Member-Based Guild Funding Retrospective

Title: Member-Based Guild Funding Retrospective
Author: links
Edits: Trewkat, Jameswmontgomery, Bananachain


  • Season 6 is the first season with member-based guild funding, and guilds had to determine their own criteria for active membership.
  • Season 6 seasonal guild budgets were 3.7% higher than Season 5.
    • Guild+Department spending could be as much as 15% higher if additional guild/department proposals pass in S6
  • There were some big differences in the way guilds calculated active members, and the following criteria need consensus (see polls below):
    • Activity time windows
    • Meeting attendance
    • Types of members
    • Tracking Methodology


The Season 6 seasonal funding round was the first round where BanklessDAO used member-based guild funding. As per the initiative, guilds chose whether or not to stay guilds (and be funded based on the # of active members they had) OR turn into departments (and be funded based upon detailed accounts from S5 and detailed budgets for S6).

Also related to the initiative, guilds chose their own way to define “active members”, and shared their criteria, calculation, and list of active members with the DAO on their seasonal forum posts (you can find a list of forum posts here: S6 Funding Requests). The intent behind letting guilds set their own formula and “show their work” was to do an analysis after the fact to see what criteria, if any, should be used when determining “active members”.

This post shares an analysis of member-based guild funding for Season 6 and attempts to gather consensus on the procedure for Season 7.

Impact on Seasonal Budgets

Here’s an analysis which compares S5/S6 budgets: Member-Based Guild Funding Analysis


  • For the 13 guilds, seasonal budgets went up 3.7% total
  • 2 Guilds split up into both a guild and a department. These groups were NOT included in seasonal funding, but if you assume their spending will pass, then seasonal budgets increased by 15%

Active Members

As expected, every guild had a different definition for “active members”. The intent from the originating Team Taxonomy forum post was to let guilds define their own criteria for S6, and then use that criteria to come up with some DAO-wide criteria, if possible.

What follows is a list of criteria that various guilds used, with polls to help us give direction for Season 7.

Time Window

Many guilds used the previous season (last 3 months) as the window in which to measure activity, but some guilds used the past two seasons (last 6 months) and some even used 6-week windows.

Longer time windows will count more participants, but it did lead to some members who were not part of our Discord anymore or not having been seen in 5 months and still being counted as active.

POLL: What do you believe that time window for activity should be?

  • 6 months (2 seasons)
  • 3 months (1 season)
  • 1 month (0.5 seasons)
  • Each guild should continue to decide for themselves

0 voters

Meeting Attendance

Many guilds included meeting attendance as a standalone criteria for active membership (i.e. attending meetings counts as contribution), while other guilds did not include meeting attendance at all.

POLL: Do you believe that meeting attendance should be counted as active membership?

  • Yes, meeting attendance by itself can be counted as active membership
  • No, meeting attendance alone should not be counted as active membership
  • Each guild should continue to decide for themselves

0 voters

Some guilds required a certain number of weekly meetings to be attended during their time horizon to be counted as active, while others counted anyone who has been to even a single meeting as active.

POLL: How many weekly meetings should someone attend to be counted as “an active member”

  • I don’t believe meeting attendance should count towards activity
  • 1 weekly meeting (i.e. 1 week of attendance)
  • 2 weekly meetings (i.e. 2 weeks of attendance)
  • 3 or more weekly meetings (i.e. 3+ weeks of attendance)
  • Each guild should continue to decide for themselves

0 voters

Types of Members

Some guilds limit active membership only to those who have the skills that the guild is gathering (i.e. only people who know at least 2 languages can be counted as active members for the Translators Guild). Others included those who have the skills and want to learn (i.e. those who want to learn project management can be considered active members of the PM Guild). Still others included those who have the skills, learners, and those who contribute in other ways (i.e. a designer who makes artwork for an article for the Writers Guild can be considered an active member).

POLL: Who should be considered as active members of a guild?

  • Only those who have a skill that a guild is named for should be counted as active members
  • Those who have or are learning the guild’s skill should be counted as active members
  • Anyone who contributes to a guild should be counted as active members, regardless of skill or desire to learn
  • Each guild should continue to decide for themselves

0 voters

Tracking Methodology

Some guilds submitted a list of active members which described what individual members had done to be considered active (i.e. mr_bankless is active because they completed 3 tasks and attended 3 meetings). Other guilds allowed members to self-report activity through Coordinape signups. Still other guilds didn’t include how they tracked activity, they just submitted a list of members that the Guild Coordinator considered active.

