
- What questions and information do you need to be sure to ask to get the complete story you need?
For example, if you are working to show how the Affordable Care Act is helping people in your community to build support for the law, you'd want to find stories that focus on the specific provisions that help consumers. You could look for people who have chronic health conditions and benefit from the end to lifetime limits caps and changes to annual coverage limits. You could reach out to disease-specific organizations or support groups. Questions would be designed to gain an understanding of how their family and finances were impacted when fighting the disease with the caps, and how changes have made a difference.
Thinking about your objectives in advance will save you time and energy as you go to collect stories. Some tools to help you plan for collecting stories and keeping your storybank organized are:
- Best Practices in Storybanking - this worksheet from Spitfire Strategies can help prepare you to make the most of your time and energy
- Sample "Discussion Guide" - this was designed for collecting stories about children's health care needs. Draw on this example to create a discussion guide appropriate for collecting your targeted stories. These guides will also ensure that stories collected by multiple people capture consistent information, and provide the details you need.
- Sample Spreadsheet - Adapt this Excel spreadsheet to catalog and track your stories.
- Release Form - This is a basic form that gives your organization permission to use the story, to protect both your organization and the storyteller. It is a good idea to have these forms on hand as stories are collected. Of course, it is important not to make the person sharing the story nervous about what you intend to do, but to frame it as a safeguard for everyone.
- Storytelling Guidebook - Created by Forum One for our Consumer Voices for Coverage group, this is a guide to tools and best practices for telling stories with video and photography.