Balancing the books is no easy task for Kent Search and Rescue, a charity which relies solely on public donations.
The organisation, which responded to 82 call outs from Kent Police last year, is operating on a shoe-string budget as it juggles its training exercises, carrying out searches and fundraising.
The charity typically works with between £20,000 to £30,000 a year in donations, yet it receives no government cash despite its growing importance to the county’s emergency services.
Its 130 volunteers helped with a record number of call outs last year and they are running 10% above that figure so far in 2015.
The organisation, based at Kent Police’s tactical operations centre in Aylesford, was the most active of the UK’s 33 lowland search and rescue teams last year.
Yet the body, which is KentOnline’s charity of the year, is struggling to cope with the expansion.
It suffered a blow this year when it could not attend a call out for the first time because its staff were tied up in training or fundraising.
“We have to work out where our resources are needed most,” said secretary Stewart Baird.
“If we could work with a firm that leased us a vehicle, for example, that cuts a big expenditure on new equipment and makes running the charity more affordable..." - Steward Baird, Kent Search and Rescue
“We man the search and rescue unit 24/7 but we have to do a huge amount of training and also send the team out to fundraise.”
The charity is facing a difficult decision in its near future, when it must decide whether to invest in a new mobile control van or new rescue boats.
Each would cost about £45,000. The charity cannot afford both.
Mr Baird said: “Our difficulty is the number of call outs are increasing and we need to recruit more people.
“But then we need to equip them and train them so our operating cost is increasing as well. We are swimming against the tide in that respect.”
The charity is on the look out for corporate sponsorships and is looking to offer its services to companies in return for their support.
Mr Baird said: “It is about more than just donating cash. We are happy to accept any donations but we want a symbiotic relationship with businesses in Kent.
“If we could work with a firm that leased us a vehicle, for example, that cuts a big expenditure on new equipment and makes running the charity more affordable.
“We are also great for companies’ corporate and social responsibility requirements. It looks good for a business to support a charity in its local area.
“We also offer team building days for firms who sponsor us. We want to build more of a family relationship rather than just a commercial one.”