Last week, I took time off from work. For a brief shining moment, I acted like a stay-at-home mom to my beautiful daughters. It was wonderful. (See photo for proof of great time. Also, we have actual seating in our home.)
Don’t tell Juliette and Charlotte, but I thought about work over my vacation. It seemed like the moment I’d clear my head about it, a text would come in from my office. The staff had to contact me as ORT Chicago is three weeks away from launching a brand new VIP event on Sunday, January 27th.
It’s called, Sunday Funday.
For nearly three decades, ORT in the Chicago region produced a successful tradeshow that focused on party and event planning. People and vendors in the northern suburbs of Chicago looked forward to this annual event. Our office still gets calls and emails about it.
So, why would we mess with a tried and true historical event in our region? Why would we take this risk?
There are good reasons for changing things up:
- We are a nonprofit who raises precious funds that provide access to education to under-resourced communities throughout the world. This is what must propel everything we do.
- Our powerful case for support was largely missing from the Party Planning Showcase, so while we raised funds from exhibitors, there was not enough skin in the game. We were not raising ORT doers or donors.
- ORT isn’t in the business of producing tradeshows without the necessary value add of attendees (and vendors) learning about what we do and why we do it.
- Thanks to the internet, event planning has changed exponentially over the years. You can do A LOT online.
- We were predominantly in the northern suburbs of Chicago and not yet immersed in the city itself. This HAD to change if ORT Chicago was going to be successful. It is changing.
- ORT Chicago sought the opportunity to collaborate on a deeper level with our hand-selected, exclusive vendors and each of our guests.
- We didn’t want our vendors to feel competitive with each other, but rather, work together. Let’s face it, partnerships inspire and produce excellence. Our guests will find a variety of products and services for their event planning, but we were very intentional to focus on diversity but not having too many vendors of similar products and services.
So, we launched a new event concept – Sunday Funday. It’s designed to be an exclusive experience for all. Yes, there will be yummy food, giveaways, discounts, raffles, etc. There will also be live performances, a treasure hunt, laser tag, bowling and fun ways to learn about ORT’s work. We want our guests and our vendors to feel taken care of, comfy and open to inspiration, as we spotlight ORT and the uniqueness of our vendors, whether guests are planning Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, birthday parties, corporate events, or nothing at all, we want everyone to feel like they are a VIP, because to us, they are.
When we were conceptualizing Sunday Funday, I remembered what it was like to be a single mom in the city, in winter, wondering what I was going to do for fun with my daughters. I also recall other parents wanting their kids to be exposed to the global community – for them to learn and care about others beyond their “bubble,” who have different struggles. They were hungry for their kids to embrace “tikkun olam,” or repair of the world.
So, we developed Sunday Funday. It’s not a circus, it’s not a tradeshow. It’s a comfy place where kids and adults can play, eat, plan AND learn.
After we’d begun our planning and went public with Sunday Funday, numerous groups embarked on trying to replace ORT’s Party Planning Showcase. The said groups are in the northern suburbs of Chicago, one even titled itself, “Sunday Funday.” Another is holding their expo on the very same day as Sunday Funday. We hope all of these events are enormously successful for vendors and attendees alike!
ORT Chicago’s Sunday Funday will be an entirely different event from anything anyone else is doing.
We encourage you and your family to be our VIP guests on Sunday, January 27th at WhirlyBall Chicago.
If you have questions, please feel free to call ORT Chicago at 847-291-0475. We’d love to hear from you.
P.S. Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for our ORT Sunday Funday Online Event Vendor Directory.