Circles Accounting and subDAOification

Giving consideration to our support functions - there are operational activities that cannot be easily incorporated into a purely product costing model, for example, how do we allocate costs of governance & DAO to a product? Do we then create an ‘ops/support’ cost center?

Okay folks! Time for a mighty :muscle: update based on the conversations we’ve been having over the last 10 days.

I would like to suggest we dramatically pivot this proposal and aim ourselves towards a near total reconfiguration of our current Circle/Working Group system. One of the main goals of the following is to reform many of our current working groups around product teams and provide a system of financial accountability more granular and more expedient than the proposed Circles Accounting transition proposed above.

I’ve taken the time to consult with many people who have helped me draft this first step forward - Thank you to @clara_gr @freshelle @Griff @karmaticacid @MoeNick for your valuable inputs. I’ve also taken the time to research how others are DAOing it including Aragon, Bankless, Gitcoin and Shapeshift to understand good practices. :thinking:

Where would we start?

The first and critical piece of this puzzle is finding out what the new Working Groups are and what existing Working Groups we should keep. I hope to lead a session sometime next week or the week after with many of you to collectively work through this.

These decisions should eventually coalesce into a Working Group Proposal (WGP) which will be the public facing document for reference on WG info and budgeting. These WGPs should include:

  • Who is the WG lead?
  • Who is in the Working Group, who are your teammates?
  • What is the mission or high level goal of the Working Group as it relates to Giveth?
  • What is your estimated budget and over what time period will this budget be for? (Recommend working in 3-6 month epochs, but no longer than 9 months)
  • What are you going to deliver or what are your concrete goals within that time period?

I would say once we feel good about this proposal, or a later iteration after advice, we set a deadline of 3 months for us to reorganize WGs, identify leaders, goals, teammates and budget, and finally to approve first WGPs.

What else?

Consider how far reaching this re-organization is we would need to adjust the following things to match:

  • Contributor role proposals
  • Weekly WG calls
  • Forum categories
  • Time reporting categories (Coda)
  • Discord channels

Not a small feat for a DAO, but I think if we can get behind this in principal, we can all come together and get 'er done!

We’ll also need to sort out our recurring subscription and services and figure out how and where to account for those costs. Ideally they are attributed under a WG and incorporated into their budgets.

Intended Outcomes

Some short points on what I hope are the outcomes of this intense exercise:

  • Most contributors are still doing the work they were doing before, however contributors know who to coordinate with for certain skill roles (i.e. developers, designers, writers) relating to the product team they are on.
  • The DAO has a bird’s eye view on where money is being spent, and can analyze and make decisions to fund (or not fund) WGs.
  • WGs can analyze and make decisions on allocating (or not allocating) their budget to contributors.
  • WGs have clear goals that underpin the funding they are asking for.
  • Have a clear process for the community/contributors to propose new products/WGs.

I want to lead a Working Group! How would this work?

We can imagine firing up a WG would roughly follow this thought process:

  1. What’s your working group? Where does it provide value for Giveth? What’s the high-level mission/goal?

  2. Got that part figured out? Great. Start building your team - what skills do you need to live up to your mission or meet your goal?

  3. Okay, so you have some people who you want to be on your team. The next part is understanding your budget. You’ll need to identify what their monthly time commitment will be and get salary data from the Governance team, probably @freshelle will be the one. Yes, WG leads will get salary data for contributors to budget effectively.

  4. Team looks stronk. Budget looks reasonable. Now work with your team to unwind the rest - what are your deliverables? What will be your measurable goals and how long will it take to achieve them? :medal_sports:

  5. Write it all down concretely and submit it via the forum for advice. :memo:

  6. Ratify via Snapshot vote. :zap:

  7. BUIDL :hammer:

I’m a Giveth contributor already! How do I plug in?

This probably applies to most of you. I can imagine this is how it would play out in practice:

  1. Find a working group that you can apply your skills to, discuss with the lead and negotiate your tasks and your monthly time commitment.

  2. Allow the lead time to consider what you bring to the table and their budget restrictions.

  3. If approved, work with the lead on building the deliverables or goals for their budgeted epoch.

  4. Update your role proposal. :memo:

  5. BUIDL :hammer:

Some example scenarios in Giveth

WG as a product team

WG as a product team

Let’s say we’re building something like GIVfi. I know I want to lead this WG already and I’ll need a couple things to kick it off the research phase, a solidity developer, a DeFi researcher and the lead (myself).

So I talk to Kurt and Griff. Kurt commits 40 hours monthly and Griff commits 30 hours monthly.

Based on their wage info provided from Governance I can estimate those two plus myself we’ll spend $18k monthly - This initial research phase will take 3 months - so I need $54k as my budget.

Okay, what are my goals for GIVfi? Deliver a revenue stream for Giveth, and projects using the power of DeFi.

What I’m going to deliver in 3 months? We’ll have an MVP spec to begin building GIVfi - ready for design and development.

If that passes and we meet our goals then we move to phase 2 - BUILD, which I will draft another budget proposal for.

This one I know I’ll need a designer, a front-end developer , a back-end developer, a solidity developer and maybe a writer for doing copy - maybe we shoot for 6 months to build and from here the process moves along with budgeting, deliverables, advice and approval.

