The Mid-America Council of Public Purchasing Chapter (MACPP) made some decisions in 2007 that changed the way we approached our membership with classes, programs and information.

We had held our first reverse vendor fair in late 2006 and had a large amount of funding in our chapter coffers (smile, for a change). We began the year with a budget and a plan to host better programs and training events that would benefit our members' education and be priced to encourage new members to attend and older members to take the classes to share their knowledge and experience.

The board elected to invest that money in the chapter by subsidizing chapter programs, luncheons and NIGP classes. This helped us hold some very successful NIGP classes and encouraged NIGP national members in our area to join the chapter as well. In the current economy with tight budgets, this benefit has helped our chapter members continue to improve their education and helps them promote our activities as being a worthy investment for their agencies.

One of the other activities that we pushed was communication to our members. We tried to build communication between new members and old so that we could create and build new relationships among the membership. We tried to post articles about agencies and highlight the various purchasing departments in agencies to encourage interaction. Our chapter newsletter featured articles about new members, and they were actively pursued to attend meetings and be involved. Our meetings were staggered between luncheons and dinners to allow members to attend when it was most convenient for them.

These activities, the communication and marketing as well as the economic stimulus provided to the classes and programs really helped our chapter reach a level of activity and interaction that we had not seen in many years. We were able to host a fantastic anniversary meeting and had a significant number of founding members attend. At that particular meeting we had over two-thirds of our members attend.

We hope to continue to build on this and keep moving forward in 2009 and far into the future with this approach.
Brett Wood, CPPB, OFM,
Mid-America Council of Public Purchasing Chapter of NIGP
Independence, Mo.