RISE: MPI Kansas City Chapter, Membership Achievement

Blog > Industry News

RISE: MPI Kansas City Chapter, Membership Achievement

By Michael Pinchera | Jun 13, 2023

2022_RISE awards logo_color 600

The MPI Kansas City Chapter’s achievements have been tremendous in the last 18 months as the industry continues to emerge from the pandemic. During 2021-2022, the chapter grew overall membership by 14% and was named a Chapter of Excellence by MPI Global, exceeding standards in every single category of evaluation. At the time of submission for the RISE Awards, the chapter was pacing at 23% growth.

The chapter credits its success to its efforts to develop community. Chapter leaders have worked hard to develop new audiences by welcoming a number of small businesses, specialty venues, DJs, caterers and other verticals not historically a part of the chapter. The MPI Kansas City Chapter celebrates the diversity of its membership and envisions a bright future as a chapter where all who want to join are enthusiastically welcomed.

Chapter logos_horizontal_KansasCity

This will be the second RISE Awards recognition for the Kansas City Chapter in two years—and in two separate awards categories. To what do you attribute your chapter’s success?

Kendra Brayfield, chapter president: We believe the MPI Kansas City Chapter’s community and can-do spirit set us apart from other chapters. Our chapter was fortunate to receive the RISE Award Industry Advocate last year because we came into the board year with the spirit of community in everything we were prepared to accomplish. Our goal was to create a space and culture within the chapter that would draw people to the organization and give membership a try.

Our team has continued to work to develop events, education and content all through a lens of community, where everyone is welcome. Everything we have done, every decision we have made and every dollar we have spent has benefited our members and industry community in hopes they would join us on our journey as a chapter.

In as much as we have worked to develop community, we have also worked equally hard to develop new audiences, welcoming several small businesses, specialty venues, DJs, caterers and other verticals not historically a part of our chapter. The diversity of our membership has been something to celebrate. We have a bright future as a chapter and welcome anyone that wants to be a part of it!

Were there any “ah ha” moments or lessons learned in the past year that you’d like to share regarding your chapter’s approach to membership?

Katie Schillare, chapter VP of membership: Our board is always looking at how to give the most ROI to our members based on their individual needs, we look closely at who is participating in the chapter and how they are involved. We had noticed a decline in event attendance from planners who make up the majority of our membership. We quickly formed the Planner Advisory Board, made up of five tenured planner members. We run ideas by them for our educational programming, social events and communication plans. Their feedback, which we immediately implemented, has been invaluable. For example, adding time for peer roundtables at our education events and access to new venues resulted in increased attendance and re-engagement from less-active members.

How has the chapter sustained this success, especially given the ongoing uncertainty in the economy/business world as well as the challenging landscape, in general, for professional associations?

Brayfield: Community has been our rallying cry as a chapter and leadership for the past 18 months. Great communities are the sum of so many significant parts, and they are formed by creating space and an environment that others want to be a part of. Where we began the previous board year to evaluate the makeup of our membership and how it changed, the impact we made was the result of actions that continually moved us toward our professional community to build the chapter’s membership back.

As a smaller chapter, our size was advantageous when growing because we could be nimbler when engaging our member and non-member communities. This has led to a much more diverse member audience than we have ever had before.

Community begins with our membership team and the intentional work of connecting with potential and current members to best learn about them and their “why” for joining the chapter. This is important because it’s given us a much keener understanding of our members and what they hope to give or bring to our culture as a chapter. From there, we introduce them to a combination of volunteer opportunities and peer groups they can connect to within our membership.

The MPI Kansas City Chapter gives its members a home and a sense of community, and we think that has been to the key to our success in growth.

What tips would you give to other MPI chapters?

Schillare: Tip No. 1 - We call them “Getting the Most of your Membership” sessions. Take the time to meet individually with each newer member to find out what their specific goals are for joining MPI. It allows you to quickly deliver on those, whether through making a peer connection, involvement on a committee or new business lead. Giving individualized attention and appreciation results in a stronger membership that affects the entire chapter.

Tip #2 - With the goal in mind to grow our members’ community, we looked regionally at partnering with surrounding chapters on an affiliate membership promotion. Working with five regional MPI chapters, we widened our members’ reach with the opportunity to access these chapters’ membership benefits. Not only did we gain 12 new affiliate members, it also led to our chapter finding new sponsors!



Michael Pinchera

Michael Pinchera, MPI's managing editor, is an award-winning writer and editor as well as a speaker, technologist and contributor to business, academic and pop culture publications since 1997.