Institutions are economic drivers, both by their existence as large employers and purchasers and as leaders of activity that promotes institutional and community economic goals. While innate and strategic drivers of economic activity in their regions, many colleges and universities fail to communicate strategically about their role in economic development.
This lack of effective communication may leave key stakeholders confused and uninformed:
- Existing partners are unaware of the institution’s full economic development portfolio and how to grow partnerships.
- Potential partners struggle to identify where to connect with the institution on projects and initiatives.
- Community members mistrust or misunderstand institutional economic development work and priorities.
- Internal stakeholders are unfamiliar with the institution’s economic development vision, initiatives, and role.
Instead, colleges and universities that pro-actively communicate and define their approach to economic development can get credit for their economic development activity, surface new partnership opportunities and grow existing ones, build trust, and demonstrate commitment to the community.
EAB identified five major trends to consider when communicating about institutional economic development activity and goals. To support these efforts, three tools provide examples and recommendations for building an online economic development presence and a coda presents the qualifications and responsibilities of the Economic Development Communications Specialist role, seen at the most progressive colleges and universities.