Each holiday season, reporters and economists anxiously await the release of key holiday shopping figures—how much money did consumers spend on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday; what were the fastest selling toys; and what does this all say about the health of our economy? This year, the forecast looks good: the National Retail Federation predicts that sales leading up to the holiday season will increase by more than four percent—hitting a record $617 billion.

But here at the Case Foundation we’re interested in an indicator from another key day of the holiday season: #GivingTuesday. Created by 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday brings together thousands of organizations to support a common goal of adding a day of giving—whether time, talent or dollars—to the lineup of national shopping days during the holiday season. Since #GivingTuesday began in 2012, more than 10,000 organizations have engaged with this online giving day that takes place worldwide on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and many more have benefited from the donations raised on this special day. We’ve had the pleasure of being involved with #GivingTuesday from when it was just a concept being formulated by our friends at 92 Street Y and the United Nations Foundation when they approached us based on our experience with and research on Giving Days. We have been vocal supporters of the #GivingTuesday movement, including hosting two matching campaigns that have given more than $135,000 to charities across the United States.

We’ve been wowed by the momentum that #GivingTuesday has achieved in just two short years. And we think #GivingTuesday is ready to push forward from being a movement, to its rightful place as one of the key days of the holiday season. But to do that, we think more data is needed, including a figure that estimates the amount actually donated on #GivingTuesday—a number that like Cyber Monday and Black Friday, gives us an indicator of the health of our giving economy.

So that’s why this year in celebration of #GivingTuesday, the Case Foundation is excited to partner with Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to support research efforts to identify outcomes from #GivingTuesday and its implications for overall donation trends. Immediately following the holiday, the Case Foundation and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy will share an estimate on the total number of dollars donated on #GivingTuesday. The research team will also present broader findings on how #GivingTuesday is affecting overall giving and giving behavior in the Giving USA Spotlight Report, to be released on December 17, 2014.

These insights are a natural extension of what’s already been happening organically to measure the impact of #GivingTuesday. Leading donation processing organizations including Blackbaud, Network for Good and DonorPerfect have put out independent statements reporting record increases in online giving on #GivingTuesday. This year, working with data from many of these same organizations, along with PayPal and Razoo, the Case Foundation and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy will provide a real-time, aggregated estimate of dollars donated on #GivingTuesday 2014. This initiative will constitute the largest and most accurate collective output of how much online giving platforms process on this day. We are encouraged by the collaborative nature of this initiative and look forward to working with the school to dig even deeper into the impact of #GivingTuesday beyond the amount of donations being made.

We invite you to check back with us on December 3rd as we share our learnings and a new benchmark for #GivingTuesday. It’s also not too late to join in this global movement of individuals and organizations who collectively believe that big or small gifts, when coupled together, can have a monumental impact for charities and the communities they serve.

Learn more about #GivingTuesday and how you can get involved.