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Michelle Carino — Honolulu

Earl Gee — San Francisco

Dane Benton — Indianapolis
Dan Kimball — Salt Lake City
Mark Edwards — Orange County
Seth Johnson — Minnesota
To attract and retain associate-level members

AIGA has a high student attrition rate due to inadequate
communication of the availability of the Associate level and the
intrinsic value of membership itself. We need to create a wealth of
programming focused on Associate-level members and have faculty
advisors more engaged in sharing the value of that programming
with their students. We need to make sure we have adequate and
regular member database housekeeping which will allow us to
communicate the sense that associate-level members are connected
to a national and global network that’s larger than themselves or
their chapter.
We cultivated 7 ideas for how we think AIGA can accomplish this,
and I know that several of these actions are already underway in
one form or another so let this list serve as a call to continue or re-
double those efforts:
1. Assess and refine all associate member communications: letters,
methodology, and timing —that effort really should be lead by the
national staff.
2. Offer tangible benefits specific to associate-level members by
partnering with external organizations such as offering localized
health insurance options or job placement services.
3. Encourage chapter education directors to create programs that
acknowledge student members during their graduation ceremonies
with a special AIGA tassel or pin, which will serve to create a visible
AIGA presence on campus, and give the chapter a reason to reach
out to recently-graduated members.
4. Foster the development of chapter-based mentor programs for
associate members by providing several best-practice models of
successful programs in the workroom and encouraging all chapters
to implement them. There should be no excuse for a chapter to not
offer a mentor program.
5. Encourage the inclusion of an associate-level representative on
chapter boards, much like the student-level rep that most boards
already have. This will serve to give associate members a strong
voice at the table.
6. Offer associate-level nuts-and-bolts workshops — these could
be a combination of national- and chapter-initiated programs
parternering with external organization to provide education and
training to young creative professionals: how to do your taxes, how
to write or understand a contract, how to shop for health insurance,
how to save for retirement, how to plan the arc of your career.
7. Collect and communicate the stories of associate-level members
in an emotional and compelling way. These could be short films,
blog posts, or even Tweets generated by members at the local level
coordinated in a campaign out of the national office — possibly
similar to what ADC does with its Young Guns or what Mig Reyes is
doing with Humble Pied or even just a section of the “Because Of
AIGA” initiative focused on associate members.
It’s clear to us that AIGA must take immediate and decisive steps
toward turning student members into associate members. We
already know who they are and how to connect with them — it’s just
a matter of delivering relevant programming and communicating the
benefits of membership in AIGA. The responsibility for doing needs
to be owned by all of us in this room: National staff members, the
national board, chapter presidents, and local board members.