Collecting Stories

Step 1: Get Organized. Identify the policy you want to change or reinforce and select a story that illustrates your point. For example:

  • School-bvased health outreach programs work. More schools should do it. Look for a story that illustrates a child getting much needed health care services after enrolling in health insurance at school.
  • Medicaid is important the health of a child and their ability to thrive in school. Legislators must protect Medicaid. Look for a story that illustrates a child thriving in school after getting enrolled in Medicaid.
  • Legislators should take advantage of cost-effective opportuniites to expand coverage options for parents. Look for a story that illustrates how a child's performance at school suffers when their parents can't get the health care they need.
  • State lawmakers should ensure that all parents have access to health insurance for themselves. Look for a story that illustrates a child whose parents got insured through the Health Insurance Marketplace and now their child is thriving in school because of the more stable (emotional or financial) home environment.

Step 2: Make the Ask. Speak to families about sharing their story.
Example: "Would you be willing to share your story with us? We are collecting stories that help explain the importance of children having health insurance to ________(pick your audience, i.e. funders/policy makers) so that we can ________(explain the change you want to see)."

It is important for families to see how sharing their story is part of a larger effort and how they can elp make the needed change.

Step 3: Collect the Story.

  • Ask families to tell you their story in their own words. (Some families may feel comfotable writing down their own story).
  • Ask them relevant questions. (If they have written their story themselves, ask them clarifying questions when you see their draft).
  • Get details that will make this individual's story relatable to others. For example, did they go to college, what field do they work in, how long have they lived in the community, how many children do they have?
  • If something sounds fishy, get more information. You may think that you are collecting a story about a parent who does not have access to healthcare insurance, when in fact they have access to the Marketplace, but did not know it.
  • Always ask the family if you can share their name and the story. Ask if they would be willing to share their story with a reporter if the opportunity ever arises. (Keep this information in your notes for the next time the superintendent, the school board, or a funder needs a story for the media to share publicly).
  • If possible, try to take a picture of the individual or ask that they provide a picture of themselves and their family. If you have video capabilities and the family is comfortable with it capture some footage. *NOTE: Whenever taking pictures or video, be sure to get a signed media release form.

Step 4: Use the Story. Stories can give families courage by realizing others are in the same situation. They can also influence broader policy decisions and persuade legislators of the importance of providing health care insurance to all our nation's children.