by Sarah J.F. Braley | September 01, 2004

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 card holders.
    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 retention?
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 ideas?
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.