[GCP-007] S18 Fund Thin Governance

[GCP-007] Fund Thin Governance for Season 18 (plus option to add in S19)

Summary (TL:DR):

Governance as a “service” was previously a part of the DAOops workstream which was sunset in S17. This being the case, we look to the GCP process as a mechanism to fund base operational governance, while leaving room for aspirational governance innovation via subsequent GPC proposals.


When compared to traditional business, governance is one of the key components that changes within the DAO. Broadly, the goal of optimized governance in a DAO is to reduce the friction within the DAO, increase productivity, and to capture the intent of the community in a way that multiplies the network effect with a view towards long term outcomes. To meet this need, this proposal is built in a way to minimally facilitate steward governance, get the greatest value out of our governing bodies, and to act as an impartial arbiter of the governance process. Additionally, this GCP would be staffed in a way to quickly adapt to critical governance outages and some operational improvements.

This is an experiment and we know there are risks associated with using a temporary funding mechanism like the GCP for operational work. An outcome of this experiment will be a recommendation on if GCPs are appropriate for this kind of work or if the DAO should find another way to staff the work.

Strategic fit:

The three priorities of Gitcoin include Allo, Grants Program, and Passport. In the last three months, Governance has enabled the quadratic selection of the grants round categories, and tested Passport integrations with snapshot enabling quadratic voting. Additional work included helping define the purpose of the Grants program as well as stewarding and reinventing the workstream budgeting process. All four components were in direct support of the three priorities.

From an operational, reporting and oversight perspective, governance orchestrates connections between the workstreams and Gitcoin Steward related to budget approvals and ongoing context via regular connections. Finally, governance is responsible to step in when decisions go astray. Recent examples of this work include helping the DAO and FDD navigate the arrival of new information post vote close via inventing the “reconsideration” process.

The Gitcoin mission is to empower communities to fund their shared needs. Governance has furthered this purpose by co-authoring [GCP-004] Gitcoin Citizens Round which actually enables Gitcoin to fund our own shared needs and once completed, will include updated run books for those communities who wish to run their own stand alone rounds.

Governance enables frugality and better decision making by providing stewards with tools, templates and forums to gain context and give valuable insight to contributors. Examples of this include monthly steward meetings, a new steward onboarding program, and budgeting cheat sheets.

Building on the network while doing this work for Gitcoin, governance deliberately builds and shares Gitcoin assets externally so that others might fork our success. Recent examples of this include the daostewards.xyz capability being forked by Optimism, sharing Post-vote “reconsider” process and becoming a delegate for Optimism.


Left unchecked, governance (as well as other central functions) historically expand to an unworkable bureaucracy. For this reason, this proposal intends to experiment with a thin operational governance layer, while retaining capacity for later emergent project work.

We propose operational governance is funded to do four things:

  1. Manage and improve steward engagement in governance
  2. Continue to iterate the Steward Council concept to drive maximum value - or kill it.
  3. Facilitate the governance process, including budgeting cycles and reviews
  4. Address governance outages and propose experiments & improvements.

Note: this proposal does not include allocation to significant governance project work. Examples of “significant” project work might include rebuilding the DAO budgeting process, developing an approval matrix, and architecting new governance models or protocol research. This scope is intentionally narrow so that we ensure governance operations do not bloat. Additional governance work can be executed during the season, but it would require a deliberate project plan and be limited to a specific GCP.


  • Retain high context governance contributors who understand the DAO
  • Continue refining and adjusting governance structures for the future
  • Existing work on stewardship and steward engagement can continue
  • Quickly adapt to emergent governance needs as we approach the protocol creation

Risk assessment:

  • Funding this proposal could be overpaying for a service that could be delivered by a lower context / lower cost resource.
  • Using the GCPs process to fund high-context work could lead to loss of resources due to the seasonal instability of the role.
  • Not funding this work will mean the existing work will have to be stopped or reassigned to existing resources.


An estimate based on history suggests this work can be done with 0.5 FTE (full time equivalent), or approximately 20 hours per week for the three month period.

  • 20800.25 (3 months) = 5200.5 (50% allocation of one person) = 260 hours total
  • 260 hours at $80 per hour = $20800 (Shawn)

*based on an estimated 2080 hours for a full time equivalent @ 52 weeks per year

Total request: $20800

Payments would be triggered at the end of each completed month, triggered by a Tally vote.

This role will require access to “core contributor” tools such as email, g-suite, miro, discord, etc. There is no consideration for vacation, travel, training, severance, conferences, or other ancillary DAO / workstream contributor benefits. This proposal does not include ancillary payments for other governance operations (example, Steward Council).

Ideally this role would join the CSDO, but CSDO decides membership to that body.


The season would start on May 1 and conclude on July 31. There would be no severance should the service not be renewed after July 31st, 2023.

Customer acceptance criteria: What metrics, outcomes, or deliverables should be used to verify the project met expectations? Said another way, after the project is complete, what measures will you use to confirm the project met or did not meet the outcomes listed in the “motivation”.

Activities to be reported via monthly governance reports (the end of each period)

  • Summary of governance proposals
  • Summary of steward and steward council activities
  • Summary of assets / work completed in support of Allo, Grants Program, Passport
  • Percent change in voter participation (unique voters + tokens cast)

Additional deliverables:

  • Delivery of a steward engagement plan, inclusive of experimentation proposals
  • Go / no go / change decision on v4 of the Steward Council (plus execution if needed)

NOTE: Based on a request from the Steward Council, we are including an option to fund this operational work for season 18 and for 19, with the inclusion of a mid-point review at the end of Season 18. All components of the proposal apply, however the timeline of this option would be from May 1 to October 31.


