The British Red Cross has launched a new mail campaign that uses its history and its moral and philosophical values to remind supporters of how it differs from other humanitarian organisations.

The mail pack, sent to 10,000 existing supporters in June, contains a simple letter, two colour pictures and a contribution form. The approach draws on the charity's founding principle: 'tutti fratelli' ('we are all brothers'). The letter begins with a bold statement: 'This is what you said when you first made a donation to help our work.' The pack thanks supporters for their contribution, and reminds them of the reasons behind the founding of the Red Cross, and the values behind the universal provision of humanitarian services.

"We wanted to differentiate between the Red Cross and other agencies," said Tony Weller, creative director of WWAV Rapp Collins West. "Our solution wasn't to say, 'here is a humanitarian disaster; give us money and we will solve it'. We wanted to remind supporters of the organisation's moral and philosophical values."

If successful, the Tutti Fratelli mailing campaign will be extended to all supporters. "It will raise money in the short term, but hopefully it will help people understand the principles and the history of the Red Cross," said Weller.

"Recently, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent were in the unique position of being able to provide care for the war wounded in Iraq, and that was only possible because the organisation is known and respected for its neutrality. This campaign will enable supporters to understand their part in that history."

The British Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the world's largest independent humanitarian organisation.

The movement was founded in 1863, inspired by Swiss businessman Jean Henri Dunant, who was appalled at the suffering of soldiers left to die on the battlefield.

He proposed the creation of national relief societies, which could provide neutral and impartial humanitarian assistance in times of war.

In the UK, the British Red Cross provides first aid and welfare services in major emergencies, such as train crashes and floods. Overseas, the organisation assists in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters, such as earthquakes, famine and war. It also works with local communities to help them cope with natural disasters, disease and hunger.

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