Webcast: AIGA’s role in supporting members and chapters

Part of the AIGA Insights series, which aims to meet members' expectations for openness and transparency

AIGA plays a variety of roles as the professional association for design. It must:

  • Promote the value of design
  • Serve all designers as a profession
  • Serve its members, who support it
  • Manage as an effective organization

AIGA’s greatest asset and resource are its members, organized into chapters, student groups and affiliates that provide a local means for members to explore their interests and to create a community. As the voice of the largest community of designers, AIGA gives voice to their interests, concerns and needs. And a significant interest is to create greater understanding of the value of design.

In AIGA’s proposed strategic framework, the third of four focuses is on the relationship AIGA has with those who define and support it: Focus on Members and Chapters.

For the sake of a higher-level discussion on what AIGA should be doing to serve the interests of members, we provide examples of current and proposed activities. In AIGA’s budgeting process, the activities would be developed completely, with purpose, expected outcomes, metrics for success and resource requirements.

Focus on Members and Chapters

1. Offer effective tools, resources, platforms and strategies to enhance chapter activities and facilitate member participation.
This initiative embodies the most challenging transformative aspects of AIGA 2020. It includes the development of resource materials for chapters to enhance their activities (and share successes) in supporting local and national activities; it involves developing methods of increasing the amount of ad hoc success sharing and counseling among chapters to complement the national leadership retreat and nationally organized listservs and monthly conference calls; and it includes the transformation of AIGA’s web presence into a true member engagement/participation platform across a variety of communication, sharing and networking interests of members.

2. Support and facilitate interactions, collaborations and learning among chapters
AIGA’s chapter development function and staff will encourage interaction and mutual support among chapters, both through nationally facilitated efforts and by supporting use of the chapter collaboration tools and practices developed in the previous initiative. One proposed activity is to create a Chapter Innovation Fund to provide support to successful chapter activities that can scale to other chapters, administered by the Chapter Advisory Council.

3. Empower chapters to effectively pursue activities
The chapter development staff at AIGA will work to find ways using both chapter initiated and national practices for increasing chapters’ ability to present activities. This can include communications, web publishing, sponsorship, partnership, conference logistics and other functional support.

4. Increase membership and associated revenue through broadening and deepening strategies
As AIGA grows in the future, it will be important to see that its membership includes more communication and integrative design disciplines than graphic design alone and that it maintains members from student through the master years. A comprehensive membership development plan will be implemented that includes enhancing the member experience rather than simply promoting membership. This will involve service design and customer service approaches that go beyond current offerings. The membership development plan will also explore new levels of service targeted at students.

5. Provide opportunities for online and face-to-face gatherings of members and chapters
AIGA will continue to produce webcasts and conferences for members and chapters. It will also develop new opportunities for member and chapter engagement to assure that adequate interaction is occurring to increase both member and chapter leadership experiences.

6. Integrate the AIGA community into the global community of designers
The future of design is global, whether through competition or the need to produce for global markets. One important role for AIGA is to help U.S. designers access channels of communication and networks with designers from other countries, as a source of inspiration and to enhance understanding of other cultures (which may just as relevant in designing for the diversity of U.S. audiences as it is for global design). AIGA will become active in global design organizations (Icograda, WEF, UN, Index;, UNESCO and U.S. based global foundations) and will seek exchange opportunities and partnerships with other countries’ comparable professional associations.

This session took place on September 10, 2013. Click here for the recording of this webcast.


Richard GreféRichard Grefé, AIGA executive director
Ric is the executive director of AIGA, the professional association for design. He is generally involved in all of AIGA's activities, although his major contributions are in strategy, formulating new initiatives to enhance the competitive success of designers and advocating the value of design.

About this series

AIGA is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2014, and the AIGA board of directors is developing a strategic plan to take the organization into its second century. We want to hear your input!

To facilitate the conversation, we’ve published a series of Insight articles and webcasts about AIGA’s strategy. We invite all members to comment on the articles and participate in an “AIGA Strategy” series of webcasts with Ric Grefé and the board to learn more about AIGA’s strategic framework and share your feedback.