For - Fund Gitcoin Governance $20800 for Season 18

For - Fund Gitcoin Governance $41600 for Season 18 & 19

Against - Do not fund Gitcoin Governance for Season 18 or 19


Governance is one of the hardest problems facing GitcoinDAO & @shawn16400 is one of the most passionate and capable people I have met on the topic.

I am voting to fund his work for S18 & S19.

IMO Shawn has proved his worth over and over and it makes sense to fund him for 2 seasons at once as that is the cadence the core workstreams are on. This approach maximizes the time he can spend on the important work of governance & minimizes the amount of time he needs to spend on making additional proposals to continue this important work.


Shawn has been amazing to work with over the last several months and I think it is absolutely imperative that he be able to continue his work at the DAO.

I will be voting ‘yes’ for “For - Fund Gitcoin Governance $41600 for Season 18 & 19”.


This is an obvious yes for me.

@shawn16400 has proven that his approach on surfacing and solving governance issues is not only thoughtful and effective but also collaborative which I highly appreciate. I will vote yes for his work in S18 & 19.


I’ve never seen a person as passionate and as hard working as @shawn16400 is in Dao governance. The way he approaches issues when they come up and the level of empathy he always spreads around is energizing. Voting for:

(PS: I don’t have a lot of voting power atm, but I h


Thanks @shawn16400

a. Is it fair to summarise this proposal as ‘Establish a Governance Coordinator’?

b. Many of these outputs

are already being delivered by (Gitcoin Digest #3 2023)

The only additions I see are:

Would it make sense to narrow the scope of this proposal to ‘retroactively fund these additional outputs’ if the community accepts them? and let @rohit continue with the governance summaries via Gitcoin Digest?

1 Like

Thank you very much for the questions - the better our stewards get at critically challenging proposals, the less of a chance we end up funding DAO money grabbers. I think operational excellence and transparency are key components to protecting DAO assets, but the more “someones” we have watching the store, the better. So. Thank you.

I kringe a wee bit at this label, but in the absence of a better one, it might be most appropriate. To explain, there is basic operational work required to facilitate good governance which in an ideal state is managed via code. But until we get there, the next best state could be governance execution that is defined well enough that it could be managed by a bounty process. Think, a group of three or four moderate-context contributors who are facilitating governance on a bounty basis. It has redundancy built in, it is scalable, and it has a measure of fraud resilience built in. At Gitcoin, we trend towards contributors vs. the bounty model, but I have not given up that we try this.

But, IMO solid operational governance in the DAO is necessary, but not sufficient. Most DAOs are still challenged to engage stakeholders in a way that leverages the network while moving past plutocratic models. This realm of work falls more in the domain of governance design. This proposal is mostly focused on the former (operations), but with a bit of time left for incremental improvements as it relates to design (mostly with steward governance).

I do think Gitcoin needs to lean into governance innovation. BUT this DAO also has to do better at operational excellence and accountability. Given this work is no longer linked to a workstream, I think GCPs need to have a higher level of transparency so that any minimally involved steward can look at the output and say “yeah, that was a good use of resources”. My intention is to find the right next governance innovations (and partners) so we can serve up (GCP) options to our stewards.

Yes, kind of. Two things here, first a summary of outputs is just reporting of tactical work that has been completed, it’s not the work of actually doing the thing. Second, I am really happy that MMM has relaunched the Gitcoin Digest and it for sure will help get the word out. But linking back to operational excellence, I suspect our GCPs should have deliberate communications to both 1) ensure value is being delivered and 2) in the case of this GCP, ensure we make it simple for stewards to maintain context. I am thinking something closer to this, but with the core OKRs attached.

Finally, part of this work is sensing and responding to the needs of the DAO - and that is harder to predict. But, for examples of past assets created, this slide deck outlines deliverables which can be a good barometer.

@jengajojo thank you very much for the questions, and I welcome you as a new steward. I am looking forward to learning from your experience and love that you bring additional domain expertise to Gitcoin.


I will vote YES. Shawn’s work has been a beating heart for stewards.


+1 The Digest is a point-in-time snapshot of the key topics and won’t be able to do justice to the above on a need basis.


Strong vote YES here. @shawn16400 is someone I personally look up to as an educator & operator in governance. We are lucky to have him…


Shawn’s been amazing to work with and governance is a hard problem that takes lots of hours. Definitely supportive of this.


I’m a huge fan of @shawn16400 's thoughtful, fact-based approach to governance work as well as his ability to level up into serious governance issues and philosophy. This is a no-brainer to continue to support his work and the ongoing governance needs of Gitcoin in a way that’s appropriate for the org and budget!


I am supportive of funding this for one season, to see how we do with the steward council and other items listed.

I know we have had our differences in the outcomes achieved, so hopefully one more season will offer some space to showcase the newly committed outcomes.


There’s so much to be done for Governance so I’ve voted yes.
It’s been an absolute pleasure collaborating with shawn on all things governance, so full trust here.

One thought: I do think it will not be useful to fund this without the continuation of the rework of the processes themselves, so I’m looking forward to GCPs that will accompany this ‘thin governance’ proposal - to signal this I’ve selected the ‘one season’ option for now, because I think/hope a lot will have changed again in 3 months from now and hopefully a larger, integrated GCP could come out of this.


The option “For - Fund Gitcoin Governance $20800 for Season 18” has passed with ~76% approval rate.

1920 unique votes
~5.6M GTC tokens cast.

Thank you to all the voters for participating in our governance!