The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter has launched a new regular donation programme, giving the local community a new way to support the helicopter.
The Support Crew is a brand new digital incentive, which allows supporters of the trust to choose a monthly donation to pledge towards the rescue helicopter's operations.
The Taranaki Rescue Helicopter recently completed 200 missions, eight up on the same period last year.
Evan Cottam, chairman of the trust, says many people don't realise the costs that are involved to keep the helicopter in the air.
"When you factor in all the different costs of operating a helicopter – fuel, maintenance, staff, equipment, medical gear, it adds up to around $60 per minute. As we only receive a partial amount of the funds we need to operate from the Government, support from the Taranaki community is absolutely vital to what we do."
The Support Crew was created to move the trust's fundraising efforts online, and to appeal to a wider demographic of the local community – particularly, younger people.
Base manager and pilot, Fergus MaClachlan, says that it's about embracing the digital age and future proofing the donation system.
"Our supporters have traditionally donated via physical cheques, an option which is still available. The Support Crew programme allows a simple online, automatic payment to be processed monthly as an alternative way of giving, and members can choose from four different amounts, or choose their own amount to pledge.
"We're hoping to expand our reach and get local young people excited about the opportunity to support the local community and help to save the lives of their neighbours in Taranaki."
Members of the Support Crew will receive exclusive benefits like a custom Taranaki Rescue Helicopter lapel pin, an invitation to an annual Support Crew lunch at the hangar with the crew, monthly updates and communications on missions, patient stories and news from the crew, as well as an annual tax receipt.
Along with the new donation programme, the trust has released a series of new patient stories and crew interviews which are available on the website.
To join the Support Crew, click here.