SEARCH Foundation: The Hope of the Events Biz

Tell me about SEARCH

Kate: It stands for Special event assistants relief and crisis help. It’s set up for individuals within our industry to apply for grants if they’re in crisis. If they get sick or there’s a national disaster. It’s all funded by meeting and event professionals and every penny goes back to meeting and event professionals. We all volunteer, it started in the 80’s at the height of the AIDs epidemic.

How does that work? How do you find candidates?

Kate: SEARCH does annual fundraisers. We have ongoing giving programs. Like the SEARCH 100, it’s a minimum that you give every month. It’s all funded by event professionals and we raise our funds direct. David heads up the event side of it. He’s in charge of making the events over the top, insane and amazing. That’s about 40-50% of our annual fundraising. Anyone in the industry can apply. As long as you can show proof you are in the industry and show your crisis and need. Individuals are still in crisis and in need outside of this.

How great of an impact can you have on an individual?

Kate: It’s on average about $5,000, SEARCH has funded 100% of all the people qualified since it’s inception. If you qualify, it does fund you for it. There’s a process you have to go through prior to application, making sure you’re in the industry, proof you have the hardship. Then it goes to our committee. Your information is redacted it’s completely confidential, no one see’s who it is and it’s graded on a rubric.

Bobby: Worth mentioning, the turn around time is a really important piece, we pride ourselves in processing these requests in 72 hours and sometimes less than that.

Kate: That’s why it’s important we keep doing our events and people stay on the SEARCH 100. There have been volunteers stepping forward. Even the one’s giving $5 or $20 it matters.

Bobby what’s your role?

Bobby: I’m focusing on the brand the graphics and the logos. As a volunteer organization we rely on the skills of our board. It’s been fun to get in there and make sure there’s consistency on social media. It’s been really satisfying to see the brand become polished.

Aside from working at SEARCH what’s your role.

Bobby: I produce some of the biggest college concerts around. It’s not a great time for us….

Kate: He’s killing it, if you look at GBM6 and what they’re do next level stuff.

David, what’s your role?

David: My role with SEARCH, I’m the event chair. I’ve been on the board for a few years now and my role is to coordinate and produce the major fundraising events we do.

Tell us what’s on your mind? What has this been like?

David: This is one of the hardest things anyone of us has gone through. We’ve been around for 92 years and we’ve never had to shut our doors since this has happened. We’ve lost upwards of 70 events so far. We had to furlough our entire team and close our doors. It’s been a heartbreaking thing for our industry. It’s about the people we are nothing without the people we work with.

Bobby: More than half our projects and revenue have just vaporized. We’re looking at how long our runway is and if it will make it until September when things will hopefully be normal. I’ve tried to pivot, what I’ve learned over the last couple of weeks. When you take the actual events part out of someone who works in special events, our jobs are pretty terrible.

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