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Download a summary of story collecting tips. Be sure to check out our interview questions.
Crafting the story
After you’ve interviewed tax clients, what do you do with all of the information you gathered? Here are some tips on how to put together a compelling story.
1. Connect to your story collecting purpose.
In addition to participating in the EITC Story Collection Project, how will you use your story? If you plan to share it with your funders for example, think about what they would want to know about someone claiming the EITC. Funders’ interests may differ from potential volunteers. Thinking about your intended use and audience can help you focus the story.
2. Identify your key story components.
As shared in the story collection tips, good stories are usually structured with a beginning, middle, turning point, and end. Review your notes to identify these four elements.
3. Keep it focused.
Most stories will address the EITC’s impact in a client’s life or the value or meaning of the EITC for a worker. You may meet some clients who aren’t eligible for the EITC and have a compelling story about their experience with other tax credits or VITA. Pick one aspect as the central focus of your story while incorporating other supporting details. It’s okay if you don’t use all of the notes you take.
4. Make it relatable.
Sharing EITC stories is a way to illustrate that EITC earners are everyday people who are our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Make the story relatable by incorporating information that reveals who the client is beyond someone claiming the EITC. Reflect on what stands out about the people you interviewed.
5. Make it visual.
If a client is willing to be photographed, a picture can enhance the story. Be mindful of the backdrop and lighting for photographs you take at a tax site or photos that a client may provide to you.
Some clients may prefer to tell their stories themselves on camera. Again, checkout the setting where the video will be recorded and adjust the lighting and sound as needed. Be mindful of any distractions that could be misinterpreted by viewers.
6. Summarize it.
If you get stuck, or cannot decide whether certain details are relevant to include, send your basic story and note that you left some info out and we will follow-up with you. Keep your interview notes!
7. Look to other examples.
Here are just a few examples of stories we enjoyed:
- Theresa’s Story (Just Harvest, PA)
- Janay and Marina’s Story (Prepare and Prosper, MN)
- Carlos’ Story (Prepare and Prosper, MN)