Information is easier to access than ever, and you might be tempted to accumulate data about your institution without a specific goal beyond believing that it’s “good to know.” But “good to know” isn’t enough, not when there are positive changes that information can help you make. This is especially true when that information is an investment, as is the case with EMSI’s Economic Impact Study (EIS).
If you’ve spent money toward obtaining the best data available about your institution’s economic value, you need that information to serve a purpose. EMSI’s EIS provides objective information on how your institution affects the regional economy, which can be an extremely persuasive tool. But how can you best use the data?
To give you an idea of the many ways an EMSI EIS can be used to help your college or university, we’ve asked some of our most successful clients to tell us what they’ve done.
Here are a few of the best stories we heard.
Information about your institution’s value to its community is a powerful tool for demonstrating to the public why they should support your work (and why they should support public investment in your institution). But looking at tables and figures isn’t terribly compelling for most people. To make it easy to show the public what their institution does, many of our EIS clients have developed short videos presenting the most compelling numbers from the studies.
In British Columbia, Canada, for example, BC Colleges commissioned an EIS on behalf of the 11 colleges it represents. When the system discovered it was adding almost $8 billion to the provincial economy, it began an aggressive marketing campaign including a brief, informative video that laid out the basics of the study. The video was part of a comprehensive approach to marketing the colleges’ impacts, including a province-wide media release and an infographic to post online and mail to politicians.
Similarly, Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, released an animated video that showcases the results of its economic impact study and the college’s other major contributions to the regional economy over the last 45 years.
Institutions are increasingly using infographics to display their results in a visually appealing, inexpensive, and easy-to-digest format.
The Kansas Independent College Association developed an infographic about its study that is both attractive and easy to share with a wide audience (click the image to see the infographic in full):
Rotherham College in the UK published this custom image via social media to demonstrate the value that it and the rest of the colleges in its region provide:
Many institutions build even more extensive marketing campaigns around the EIS, aiming to reach as large an audience as possible.
Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Nebraska, began a multi-pronged approach that began with posting the report on the college website, sending a press release to the local media, and pitching the story to TV, radio, and newspapers. The college also produced a series of 30-second radio ads that ran for several weeks, sent a mailer with pivotal facts from the study to thousands of households in its service area, hosted a roll-out event on campus, sent the study to the regional chambers of commerce and economic development groups, and presented the findings to a number of county commissioners, city councils, and high school guidance counselors.
North Dakota State University had a particular focus: getting key information from the study in front of state legislators first—and without swamping them with information. The university first gave presentations to civic leaders and economic development groups to create buzz, then sent the information to legislators. Only after the legislators felt invested in the data did the university release the study to the public.
Thinking Outside the Box
Many institutions have come up with innovative ways to put data from the EIS to work.
Corning Community College in Corning, New York, released a mailer in its region—a “check” made out to local citizens for the millions of dollars that the college generated.
Since legislators hear complaints but rarely receive a “thank you!” from the populace, the college put together mailers, thanking them for their support and showing specific positive results of that support.
The College of Western Idaho took a creative approach to sharing the study with the state legislators whose funding and support enabled the college to do its work. Since legislators hear complaints but rarely receive a “thank you!” from the populace, the college put together mailers, thanking them for their support and showing specific positive results of that support.
And, of course, if local media can be brought on board to spread the news, so much the better. Blinn College in Texas conducted a media roll-out event with the results of its EIS and brought in Dr. Aaron Olanie, EMSI’s director of Economic Impact Studies, to address the media and answer questions. The data presented led to increased positive attention on the college. See the local news feature on the college’s impact below.
If you’d like to learn more about how EMSI’s Economic Impact Study can help your school make a difference, or if you’ve already had a study done and would like to talk about how you can put it to work, contact Aaron Olanie.