How can Service Coordinators use positive stories about program outcomes?
ROSS Service Coordinators should strive to identify positive stories about the program to share with the community – including highlighting participants’ educational achievements, career advancement, and completion of certifications and degree programs. Service Coordinators should work with their PHA’s press or public affairs staff to craft an effective communications strategy.
Stories can be posted on the grantee’s social media account, website and included in the grantee’s newsletter, Annual Report, and other communication vehicles. Broader dissemination channels include local newspapers, community blogs, and local radio or television stations. Success stories demonstrate the value of the ROSS program, and may spark interest from service providers not currently engaged with the program. Such publicity might even generate additional in-kind or financial support.
What role does data play?
ROSS Service Coordinators are required to track participants’ activities and outcomes. Stories about individual successes are more compelling when program data is also included. Together, data and anecdotal examples from your program will show the impact the ROSS program is having locally.
Protecting residents’ privacy
When highlighting resident stories for use in external media outlets, care should be taken to protect their identity unless the resident has signed the appropriate written release.
For more tips on preparing press releases, guest columns, newsletters, and other communications as well as working with the media, see the Community Tool Box sections in Communications to Promote Interest and Media Advocacy.
It may take time for new programs to be able to generate statistics. However, Service Coordinators should not wait for data to share stories about their participants’ successes, as these stories can be very impactful and raise local awareness about the program. Once data is available, it should be incorporated.
Securing a HUD-approved photo release
Images are often the most effective way to tell a story. Service Coordinators should invite program participants to sign a HUD-approved photo release when they first become involved in the program. Doing so will position Service Coordinators to capture images that demonstrate the impact of the program.