Mar 22, 2021 By IIDA HQ
Spotlight on Our Chapters: 2020 Catalyst Grants
IIDA chapters reached important goals and benchmarks with funding from our Catalyst Grant program
By IIDA HQ Mar 22, 2021
Published in

The IIDA Catalyst Grant helps our chapters to level up with what they need to achieve growth, or to nurture their existing community. Our 2020 awardees had wide-ranging goals that can all be boiled down to one thing: improving the IIDA Chapter experience for all members. Whether that means focusing on increasing student membership, in turn resulting in mentorship opportunities for more seasoned members, or improving technology for a more inclusive accessible experience, our chapters have gone above and beyond to achieve these goals.

Although the world looked much different at the end of 2020 than it did when they set out to work on these programs, our chapters found that the focus on building and supporting their communities remained a constant through it all. Their work was even more imperative than they could have imagined, and as designers the innate abilities to stay nimble and innovative kept their missions achievable—even if the process looked a little different.

From cultivating leaders in their ranks to growing membership and improving tech infrastructure, let’s take a look at all that our 2020 Catalyst Grant Chapters set out to achieve, and what their success looks like.


GOAL: Leadership in Advocacy: Unveil and launch an advocacy and leadership program featuring a 3-part virtual series on leadership in advocacy and free NCIDQ prep classes at no cost to members.


  • Three part virtual series on leadership in advocacy; Advocacy 101, North Carolina Legislation - Where Are We Today And How Can You Help?, and Finding and Using Our Voice to Advocate for Ourselves, Our Industry, and Our Future. These featured panelists, Emily Kelly, Director, Advocacy, Public Policy & Legislative Affairs at IIDA, Bryan J. Soukup, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at ASID, Kerri A. Burke, SVP, State Gov. Relations, McGuireWoods Consulting, Abby Wilson, Advocacy and Public Policy Manager, IIDA, and speaker Wendy Gates Corbett.
  • Added additional tools and information for advocacy in interior design on the chapter website
  • Developed a dedicated advocacy email strategy
  • Increased participation in chapter NCIDQ prep courses


GOAL: Student LINK program: From classmates to colleagues: Increase student membership, engagement, and encourage active mentorship relationships within the chapter.


  • By the end of 2020 student membership increased from three to 41 student members
  • Recognized in the Most Categories for Growth 2019 HQ benchmarking assessment
  • Launched its second year of the LINK program, adding a sixth school to their participants and matching 45 students with 45 mentors
  • Sent four students and one educator to the 2021 Virtual SHIFT conference

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS: We found that virtual events are more accessible, allowing for a wider geographic reach and overcoming transportation and scheduling barriers.



GOAL: Chapter reBranding: Hire a creative agency to create a dynamic identity across digital media and communications, within IIDA HQ brand standards to achieve a timeless relevant design with a different variation for each City Center.


  • Launched across website and social media channel
  • Added value to advocacy messaging creating a clear identity and message
  • Provide chapter sponsors more brand exposure to enhance recruitment and retention
  • Templated for ease of future use
  • Increased attendance at events between 2019 and 2020 by 73%


GOAL: NCIDQ Study Group: restructure the study group program to provide a minimum of 12 professionals with resources and guidance in preparing for the NCIDQ exam.


  • Provided 44 professionals with resources and guidance in exam prep resulting in five members passing exams in 2020, and several scheduled for the 2021 exams
  • 70 total attendees, with 17 participants at the spring session and 27 participants at the fall session
  • 16 interior design professionals in Michigan passed the 2020 NCIDQ Exam, and of these 16 five participated in the IIDA study group


GOAL: Member App: connect members and consolidate information in an easy-to-use app with the ability to create member profiles for social networking, access to event calendars, event registration, and membership management tools that reduce membership lapses and increase retention.


  • 3% membership growth
  • App will notify members when their membership is about to expire
  • Members have a tool to connect to one another and access resources, events, and committee portals with ease


GOAL: Chapter website redesign: redesign the existing website, aligning chapter brand and improving user experience with intuitive navigation and useful resources. The website will be more equitable, accessible, and functional.


  • Launched October 30, 2020
  • Includes a new member page that tells a stronger story of member benefits
  • Membership increased by 5% as is event participation, although the pandemic and virtual events may have contributed to this
  • Increased digital exposure of the interior design profession through advocacy initiatives including the publication and writing of articles about the commercial interior design industry
  • Reduced time spent on web maintenance by 20% with easier to use CMS. Removed member login requirement. Provided unified and engaging messaging across platforms


GOAL: Emerging Leaders Program: introduce a program for young design leaders beginning leadership roles—geared towards those moving from ‘doing’ roles to ‘leading’ roles in their careers creating a self sufficient ecosystem of feeding volunteers into the board and committees.


  • The inaugural program in San Diego had 12 Emerging Leaders - all maintained participation even with shift to virtual
  • Each Emerging leader participated in 11 workshops throughout the year taught by experts in leadership, interior design, communication, and business topics
  • For 2021 the program has expanded to include Los Angeles


GOAL: Vegas or Bust: Increase membership in the Las Vegas City Center by 50% by


  • Held the 2020 board retreat in Las Vegas, and held a sponsored mixer to invite the greater design community in with the motive of membership recruitment
  • Las Vegas membership grew by 50% by the end of 2020, with an anticipated 17 additional members to join by the end of 2021

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS: Will expand this program to other city centers in 2021 to the City Center needing the most help with an eye on current membership or legislative issues.


GOAL: Connecting the Dots - utilizing feedback from the 2019 Catalyst Grant, it was clear that our members were struggling to find value beyond networking—they wanted a database for sales rep contacts and CEUs, resources for building codes & standards, and industry resources.


  • New website launched November 2020 featuring an intuitive calendar, improved sponsorship portal, easy to access newsletters and articles, and social media integration
  • Implemented analytics to better understand how members use our website

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS: Advancements in technology and increased use of digital platforms, virtual tools, and social media has created a greater need for more membership value outside of networking. By offering a central source of reliable and current information as well as on-demand access, we are creating value not found elsewhere for our members and sponsors.

Featured Articles
View All Articles
View All Articles