The University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN) has a more than $1.3 billion annual impact on St. Joseph County. Staff knows this figure because they regularly run numbers and share an economic impact report through an online microsite. “Notre Dame is the largest employer in our county, and we wanted to share numbers related to those whom we employ both directly and indirectly,” says Associate Director for Public Affairs Jessica Brookshire.

The University of Notre Dame has partnered with Appleseed, a New York-based consulting company, to help quantify data from more than 80 employers across campus. Over time, they have switched from releasing an economic impact report once every five years to updating it annually. Brookshire shares useful items to include in your economic impact report.

  1. Research spending. “When the community hears that Notre Dame is involved in research, they want to know how it correlates to jobs and money in the community,” Brookshire says. One way the University of Notre Dame shares information on research spending is through stories. Last year's economic impact report highlighted work on Innovation Park, an affiliated area where new research is conducted and start-up businesses are being developed. “We reported on how many businesses started at the park, how many have grown and moved out of the facility, the kinds of research being completed there and how that research is being used for the good of the community,” Brookshire says.
  2. Construction. “Construction is something people see, and it's something that makes a big impact on the community because it employs a lot of people,” Brookshire says. “We have to hire new people when we build new facilities, and we like to share that fact.”
  3. Community engagement. “We like to share with our community how students, faculty and staff are involved with the community,” Brookshire says.
  4. Prospective visitor impact. “We use student and visitor spending and highlight that to show how our university brings money into the region,” Brookshire says. “Because football is big here, we share numbers regarding how much money our sports bring into the community as well.” Notre Dame's hockey season also sees a significant number of visitors to the campus and the surrounding South Bend area.
  5. Individual spending impact. In an effort to show how much of an impact one Notre Dame student can make on St. Joseph County, organizers created a video in 2012 detailing statistics such as the amount of money spent on a preadmission visit, outfitting his or her dorm room and seeking entertainment. Notre Dame discovered through data that each student averaged spending $1,975 annually on entertainment alone. Learn more at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvQkuNeWjBk.

Source: Jessica Brookshire, Associate Director for Public Affairs, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN. Phone (574) 631-5829. E-mail: jbrooksh@nd.edu. Website: www.impact.nd.edu