There has already been a lot of publicity about The Major Charities: An Independent Guide. Most of it focused on one small aspect of the book, comparing different organisations' fundraising costs with their total donated income.
Most people are likely to have been left with the impression that that is all the book does. Which is a great pity, because the detailed entries on 165 of Britain's biggest charities contain a wealth of fascinating and useful information, not only about income but also the number of paid staff, volunteers and even the salary of the best-paid person in the organisation.
The write-ups, which in most cases run to several pages, are as good a briefing about an organisation as most of us could wish for.
Unlike many directories that are based on information supplied by the subjects, this book takes a more sceptical approach, collating information from sources such as press reports and the charities' annual reports. The authors, Luke FitzHerbert and Kathryn Becher, appear to have been scrupulously fair in allowing each organisation the chance to explain any anomaly such as a high fundraising cost to income ratio.
Perhaps the best testimony to the usefulness of this book is that out of the many books in the Third Sector office, this is one of the few that can never be found. That's because it's always on somebody's desk, being used.