Update #8: Connecting the dots

aurel_blog_rund by Aurel Vogel, January 2022

Progress has a strange pace. Months, even years (seemingly) pass without noteworthy changes and all of a sudden everything comes together within two weeks. Impossible problems suddenly get solved and everything happens at lightning speed. And three months later you look back and think: “Well, that all makes sense!”

Last year Fairpicture pretty much followed this pattern. It made me realise what Steve Jobs meant, when he said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

So let’s look backwards and connect the dots — in our main areas of development.

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Photo: Angela Ponce / Fairtrade Germany / Fairpicture

"Fairpicture was able to close its first investment round in October."

Funding

Let’s start with funding because that was the main topic of our last blog post. In short: We found our needle or rather our needles in the haystack of impact investors. Fairpicture was able to close its first investment round in October and can now fund the main development projects until next year.

Our investments and grants come from three areas: A third of it comes from six private impact investors and banks, another third from grants and subsidies by foundations and the state, and the last third from over 30 crowd investors as well as the founders.

We are very excited that we have this mix of people and institutions, all committed to the cause of Fairpicture. It won’t be the last funding round either, so if you missed the opportunity, you have another chance in the next crowd investing campaign in Summer 2022.

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Maureen Pasciolco, 54, owner of Pasciolco-Agri-Ventures, started her business with her husband, Lito Pasciolco, 56. Her company manufactures coconut-based products such as coconut jam, coconut vinegar, coconut oil.


Photo: Alecs Ongcal / International Trade Center / Fairpicture

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Business

Now this is where it gets really exciting: In terms of assignments and sales, we already reached our goal for 2021 in October. Since the beginning of the year, visual creators from Fairpicture were on more than 70 assignments with over 600 days in the field. This means that, on average, two Fairpicture creators have been continuously photographing, filming or editing somewhere around the world. This is awesome!

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Photo: Jason J Muikita / Don Bosco Mondo / Fairpicture

Highlight Story

My personal highlights so far: Of course the Fairtrade farmers documentary, filmed by Fairpicture creators on three continents and edited by Thorsten Kleinschmidt and an outstanding story from Chile about children during Covid lockdowns by Tamara Merino for Don Bosco.

Network and community

These achievements were made possible thanks to a growing network of amazing photographers and video journalists. Currently our network of active creators counts 115 local visual storytellers from 61 countries who identify with the Fairpicture mission of creating authentic visual content from their own communities.

In the last few months, this loose network has started to evolve into a community. In one-on-one calls, on our Slack channel, during community calls or on social media, the creators from our network are connecting with each other and co-developing Fairpicture with us. Some creators have also started blogging. If you haven’t already, check out the blog article from Tendai Marima about the relationship between the photographer and the person photographed, and Fabrice Mbonankira’s blog about what makes a good story.

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These conceptual developments are having real consequences in our daily work already: Metadata and consent standards have become stricter.

Aurel Vogel, Co-Founder Fairpicture

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Photo: Nipah Dennis / FairTrade Germany / Fairpicture

Impact

In my last blog post, I explained why Fairpicture is a Zebra startup that considers business and impact goals on an equal level, so let’s see what has happened on the “impact front”: We have successfully completed the Swiss Social Impact Accelerator in July 2021. Thanks to this program (and the support of Miša Krenčeyová), the first draft of our “Theory of Change” (ToC) is ready to be implemented. The way the business plan is guiding us on our business dimension, the ToC will guide us on the impact dimension. 

We are increasingly challenging (and getting challenged) clients and creators alike in the process of developing the “fair image” (see for example the blog articles about nonprofit communication and informed consent). The latest and best example of this was a community call with a client and a videographer talking about the fair representation of people filmed in a humanitarian crisis context in South Sudan.

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Farmers during a cooperative visit in Aceh, Indonesia, 2022
Photo: Brahmantyo Putra / Fairtrade International / Fairpicture

Organisation

In line with the development described above, our organisation has grown: In July, Noah Arnold joined the team as a community manager and impact developer. In August, Daniela Hächler started and took off like she had never worked anywhere else before. And just two weeks ago, we welcomed our latest team member Anna von Sury into the operations team. Welcome to you all and thank you for being part of this journey!

As a pandemic born startup, working from home is part of our DNA. Like our visual creators, our team is distributed across multiple cities and countries (currently in Bern, Luzern, Basel, Vienna, Seignosse and Valencia). This has an effect on our team culture (both positive and negative) which is why we are looking forward to our first organisational development event next week with Melanie Bloch and Martin Kägi, two experienced moderators (and Fairpicture fans).

We also founded a new legal entity, the Fairpicture AG, located at Impact Hub Bern. So don’t be surprised if you suddenly find a different address on a letter/invoice/email. We are still the same people working on the same mission.

Selected blog posts

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BLOG

May 2024 - N'Deane Helajzen

The Power of Community Storytelling and Co-Creation

Explore the importance of community storytelling and its relationship with co-creation, illustrating how they can enrich collective narratives.

Learn more about The Power of Community Storytelling and Co-Creation

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BLOG

May 2021 - Aurel Vogel

Update #7: The birth of a zebra

Aurel vogel, co-founder of Fairpicture, talks about the complementary demands of impact and business that a zebra startup places on itself. Learn more about a new generation of entrepreneurs who are unwilling to accept the categories social company, nonprofit or startup.

Learn more about Update #7: The birth of a zebra

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BLOG

August 2023 - Jörg Arnold

Ethics in Fundraising

"Do no harm - a maxim in fundraising as well?" Jörg's blog post about current ethical dilemmas in fundraising and how to encounter them.

Learn more about Ethics in Fundraising

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