Social Storytelling Toolkit
Storytelling is an important part of your organization’s communication plan, but where to start? This online toolkit is a companion to our National HCH Conference presentations on Social Storytelling. You will find resources on understanding the art of storytelling, multimedia resources including photos, music, and graphics, and more. We hope you find this toolkit valuable to your work.
Need further help? Contact the Council’s Communications Team!
The Council’s Storytelling Projects and Guide
- Oral histories of people who died without homes.
- An online video series illuminating the experiences of providers, consumers, advocates, and administrators involved with Health Care for the Homeless.
- This series features a variety of topics affecting people experiencing homelessness and is intended to bring awareness to the many challenges and barriers faced by people without homes.
- Created by the National HCH Council’s National Consumer Advisory Board, this guide offers practical advice for individuals seeking to relate their experience of homelessness.
Past Storytelling Presentations
- This social media primer is an excellent resource for starting, expanding, or refining your health centers’ social media communications as part of an integrated marketing strategy.
- Presented by the National Consumer Advisory Board, this presentation complements NCAB’s Storytelling Guide with practical strategies for effective consumer storytelling.
HCH2018: Social Storytelling: Making Homelessness and Homeless Services Real to a Broader Community, Part I
- This presentation offers an in-depth exploration of effective storytelling techniques to help your homeless service organization tell its own story to clients, funders, and the general public.
HCH2019: Social Storytelling: Making Homelessness and Homeless Services Real to a Broader Community, Part II
- Building on Social Storytelling Pt. I, this presentation explores two storytelling initiatives of the Council, Visualize Homelessness and HCH Stories, as well as offering a new “Storykit” of practical resources for effective institutional storytelling.
Storytelling in Health Care for the Homeless: Key Resources
The experience of homelessness is traumatizing, and storytelling in our field must be trauma-informed. The following resource from the Council’s HCH Stories series offer story prompts and explanatory information for potential storytellers that are specific to homeless health care.
- These questions, taken from interviews for HCH Stories, can serve as a useful starting point for sparking a story session.
Storytelling should not only inform but empower. It is critical to gain informed consent from individuals before recording their stories, and even more important to help them understand how their stories may be publicly shared. Below you can find a sample video, audio, and photograph release for use in storytelling initiatives that can be easily customized to your organization.
Digital Storytelling Resources
Digital storytelling is more than a term–it is a movement. Learn about the basic principles of digital storytelling with these beginners’ introductions to the art form.
Graphics and Photos
Multimedia storytelling can be extremely effective, but it can sometimes be time-consuming to create and difficult to find audiovisual resources for. The following free resources can help you get started with designing images or graphics and utilizing stock photos to enhance your storytelling.
- Canva: A graphic-design tool website that uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers and professionals. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics.
- Piktochart: A web-based infographic application which allows users without intensive experience as graphic designers to easily create infographics and visuals using themed templates.
- Unsplash: A website dedicated to sharing stock photography under the Unsplash license. These are free to download and use. No attribution required.
- Pexels: Another good place to get free photos. All photos are licensed under the Pexels license—you can use them for free for personal and commercial purposes.
- Pixabay: Resource for copyright free images, videos and music
- Wikimedia Commons: A great source for images and photographs, many of them offered under a Creative Commons license requiring no or minimal attribution.
- Copyright Friendly Resources: An excellent portal for finding free, easily attributed multimedia resources, whether in images, videos, or sounds.
- Rule of Thirds
Audio Resources and Music
- The Seven Best Places to Find Free Music for Video Editing
- Free Stock Music
- Free Music Archive
Social Media and Resources
- Popular social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn
- Hootsuite: A social media management platform. The system’s user interface takes the form of a dashboard and supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.
- Facebook Pages Manager: Helps connect with your Facebook audience and keep up with activity on multiple accounts, all in one place. Find it on Google Play or the App Store.
- SproutSocial’s Image Size Guide: Helps you size social media images appropriately.
- Social media toolkits for health observances.
- Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day: Social Media Toolkit Example
- How to Use Hashtags on Every Social Media Network
- How to Use Hashtags: A Quick and Simple Guide for Every Network
Examples of Storytelling Done Well
- Boston Health Care for the Homeless, Sox for Socks Campaign (YouTube)
- Homeless Health Care Los Angeles, Dear You (YouTube)
- Heartland Alliance, Rodney Dawkins (YouTube)
- Christ House Washington Post article on extreme weather (Facebook)
- PATH, Making it Home (Facebook)
- Bethlehem Haven client story and solicitation (Facebook)
- Soliciting Donations: Neighborcare Health (Twitter)
- Advocacy Story: Miriam’s Kitchen (Twitter)
- Infographic: Heartland Alliance (Twitter)
- Haircuts at Christ House (Instagram)
- Mikey’s First Steps: Father Joe’s Villages (Instagram)
Articles on Storytelling and Social Media
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This website is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,967,147 with 20 percent financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.
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