One of my favourite writers in Third Sector Magazine (the trade mag for charities) is Debra Allcock Tyler, the CEO of the Directory of Social Change.
She invariably writes sense (or at least I agree with what she writes, which is probably the same thing). This week she wrote about comparisons bewteen charites and her conclusion was :
"In our sector, transparency works; comparators don't. Let's not confuse the two..."
It's well worth a read, and it's a philosophy I try and follow. We try to put as much information about how we operate on our website. Accounts, reports, staff details, and more recently summaries of Board meetings. Now that is something worth comparing. Compare how transparent charities are, not whether or not they spend 1% more or less on advertising or overheads, or how much they spend on 'education'. These are easily modified figures.
Transparency is exactly what it says on the packet.