A voter walks into the polling place at Robertson Honda car dealership to cast his ballot in the presidential elections on November 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif.   - 

Donations to public society benefit include giving to organizations who work with voter education, civil rights, civil liberties, consumer rights and community and economic development.  According to the University of Indiana's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, charitable donations towards causes falling in this category increased by more than 5 percent between 2011 and 2012.  

In 2012, a lot of the donations in this category went towards helping communities in New York and New Jersey recover after Hurricane Sandy. 

 When compared to other categories of charitable giving, public society benefit has seen the most positive growth in the past two years.  Between 2010 and 2012, donations to public society benefit grew by over 11 percent. 

How do you give?

As part of our special series on philanthropy and charitable giving in the United States we’re taking a look at a few things: Where did our strong history of philanthropy come from? What are the economic ramifications of how Americans give? 

As part of the reporting we’re looking back at the history of some of the biggest philanthropists in U.S. history. John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett.

In gauging how important those folks are we would also like to know how the average person gives.

 What inspires you to give money to your local charity? Do you see philanthropy as time spent on a cause or money spent supporting it? We want to know!

 We'll use your answers to support future reporting on how people give.

Click here to get started!



Follow John Ketchum at @ketchcast