Grants Lab S21 Budget Proposal

What is Grants Lab?

The Grants Lab shares a North Star with the rest of Gitcoin: to increase grants GMV (measured as Allo GMV). This business unit contributes towards that goal with a focus on product development and product adoption. It has a heavy focus on product, development, and developer relations activities, as well as product + growth marketing, grant operations, and sales.

The Grants Lab team is staffed by the former Allo, Grants Stack, GPT, and GSD workstreams. Each team is held accountable by the GM of Grants Lab and will develop quarterly OKRs to chart and coordinate our progress. After the end of this season (February - April), we will move towards an annual budget request process to improve stability for the organization. This budget is intended as a “gap” request to continue financing critical operations as we plan for the year ahead.

S20-21 Goals

The team is carrying forward our S20-21 goals for Grants Stack as our organization-level goals. Additionally, we’ll be charting the progress of several key initiatives outlined below.

50 grants rounds run

  • Status: 52 grants rounds run (or in progress) to date. This goal felt quite ambitious back in October when we had achieved 13 independently run rounds since launching Grants Stack, but we’ve blown it out of the water! This speaks to the traction we have gained in the market and the ease of use of the product. We will modify this goal to 80 rounds run by the end of S21. We are not doubling it because we anticipate slightly lower total rounds run during GG20 (April 2024) vs GG19 (November 2023).

10 repeat customers

  • Status: 11 repeat customers achieved to date. Kudos to the team for blowing another goal out of the water – we’ll modify it to 20 repeat customers.

5 paying customers

  • Status: 0 paying customers achieved to date. This may be a miss for Season 21 as we’re postponing paid product offerings until the Allo v2 migration is accomplished (and will likely turn our development focus post-migration to preparing for GG20.) That said, this is a really important data point for our future success. There is no real PMF with a free product – we want to ensure that our partners are truly getting value from their experience and we are creating aligned incentives between Gitcoin and our partners.
  • We do have some early proof points of value as we have landed several large partnerships that include substantial services fees.

Additional initiatives for Season 21

Allo v2 Migration

The Grants Stack and Allo teams have now merged into one product and engineering team in our new structure. They’re working closely together to migrate Grants Stack from Allo v1 to Allo v2. This is a very large and complex project estimated to take 2.5 months of work across both teams. Successful completion of this project is critical to the future growth and development of Grants Stack, and will set us up with a much faster development environment and better ability to coordinate with external teams and applications.

Complete key new hires

We have several open positions across Grants Lab that are focused on product adoption. Filling these positions with exceptionally talented leaders will be incredibly impactful for our growth this year! The positions are listed below, and we welcome applications and referrals from anyone in the Gitcoin community.

Successful GG20

The Gitcoin Grants Program now lives in Grants Labs, and we’re excited to coordinate more closely between the product and the program, as well as with the larger community! I’m humbled that this will mark our 20th funding round – Gitcoin Grants has achieved so much to date, and is still just getting started.

Budget Request

The original Allo, Grants Stack, GSD, and GPT previously submitted the linked 6-month budget requests. We will combine the existing multisigs into one multisig (previously owned by Grants Stack) and manage those finances jointly.

There are some key changes to the original budget request. We’ve added the following:

  • Bringing on a marketing agency (Collective Works, led by Lauren Feld) to analyze our current go to market and get key new marketing efforts off the ground
  • Contracting with the Climate Coordination Network to run future Climate rounds
  • 1 month’s salary for each of the open positions (fingers crossed we make quick hires!)
  • Increased budget ($10k/mo) for RFP work done by non-core contributors as we experiment with more experimental features built on Allo v2
  • Removal of some headcount in the previous GPT and GSD teams to right-size those orgs to their sole focus on Grants. We have also removed some leadership headcount on the Allo team.

Budget overview:

  • Amount remaining from previously approved budgets across Allo/GS/GPT/GSD for S21: $1,701,848
  • New budget for S21: $1,032,429
  • Funds currently held in wallets across each of the previous teams: $1,309,541
  • New request for S21: $344,143 (equivalent of one month’s budget to bolster reserves)

The increase in funds held in wallets is a result of an increase in token price since the original disbursement, as well as lower than expected spending across several workstreams.

This amount is under what was previously approved through governance for the Grants Stack S21 budget. Given that, we plan to proceed straight to a Tally vote to disburse the $344k to the Grants Stack multisig. Please let me know any concerns with this approach via comments or Discord DMs.

Conclusion

As you can imagine, we’ve had an eventful start to the year! I’m so grateful to our teams who have approached these changes with enthusiasm and continued to build. We have an awesome 2024 ahead!

11 Likes

Very excited to be part of this team driving operational excellence for Grant Ops.

With these changes we getting back to our original intent and with a renewed focus to help all ecosystems fund what matters

Up Only from here :chart_with_upwards_trend:

6 Likes

I’m seeing this proposal has a few moving parts:

  1. An amalgamation of several different multisigs into this one
  2. Given the amalgamation, a budget request to “top off” the multisig

I also have one clarification: this is a budget request for S21, which is 3-months long starting Feb 1. And there will be another budget request on May 1st, correct?

