TLDR; Small grants funding needs to be automated and targeted to specific segments in order to scale up the proliferation of Nouns.
Nouns is a protocol for proliferating Nouns. One of the ways we do this is by attracting smart builders who wanted to build on the protocol, who in turn make things that the whole world wants to use.
We support these smart builders with the DAO treasury that can be accessed via the different funding programs at the DAO that range from 0.1Ξ all the way to 1,000+Ξ.
Full disclosure: I am part of DCS, a funding program targeting mid-sized funding efforts.
Much discussion has been had around scaling our funding efforts, as they are seen as too manual and centralized, especially at the lower end of the spectrum in small grants.
The challenge in deploying capital at that level are many. First off, with a ~29KΞ treasury we can’t possibly ask members to vote on every single small funding request. Instead, we have set up “pods” and programs to handle smaller requests, such as NSFW.
NSFW itself is going through an upgrade process, but I believe there is an opportunity to accelerate the evolution of small grants funding in several ways:
Streamline & automate
Use software platforms such as Prop House and AddressBoard to streamline the funding review and approval process
Create forks that target specific segments
Create “forks” that target specific segments, which can be verticals like arts, public goods, events, etc; or can be regional, like Latin America or India
Leverage expertise at the DAO
Leverage subject matter experts from the DAO in each segment to execute lean pods
Measure the inputs and outputs, benchmark results across all programs
Some of the advantages to this model are obvious in the form of reduced overhead and admin cost to deploy capital. But by segmenting our efforts and leaning into a more data-driven approach we also unlock new powers for the DAO.
By creating small funding forks for specific segments, we can now go deeper into these markets and reach out to builders to come build on the protocol.
We can create “challenges” and “bounties” to incentivize more activity in markets where we want to see more growth. These efforts don’t have to be centralized either, small groups within the DAO can create localized programs to direct attention to their desired funding efforts.
In being more data driven, we can see what’s working and not working, not just at the point of small grants funding, but throughout the DAO funding lifecycle. We can see which small grants efforts leads to larger funding efforts.
Right now I would venture to say we don’t have a great read on this, but by seting up the proper tools we can start to make more informed decisions across the board.
What does this look like in real-life?
Some examples of segmented forks could be:
Small Grants: Arts
Funding artists across different mediums and disciplines, running artists contest, etc.
Small Grants: Public Goods
Funding non-profit efforts, local and regional efforts, giving challenges, etc
Small Grants: Latin America
Proliferation across Latin America, sponsoring IRL events, education programs, working with local web3 groups
Small Grants: India
Proliferation across India, sponsoring IRL events, education programs, working with local web3 groups
These are just some examples but as you can see the framework is quite flexible and can be applied to many different segments. Here are other categories as defined by the Proposal Tracker:
Each fork should have a very clear outline of its objectives. What are the inputs (sources) and outputs (results) that we want to measure it by. Is it targeting proliferation, sustainability, or other? In this way we can effectively benchmark it against other programs at the DAO.
This approach doesn’t need to stop with small funding either. At DCS we’re focused on mid-sized funding efforts, and I believe this model can work to create DCS forks that target specific segments as well (e.g. DCS: Arts, DCS: Public Goods).