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Charities Reject News of the World Offer of Free Advertising

“Household name” charities have turned down the offer of free advertisements in the final edition of News Corp.’s News of the World newspaper because they fear their own reputations will suffer, said Rob Cope, director of Remember a Charity.

Cope, whose London-based organization tries to persuade people to bequeath money to the 150 charities it represents, said he knew of three prominent groups that have turned down the offer, while his own has decided to reject an invitation made through one of its partner advertising agencies.

James Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer of News Corp., said when he announced the closure of the News of the World yesterday that the proceeds of the July 10 final edition will go to charities and all advertising space will be “donated to causes and charities that wish to expose their good works to our millions of readers.” The paper is closing after mounting allegations over phone-hacking and payments to police officers.

“I know for a fact that three charities have turned them down -- they felt the risks were greater than the benefits,” Cope said in a telephone interview today. He declined to name the charities. “The paper has created a lot of ill-feeling among the public and the charity sector relies on public goodwill. We don’t want to jeopardize that,” Cope said.

Advertising this weekend “was something that was a possibility for us, but we represent 150 charities and we felt we couldn’t put our members in that position,” Cope said. “A lot of charities are feeling very worried about being associated with the paper.”

The Institute of Fundraising also warned its members to make sure they use caution when deciding whether to accept the offer of money or free advertising space from the News of the World.

“The decision as to whether a charity ought to accept a donation or not should be grounded in its mission and policy objectives,” the institute said in a statement posted on its website. “A clear policy on the acceptance or refusal of donations is important for all charitable organizations. Such a policy needs to be acceptable to all those associated with the charity and agreed formally by a charities’ trustees.”

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