I’m aligned, just wanting to confirm :slight_smile:

2 Likes

thanks so much for confirming! I know this is an unusual format for a request and want to provide as much clarity as possible :slight_smile:

  1. This is a heads up that we plan to combine the multisigs into one. AFAIK, doing so does not require a governance vote.
  2. Correct, this budget request is to disburse funding previously approved through governance to the Grants Lab multisig (which previously functioned as the Grants Stack multisig.)
  3. Correct, this budget request covers S21 (Feb-April) and there will be another budget request for May.
2 Likes

So excited to see your top two goals achieved and then some! Really looking forward to watching how this new structure supports even more growth. Can’t wait to continue to partner with you to make it happen!

3 Likes

Basically, I think the one thing we want to think through carefully is whether funds can be repurposed from other multisigs into this one. I have 2 minds on this:

  1. We should not do this. Essentially what we’re saying is “I know that you’ve given us funds to do XYZ but now we’re going to repurpose it for this”. I would never want a Citizen grants recipient to do this - I would expect them to execute on what they committed to OR return the funds to the treasury.

  2. Even if we went with 1, all we’re doing is extending the process because basically first, we spin down WSs and send funds back to the GTC treasury, THEN you ask for the full 1.2M proposal for the 3 months (assuming this passes without issue). Essentially we’re just moving money around to get the same result, and a direct route would be much easier.

Thoughts on how to proceed?

2 Likes

That’s a really thoughtful perspective, thanks for surfacing! My mindset is that these funds will be administered differently, but they are still serving the same purpose, mission, and direction that was originally approved. If these workstreams had majorly shifted high level focus or strategy, then I think the appropriate path would be to return funds to treasury and re-apply. (If helpful, I see these as some examples of major focus/strategy shifts: majorly impacted by the Passport spinout, the PGN shutdown, or had switched domains – eg grants to nfts.)

Given this, I do not see it as a repurposing of funds – just an operational shift in how those funds are administered. I am comfortable not returning funds to the treasury and re-requesting but will leave this open for a few days for others to comments with their perspective!

5 Likes

My take is along the lines of Megs, but will also defer to others in the community. I think it’s important that we preserve the ability to shift the tactics or operations as necessary to achieve the outcomes that have been approved by the community.

3 Likes

This resonates. The mandates of the team has not changed. They have been combined. Assuming this vote passes, then I dont think they need to return the funds they have.

It seems like we have already hit the goals that were outlined for S21. Does it make sense to outline more ambitious goals?

3 Likes

Thanks for the comments @meglister @kyle @Jeremy. I appreciate the nuance here and think this is setting a solid precedent moving forward in our governance which creates a balance between the ability for groups to meet market needs and iterate while also holding folks accountable to what they’ve committed to in the first place.

Feeling good about voting yes to this plan.

1 Like

Hi everyone, I wanted to provide an update here.

Because this budget proposal got enough comments, I went forward and published it to Tally here: Tally | Gitcoin Proposal

That said, I’m having serious reservations about moving these funds out of the treasury and into the Grants Stack multisig as per Meg’s comments:

I’m still in a mind that it would be best if we did a Snapshot vote to ratify the disbursement of funds as per this request.

I know we’ve gone back on this a couple of times, but it still feels like an easy, hard and fast rule to follow is “new funds released from treasury = vote” if it is differing from the initial proposal.

Please let me know your thoughts. I will be voting “no” to the Tally budget above until this can be resolved (and I’m open to changing to a ‘yes’ if this can be fully resolved :slight_smile: )

1 Like

Thanks Coach J - I agree.

I would hate to set a precedent that funds approved for one org structure and purpose can be changed without governance participation in confirming alignment. Ideally the community would weigh in and have to opportunity to dissent if a key leader wants to make changes.

So, it’s inconvenient, but ultimately the right move to confirm the community agrees that the new structure is viable and should receive funding. I also dont think they need to return the funds of the combined org. I think I mentioned that in a comment above.

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Hi @CoachJonathan – this plan is fine by me! Thanks for flagging. I would have been happy to modify originally and avoid having to fail the Tally vote if I knew you had concerns!

One request – let’s please make sure to discuss + clarify this process in our governance handbook. As many of us have noted, we want to make sure that we provide enough speed and flexibility for business units to achieve the outcomes they’ve committed to. I want to avoid this ambiguity in the future so that we can have more predictable processes for requesting and receiving funding.

2 Likes

Thanks for weighing in folks. I take full responsibility here for pulling the trigger too quickly and will ensure this does not happen again.

Here is how I suggest we move forward:

  • Tally vote should be voted “no” or just left to expire without reaching quorum (no action needed)
  • The Snapshot vote is now live: Snapshot. Please go vote.
  • As per Meg’s suggestion, I will discuss & clarify several processes in our governance handbook:
    • Fine tuning when new org structures do/n’t need to go to a vote (while allowing BU’s to maintain agility)
    • A process to ensure that proposals don’t go on chain unless certain criteria are met (we have this now, but firming this up