If it all goes well then the last phase might be - LAUNCH - I might need all the people above plus some extras like comms and community support for just 1 month to get it out the door. Perhaps instead of a UX designer I need a graphics guy so I swap out a Tosin for a Rodri to get comms banners and graphics done for launch.

Once GIVfi is launched, the product team can dissolve and we can move onto the next thing. Ownership and maintenance is transitioned to a core operation like the platform team, which can coordinate the release plan.

WG as a core operation

WG as a core operation

A core operation could be defined as something essential to the DAOs functioning and has no completion date, it goes on as long as Giveth does. This could be things like community support, platform maintenance or security.

MoeNick for example recognizes the need to hold down the fort on the dapp and believes he is the best person to lead the effort. He’ll need commitments from developers, designers, QA testers and copywriters. So he gets Amin, Cherik, Mateo, Alireza, Ramin, Carlos, Mohammad, MaryJaf, Mo, Lauren and Mitch and a rough time commitment from them. He estimates we’ll spend $50k monthly on salaries for dapp maintenance

He also knows we have lots of services to account for - maybe segment, the graph, autopilot and probably many others - but it comes out to $5k for monthly services.

The high-level goal of the platform is of course be the place where the action happens, where donations are made, projects are created and people interact with the GIVeconomy products that Lauren and her team delivered last year.

He is planning for a 6 month epoch, bringing the total epoch budget to $330k.

He discusses with his team and proposes to deliver the following in 6 months:

  • resolve technical debt of the impact-graph
  • notification center improvements
  • redesign of the GIVfarm page
  • release plan for GIVfi once Mitch is ready to hand it off
  • sub-graph migration
  • maintain the dapp and fix bugs

The proposal passes, MoeNick and his team know their goals for the month, they never really stopped working in the meantime but they have the backing of the DAO to know what they need to get done and by when.

At the beginning of month 5 MoeNick should prepare his next budget proposal, reflect on what’s been accomplished or what hasn’t been, and draft an update for the DAO and his next budget estimation, team changes and deliverables.

Oh also, after getting team feedback, MoeNick concludes that Mitch was a total laggard and didn’t really provide a justifiable value to the platform team. So after a conversation with Mitch, maybe facilitated by Gravity, he is not included in the next WG proposal. Alternatively maybe MoeNick could decide to keep him on, but at a reduced monthly time commitment.


This is a lot of new things to process and I tried my best to provide a clear way forward and some practical examples for us to imagine. As mentioned, following positive advice on this proposal I would like to facilitate a call with as many of you as possible to work out the next steps on reforming Working Groups.

Looking forward to your valuable advice and feedback! :mega:

Temp Check! :thermometer:

  • Yes! Let’s try it out
  • Sort of… I have comments or concerns
  • No, we should do something else.
  • No, we should stick to the original plan above.
  • Abstain

0 voters


Nice @mitch. Waiting for next week meeting then for a further discussion.

Hey @mitch,

I think this is a great initiative and I look forward to the meeting!

A few things I would like to discuss are:

  1. The overall “budget” of Giveth across the different working groups including our burn rate.
  2. Incorporating “revenue streams” into Giveth as a whole and then drilling down into working groups where applicable, which could be partnerships, liquidity programs, grants, hackathons, fundraising, NFT sales, services or products we offer etc. The point of this is for working groups to not just think about the costs they would incur, but also how they can support sustainability.

If we have 1 and 2 , we can essentially make a P&L sheet for Giveth (not a traditional business P&L but a web3 DAO version)

  1. So from what I understand, you’re thinking that there would be permanent core working groups (maybe like Comms or HR for shared services) and then temporary or project based working groups for one off initiatives (like the GIVfi example you gave)? So there maybe several product or project based working groups working side by side simultaneously and then they would dissolve when a project is completed?

I guess for that point we should make it clear what the criteria is for when a project should spin off into a WG versus when it is something done within a core WG.


Thanks @mitch for putting this very detailed proposal! It’s a yes from me, looking forward to discuss further in the meeting.

Thanks for jumping in Ahmad! I’ll respond to your points in order:

  1. Yes, the overall budget will be important - we know already how much we’re spending right now, but how much should we spending is an important question. We’ll know a better idea of how much working groups are spending once we know what the working groups are and if they can propose a budget.

That being said, setting a max budget we can agree upon will be important for working group leaders to move forward.

  1. Revenue streams I think is a big topic and I would like to leave it out of at least this first session since I think its out of scope of Working Group formation and budgeting, It’s too much to cover in just 90 mins. I will point to these articles where I’ve tried to push forward on revenue streams in the past:

Revenue Streams, Platform Fees, and GIVfi v0.1

DAO Treasury Management for Giveth Multisigs

Maybe this can help us brainstorm for the future and prioritize!

  1. Yes, exactly. Some things in Giveth don’t have a specific end goal, but run perpetually and should have goals, budgeting etc… that reflect that.

Good point on having clear criteria, I think it’s something the WG will have to be clear about when it commences, what the terms are and what they consider their “completion metrics”. Whatever we decide for criteria it will be a balancing act of accountability vs. efficiency.

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