Case Study:Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Rules in Favor of ATS


Like many organizations, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA) built its website on Wordpress. A choice, it turns out, that made serving its members a challenge. And one KCMBA would come to lament over the years.

Not that this web platform isn't widely used and highly regarded, of course. It’s one of the most popular options for businesses today. The trouble is, Wordpress simply wasn’t designed to meet the needs of membership organizations. So in order to offer even basic association functions and integrate these operations with iMIS, KCMBA invested countless programming hours and significant dollars on customizations and plug-ins. What’s worse, conflicts with frequent new Wordpress issues meant further changes to these custom codes were needed on a regular basis.

Inefficient? Yes. Frustrating? KCMBA certainly thought so. Nevertheless, until recently the organization was reluctant to convert to a new, association-specific web platform, dreading the months of disruption, expense and headache such an endeavor would undoubtedly entail.

Or would it?

The answer, as KCMBA was delighted to learn, is no. With the help of Association Technology Solutions (ATS) – the non-profit software experts with a genius iMIS IQ – transitioning from iMIS 15 to iMIS 20.2 and from Wordpress to a fully integrated and exceptionally functional RiSE website was surprisingly fast and painless. In short, it was one of the best moves KCMBA ever made.

Consider the evidence

Specifically, KCMBA turned to ATS for an iMIS upgrade and a user-friendly, association-based website complete with:

  • Seamless integration to iMIS
  • A single member sign-on
  • A comprehensive career center
  • An invisible bridge to third-party Freestone (formerly Peach New Media), where members can receive online education and certification

In just five short weeks, that’s precisely what we provided. Better yet, we did so with very little disruption to KCMBA’s operations. Case in point:

  • Staff were able to log-in to the back office and continue working within 2 hours of initiating the migration
  • Members-only content was offline for just 8 hours total
  • The public site remained online throughout the entire process

In fact, the entire project was an unquestionable success. As Greg Wacker, Director of Information Technology with KCMBA, said:

“ATS understood our needs and were able to meet them right out of the box, centralizing everything in iMIS. They had a plan and a structured, day-by-day approach. And very quickly, with minimal downtime and no real problems, we were up and running with a website we can really be proud of.”

Better yet, KCMBA has found the CMS for this site much simpler than for Wordpress, which required the aforementioned plug-ins that are often incompatible with each other and the current version of the software. Bottom line? The association can do more – more easily – with RiSE.

Members’ testimony agrees

KCMBA’s enthusiasm for the upgrade has been matched only by its members’, who are thrilled to quickly and easily post profiles, photos, social media links and more.

“Our members are excited. Everyone dived right in,” Greg explained. “The site’s more intuitive; the usability has gone way up”.

What’s more, increased user-friendliness means the association is getting far fewer phone calls from people needing help with the site – an improvement that not only translates into happier members, but true savings in time and money.

An open and shut case for ATS

Next steps? An online renewal process for attorney security passes, currently in progress, and a lawyer search function for the public set to launch in the next year. Both of which KCMBA is fully confident ATS will implement swiftly and smoothly, their members will embrace wholeheartedly, and the organization will benefit from tremendously.

KCMBA believes other associations will reap big rewards with ATS, as well.

“We were expecting this to be a nightmare and instead, we’re walking around with the biggest grins. We can do so much more than we could with Wordpress. I’d tell other associations to go for it. You’re going to be pleasantly surprised. I never had any idea that it could go this well. It’s just been amazing.”