Why Big Days Matter

#MLKDay was Monday, and it’s one of the biggest service days of the year. Meanwhile, those in our field know that the impact of service-learning is contingent upon adequate duration to effectively address community needs and drive home learning outcomes. So in the world of service-learning, where projects can last weeks or months, do big days matter?

They sure do. Here’s why:

Big days raise awareness. A kickoff event can garner attention and engage new participants or stakeholders — which can propel your project in a real way.

Big days rally support. An expo or fair can introduce people to your cause, so there may be fewer hurdles to jump as your project becomes a larger presence in the community. These events can help drive donations or attract volunteers, as others get swept up in the excitement.

Big days break up the monotony. Field trips and activity days add a little excitement to a project that, perhaps, sees most of its work done inside the four walls of a classroom.

Big days reward participants. When a project is wrapping up, it’s important to celebrate and showcase all that’s been accomplished. By recognizing participant contributions, you double down on their buy-in, cultivating future supporters.


Some projects have only one “Big Day” — the day of action, after all the planning, and all the anticipation, when the service activity takes place. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A good service-learning project should be punctuated by several big, wonderful, exciting days. For all the reasons illustrated above and more — because big days matter.