Boston Chapter Strategy for 2014 and Beyond


Trustees, Design Leaders, Sustaining Members, Supporters, Contributers, Friends, and Community, I hope spring is treating you well!

Despite a large amount of turnover and the roll-off of some rockstar board members, our small team has done a lot of behind-the-scenes work to prepare this chapter to take off in the next five years. Most notable has been our work on chapter strategy with Advisory Board member, Lizzi Ross of Dialog Projects.

Lizzi helped coalesce research from members, board members, and advisory board members as well as create an analysis of our industry and AIGA national’s strategy. Her work with us has resulted in three main strategic goals for our chapter that we’ve been pursuing since the summer—Igniting New Initiatives, Exploring New Pools and Streams of Revenue, and Demonstrating Impact by Celebrating Our Community.

Ignite New Initiatives

The increasing popularity and competition in Boston for professional development and education workshops targeted at designers will make it more and more difficult to compete with for-profit companies and an ever-shrinking pool of sponsors.

AIGA Boston should focus on conversation, collaboration, curation, and convening. We should leverage social networking and regional/local conferences to boost and diversify our initiatives. Our main focus should shift away from producing one-off board-curated events and move towards member-generated, member-led, member-curated, and member co-created happenings in-person and online.

Explore Pools and Streams of New Revenue (Increase Non-Dues Revenues)

The existing sponsorship model we have been using is shrinking and the new membership model puts a focus on inclusion before revenue—which it should. With the increase in competition for workshops, lectures, and sponsors, AIGA should focus on producing low-cost events, pursuing more partnerships, and maintaining core chapter sponsors.

AIGA Boston needs to dedicate specific and significant efforts to researching, identifying, and consolidating new ways to finance chapter activities. A dedicated sponsorship director should be a high priority for the board.

Demonstrate Impact by Celebrating Our Community

As the design profession moves from the solo genius to the idea of group genius, AIGA Boston members should recognize our community’s achievements and have the opportunity to become a part of that action. Making a difference in the local design community isn’t sustainable unless people outside the community are aware of the impact. By focusing on demonstrating the value of the community, we can better mobilize potential members, sponsors, and change makers to take part in our community.

One option could be to find one thing (per year) that captures the public’s imagination and will add value or have an impact on something important to people in Boston. Once interest is generated we should work with the community (crowdsourcing/citizen change/public vote/pitch the city) to make a difference and engage members with the broader community. In addition, we should also be celebrating long-standing successes like Youth Design Boston. A long-term goal could be to establish a co-working mentality without the co-working space.

In Closing

With these new initiatives in mind, the board has begun a first take at bringing events, happenings, and conversations to the Boston community inspired by these core tenants. I’d love to get your feedback and opinions about this direction and I welcome any input either on this post, by email, or at a board meeting. The door is always open for members who want to get involved.

We’re always looking for inspired individuals who want to see the local design community thrive. Come voice your opinion, bring your ideas, show your enthusiasm, because AIGA Boston is only limited by your imagination.


Mat Budelman
President, AIGA Boston

Photo by Mat Budelman
AIGA Newsletter, September 1934
From the archives at The Museum of Printing
800 Massachusetts Avenue
North Andover, MA 01845

Published May 2, 2014