Learn how a “global mom” does #socialgood while #keepinitreal
This Behind the Seens interview is with Chrysula Winegar, who is a “communicator, agitator, and global mama” working as Senior Director, Communications & Special Initiatives at United Nations Foundation. She is passionate about changing the world.
Originally from Australia, Chrysula and I met virtually online many years ago though we happily discovered we live in the same town IRL. However, we confess that we “see” much more of each other online – thank goodness for social media! I am really excited to share some of her “behind the seens” of doing #socialgood for #globalmoms while #keepinitreal with her family and friends.
What has been a game-changer for growing your audience?
Social media has been the gateway for everything we’re doing regarding social causes and issues.
Originally, it was Twitter. It was a space where I met like-minded people and developed both personal and business relationships. With Twitter, there was this power coalescing around an idea or cause. Over time, I found it to be less effective, and Facebook and Instagram are the more impactful platforms now.
I have learned that social will be ever-evolving. Don’t ever put all of your eggs in one place; always be looking for what’s working now.
The principle of how we connect, how we find people, and create spaces—is not going to change anytime soon—that is our constant. Making use of the benefits of the platforms is what changes.
When we helped build the Giving Tuesday (global day of giving) over six years ago, we knew that social media was pivotal to raising awareness for the campaign. So we created the name and messaging specifically with the hashtag in mind. It was a deliberate decision to use #GivingTuesday to make it even easier for people to share and engage.
What are your favorite social media networks or platforms?
Personally, my favorite is Instagram for really connecting with friends and people who are far away, like my family and friends in Australia and other countries. There is an intimacy that I am enjoying.
I think the only way we are going to get through this logjam is to take time to understand one another.
What are you doing differently this year to reach more people?
We’re using Instagram stories and Instagram takeovers to spotlight our members and have them showcase our work to their communities. Non-profit funds are sacred, so we cautiously use some of our budget on Facebook promotions. The ability to specifically target our audience and highlight our message is unparalleled, so we are very carefully using this platform to expand our reach in this way.
The targeting ability is great, the downside is that without a few dollars behind it, it’s very hard to get your content seen on Facebook. That’s why we are strategic and use funds in a very targeted way. These stories need and deserve to be heard.
You can have the best advertising strategy in the world and unlimited dollars behind it, but content is still king or queen. It may sound a bit cliché, but we know that we have to continue to be better storytellers.
“The only way you can bring folks together on an issue, ultimately, is to tell a story and have that story be real, and raw and powerful (and) at the same really respectful to the person whose story it is.”
We are very cognizant that the message needs to be heard without exposing people’s lives unnecessarily. It’s a fine line that those of us in the non-profit space have to manage. That narrative is essential, so we are always grateful for those people who are willing to share their experience with us.
What’s your secret strategy in connecting with an international audience?
In terms of the global health work that we do, the most powerful way for us to connect is mother to mother. The Global Mom’s Challenge we know that those who want to engage there either: are a mom, have a mom, and/or love a mom. When we can tell a mom’s story as much as possible in her own words, we know that as a mom, you and I and our audience can hear that story, watch that video, or see that photo essay, and really understand and empathize.
I met a mom in Mozambique who walked 15 miles one day to get her kids to a clinic for vaccines. We can really put ourselves in her place and understand what that must have been like. A day of lost wages, hours of waiting when she got there, and a 15-mile walk. With two toddlers. It’s staggering.
My pediatrician is close by. It’s a short drive and a 20-minute wait, right? The ability to use these platforms to stay connected yourself, to take an experience and translate it to our own lives and then realize the gap, is what moves us to get involved. To help. To close that gap. It’s really powerful.
Can you share some stellar stats?
Global Moms Network has more than doubled in the last couple of years. We are a community of about 250 thousand-strong, which translates into a powerful group of people who have raised their hands and said, “I care about the health of women and girls both locally, and around the world.”
It’s a truly global audience now. Just over two years ago, our audience was 90% US-based. Now the US is about 40%, so we’re excited to see that people across the planet have embraced this.
It was a big goal for us. We truly wanted to “put the globe into Global Moms,” and it’s been rewarding to see that happen. There’s no “us and them.” It’s all of us.
How do you use these platforms to stay connected yourself?
Social media allows me personally to share in a way that’s authentic and real. I can be an overshare-er, so I’ve learned that I need boundaries for myself personally and for those whose story I share.
My kids are teenagers, so I am respectful of how things impact them. And of course, I take great care when sharing someone else’s story as well. It’s important to be real, and boundaries help.
I use #keepinitreal – those are the posts that my friends and family interact with the most. Blogging took off because of the authenticity; the real-ness and the personal nature of that medium pulled us in.
That’s MY secret sauce. It’s no secret, though. It’s actually taking away the secrecy. It’s being open about what we’re all going through. When I can take that and translate it into the work, the ability to be real is everything.
What do you do to disconnect? (fun, non-digital stuff?)
We just got a puppy named Milly. She’s utterly divine.
I love YA fantasy fiction. It’s my secret escape and a great way to bond with my daughter.
I take singing lessons just because. My teacher has an annual recital for her students which is a group of teenage girls and me. I participated in the last one and it was a fun, powerful experience. This is a creative outlet that’s just mine. Just for me.
Chrysula is funny and real and doing amazing work. You can follow and connect with her personally here: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.