Today in the Governance Call, we spoke about the status of the Trusted Seed project.
The verification team has come to the conclusion that we think this project should not be eligible for the GIVbacks program. This project is used for members of the Trusted Seed to pay membership dues and therefore receive benefits from being a member of the Trusted Seed. The Trusted Seed provides a public good and we would love to support them in receiving donations to continue doing good work and that these types of donations can be eligible for GIVbacks. However, we have come to the agreement that we, as a verification team, do not feel ethically right giving GIVbacks for the paying of membership dues to be part of an excludable club.
Notes from the Governance Call today -
Points taken from the discussion:
- We would like to continue to have a strong partnership with the Trusted Seed.
- If the Trusted Seed project was removed from the GIVbacks program, how could we establish a partnership agreement with them outside of the GIVbacks program and what would that entail?
First things first
We need to clear up the current eligibility - the verification team thinks that this project should not be GIVbacks eligible but we want to make sure that our community is in agreeance with this decision.
It would be the first project that we have removed from the program.
Please refer to the docs for GIVbacks program disqualifying measures.
Find the Trusted Seed project here.
Find documentation from the Trusted Seed about membership benefits here. One of the benefits stated is “You will automatically earn $GIV tokens when you renew your membership.”
Should the Trusted Seed members receive GIVbacks for paying membership dues?
I don’t think we could call this project “verified” in it’s current state, it clearly states about paying membership dues on the project and dedicates a considerable portion of its description shilling to people about the benefits of paying dues, it also promises to reward people with TRUST tokens, which promising rewards for donations is explicitly against our verification rules.
First of all, I think the Trusted Seed itself and it mission is great and easily qualifies for GIVbacks.
However, I think Giveth should only reward true donations to the Trusted Seed with GIV. The Trusted Seed is then free to use these donations any way they like, e.g. to lower the membership dues for everyone.
In theory, they could even decide to waive the membership dues for the particular donor. I am not suggesting to look the other way, but it would most probably be beyond our control if they do it under the radar. If they advertise something like this openly, I would still revoke their verification, but at least it would be their internal - questionable - policy decision and not Giveth’s (as it is now).
Whatever we do, I agree we should communicate well and avoid damage to the relationship.
Reading the Disqualifying Factors for the GIVbacks Program it is clear that this project is violating those rules, therefor it is my obligation to vote “No” on this proposal.
I understand that the Trusted Seed had no bad intentions and that they were using Giveth out of convenience to avoid spending time and money building their own solution to collect membership payments.
As I suggested on the governance call, if projects want to use Giveth to collect membership dues, they could create a project specifically for that purpose. They can also create another “general purpose” project that collects only donations, and this project can be eligible for GIVbacks.
Many nonprofits have membership structure to help them fundraise. I think Trusted Seeds should qualify but the benefits of the membership should be calculated and excluded from the GIVback amount. Which means:
GIVback= % of (total donation - membership benefits or membership due)
If the membership benefits is already the value of the GIVback, then donors should not be rewarded with GIVbacks. But this doesn’t mean that Trusted Seeds is not a “verifiable” (trusted) social good project. We should relook at the meaning of verification vs. GIVback program. Some projects may be valid as a social good project but not eligible for GIVbacks for various reasons (? just to compare to real world, this will happen from time to time and how to treat this needs clear policy).
The badge has been revoked from the Trusted Seed Project.
I look to reading the forum post put forth by @Griff or Max as well as hear community feedback to define what the Trusted Seed Partnership could look like in the future.