The Royal Flying Doctor Service Celebrate 90 Years with a User-Generated Content Timeline

Operating as one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organizations in the world, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is best known for their aeromedical retrievals, providing emergency services and health care to Australia — particularly the rural and remote areas where people can’t access traditional health care facilities.

Just ahead of entering their 90th year in operation, RFDS wanted to liven up their website and create a dedicated online place to commemorate their rich history.

“Since 2018 was our 90th anniversary, we were looking for a way to really engage and interact with the public,” said Kate Fessey, Communications & PR Assistant for Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. “We also wanted to improve our website by featuring more live, social content.”

Wanting to use social content as a way to engage their community and bring their website to life, RFDS turned to Stackla’s user-generated content platform.

Taking Flight with Stackla

The Flying Doctors were soaring with Stackla in no time.  “We had such great onboarding and support from Stackla’s customer success team,” Kate said. “Their trainings were really excellent and they were always available whenever we had questions.”

Have you ever heard of a software onboarding process being fun? Kate shared, “I found the interface so easy to use, it was actually fun testing it all out.”

Elevating The Flying Doctor Site

What better webpage to update, than the one most people land on when they first get to your site?

Prior to Stackla, the RFDS homepage was “pretty static”. As Kate described, “We would have one featured hero image that we’d update now and then, but that was it.”

To bring some freshness to their main webpage, RFDS added a Stackla web widget to the top of their homepage, curating and featuring the authentic visual content their staff, patients and communities were sharing about them online.

“It’s made such a huge difference,” Kate said. “We’ve received so much positive feedback having the fresh feeds automatically rolling new content onto our homepage. It’s a much better introduction to our organization and shows visitors what’s happening all across the country.”

Not wanting to stop at their homepage, RFDS also created a social media page on their site, featuring all the content their audiences were sharing about them from across all the top social networks.

“Since we’re Australia-wide,” Kate said, “there is so much happening all the time. Our Stackla-powered social webpage has been a really great way for us to display and keep track of everything that’s going on around the country in real time.”


“Stackla’s made it so much easier for us to always know what’s happening. As an organization, we’re saving someone every two minutes, so we see lots of patient and staff stories as well as volunteer and fundraiser activities. Stackla gives us a good snapshot of what’s going on in the world of our Flying Doctors.”

Because Australia is so big and RFDS covers so much ground, Stackla has served as a “really handy tool to quickly and easily get an on-the-ground level of insight” RFDS never had access to before.

'Our Stackla-powered social webpage has been a really great way for us to display and keep track of everything that’s going on around the country in real time.” - @RoyalFlyingDoc's Kate FesseyClick To Tweet

90 Years of the Flying Doctor

The first of January 2018, marked the 90th year of operation for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. To celebrate, they worked with Stackla to create a UGC timeline of memories that spanned all their decades in operation.

“So many community members have been involved in the story of the Flying Doctors over the past 90 years,” Kate said.  “With the interactive timeline, Stackla enabled us to invite people to upload and share all their stories, photos and memories of the Flying Doctors.”

To kick off the timeline, RFDS dug into their archives to find and post photos from their organization’s past. “We had so many old photos in the archives. A lot of our staff members around the country had never even seen those images, so it was great to be able to display them in such an engaging way where everyone could experience them on our site.”

Displaying their community’s memories from throughout the decades, RFDS created a visual web experience that clearly demonstrated their rich history in a captivating and personal way.

“Being able to see what RFDS means to different people all across the country and dynamically display that on our website has been huge for us. Instead of us just saying ‘this is our story,’ we’re able so see and show how the Flying Doctors have saved and impacted people’s lives.”

Kate said, “We anticipate that people will continue to share and upload their memories, helping to grow the timeline throughout the year.”

By tapping into user-generated content, the @RoyalFlyingDoc are 'able so see and show how the Flying Doctors have saved and impacted people’s lives.”Click To Tweet

What’s Next?

To build off the positive feedback they’ve received from their UGC-powered webpages, RFDS is planning to focus on further engaging their nationwide staff by using Stackla to run some internal, social competitions.

“A lot of our staff have never even met because they’re on opposite sides of the country,” Kate said, “but they’re constantly posting amazing photos on their own social media feeds about their day to day – which could be anything from navigating a storm to rescuing someone. We think running some kind of ‘day in the office’ competition amongst our Flying Doctors could really help connect and engage our staff members.”

RFDS is also planning an air pilgrimage this May, sending over 50 antique aircrafts to 9 different towns they service across Australia. To help bring this unique event to life on their website, RFDS will be using Stackla to create a UGC map visualization of the 9-day journey, capturing and displaying all the content participants and attendees share as the pilgrimage goes past.

Meanwhile, Stackla is continually helping RFDS get a complete picture of what’s going on with their staff and community across the country, helping connect them with all the people they help on a daily basis. “A lot of people post ‘thank yous’ to us on social media,” Kate said, “and they often want to get in touch with the doctor or pilot that helped them, so Stackla has been a great way to see and reconnect with those people.”

“We absolutely love Stackla! It’s been amazing at helping us draw in the content people are creating about us and makes it a lot easier for us to stay on top of everything that’s happening. Stackla has so many different functionalities that have been so helpful to us, and it’s made such a difference for our website.”

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