Explaining Economic Impact Data to Your Clients

Posted on February 1, 2017 · Posted in Economic Impact

“Do you know the magnitude of the impact your incubation program has on the local economy? Not just in terms of clients served, but the real meat of the matter: jobs created, salaries paid, revenues earned and other economic gains? If you don’t have these figures handy, you might be missing opportunities to convince potential funders, champions, and the public in general of your program’s importance. Additionally, if you aren’t tracking this information, you might be unwittingly contributing to feelings of doubt about the industry’s effectiveness”.

— International Business Innovation Association

One of the most difficult challenges with Economic Impact Data Collection is actually getting the data from your clients and graduates. That should come as no surprise. Preparation, communication and consistency are key elements towards having success with your Impact Data Collections.

In a series of blog posts we’ll cover some key points we’ve learned about the preparation, communication, and consistency of collections. This post focuses on preparation.


Before you can prepare your clients for providing you with Economic Impact Data, you yourself must be prepared with the following information:

1. Know why you collect! Prepare a simple statement explaining the importance of collecting the data from your clients and graduates. Be sure to include the following (if you would like a sample statement, just ask us at support@www.incutrack.com):
a. Explain specifically why you collect (i.e., monitoring and reporting on program performance to stakeholders, board members, partners, the community).
b. Assure confidentiality.
c. Explain how the data will be used.

2. Establish the frequency for your collections. Are you going to collect annually, biannually, quarterly, monthly? Look at any and all reporting requirements you have and base the frequency on these requirements to be sure you have “fresh” data for your reporting.

3. Establish a set “collection period”, which is the amount of time that your clients will have for providing you with their data and establish a “due date”. For example: If you plan to collect on an annual basis, at the end of each calendar year, you might establish a six-week period from January 15 until February 28, during which your clients have to provide you with the data. With this example, you can say the data is due by February 28. Be sure that the “due date” gives you plenty of time before you have to report the data.

4. Have a sample of the survey questions at the ready and in a few formats (e.g. printed, PDF). If the client is expected to report data for a given time period, wouldn’t it make sense that they know what to collect beforehand?

5. Designate one person who will coordinate the distribution and collection. This should be a person who regularly interacts with your clients, knows them, and who has the tenacity, determination and communication skills to follow-up with them to be sure the data is provided.

We cover these points and a lot more in the Economic Impact Data Training Class. For more information, see our schedule of classes. Watch this space for upcoming Economic Impact Data topics including Communication and Consistency.