Like all association executives, Colin Rorrie,
Ph.D., CAE, Meeting Professionals International’s president and
CEO, wants to boost the group’s membership while retaining current
In recent years, however, Dallas-based MPI has lost almost a
third of members coming up for renewal each month. Reversing this
trend was one of Rorrie’s objectives when he signed on last
September. In November 2003, M&C asked the new chief about his
plans; recently we checked in again to learn about the
association’s latest efforts to keep members.
M&C: What prompted a revamp of retention practices?
Rorrie: Our retention is now about 71 percent, but while we
bring in more people than we lose, we want to help people make a
long-term commitment to the profession. It’s really about building
meeting planning as a profession.
M&C: What methods will MPI use to increase
Rorrie: We are in the process of examining how we price our
programs and services. We will also be looking into loyalty
programs [for long-time members] and value-added items such as
reduced fees for membership or for meeting registrations. We have
hired a new member-services director who will create a call center
to help with member needs. The question is: How can we increase the
value of MPI to members, which will in turn increase retention?
M&C: When do you hope to implement these new
Rorrie: The member services call center already is being developed.
In terms of our solicitations, a marketing firm is helping us frame
our materials. We also are looking at collateral materials for our
new recruitment and retention programs. You’ll see some new designs
in our materials very soon.