POLL: How do you think guilds should be tracking activity?

  • Guilds should track tasks/bounties/attendance to determine active members
  • Guilds should allow members to “self-report” activity (i.e. via Coordinape signups)
  • Guild Coordinators should be allowed to determine activity without any supporting documentation
  • Each guild should continue to decide for themselves

0 voters

Next Steps

  1. Gather consensus from the questions above from BanklessDAO
  2. Submit this report to the Grants Committee
  3. Ask Grants Committee to refine the definition of active membership for Season 7 based on the community feedback

What do YOU think?!

It’s not all about the numbers. Member-based funding was intended to make seasonal budgeting easier than before, and to provide direction for guilds and departments.

Was your guild budgeting process significantly easier or harder than normal this season? Did your guild feel more focused on finding new members? Why did you decide to become a guild or department?

Remember: member-based guild funding is an iteration on our seasonal grants framework. It’s an experiment, so it’s really important to hear what the community thinks if we want to improve. Whether you liked or hated it, your opinion is important, so please leave any and all feedback you have below!


Many adjectives for this proposal - Beautiful, timely, critical, complex and necessary. Thank you for thinking, writing and putting this up for voting @links @jameswmontgomery.eth @Trewkat and @Bananachain

One of the difficult proposals I have voted on, but would be great to see where we end up with this. Has the potential to significantly impact the volume and quality of contributions.


Thank you @links and team for putting this together. I think member-based guild funding is going to shape the DAO in ways we don’t yet appreciate and I’m excited to how it evolves.

As I think there is incentive (real or perceived) to over-report on numbers of active membership in this funding model, I appreciate attempts to normalize these quantifiers across guilds. I’ve been sensing increased desire to come up with activity and contribution metrics as the DAO matures - or maybe I’m just projecting. Either way, this funding model seems like a great way to start developing ways to capture some of these baseline metrics.


Thanks for this post @links

According to the constitution: Guilds are professional associations of subject matter experts focused on onboarding, education, and community building

Measuring the ability of guilds to achieve the above goals in term of ‘How many active members it has’ does not help the DAO measure how many:

  1. Members were Onboarded to the BanklessDAO mission i.e. to projects
  2. How many members received education
  3. How many active members are actual Experts

Finally, giving guilds the liberty to ask for BANK based on “insert active member criteria here” does not incentivize them to pursue self sovereignty nor does it help the DAO find out which guilds are actually helping it achieve the mission or vision of the DAO. Hence, I suggest we pivot away from giving ‘free BANK’ to guilds and instead award BANK based on

  1. How many members were Onboarded to the BanklessDAO mission i.e. to projects or to maintain critical infrastructure ie departments.
  2. How many members received education
  3. How many active members are actual Experts and what are their skills in community building

I’m surprised that was in the constitution given that it was supposed to consolidate and not change our current governance rules, but there seem to be many changes.

Oh well. TBH it’s not far from the definition of “guild” that I put into the Team Taxonomy post 5 months ago when we started working on Member-based guild funding (before we had a definition of guild): Guilds are responsible for attracting, retaining, and upskilling talent, and nothing else.

Member-based guild funding wasn’t meant to be the end state of guild funding, just an incremental improvement. Guilds tracking active members create a framework upon which they can then “categorize” members based upon their skill level.

Personally I think it does help the DAO measure some of the other things you’ve mentioned because it has incentivized all guilds to start measuring their members.

Are guilds meant to be self-sovereign? I couldn’t find that anywhere in the constitution. Member-based guild funding has gone through several rounds of consensus, and is built on the idea that there is some part of guild funding that should be perpetually funded by BanklessDAO, because guilds are part of the DAO’s core infrastructure. I DO think that it would be good for guilds to be able to stand on their own, and that’s why there is a cap on guild funding in the member-based model.

The mission of BanklessDAO is to help the world go Bankless by creating user-friendly onramps for people to discover decentralized financial technologies through education, media, and culture. To me, simply by attracting members, guilds are helping us towards our mission.

Of course we can definitely refine this over time by understanding what kinds of members are being attracted and retained as you have suggested. # active members is just a starting point.

REALLY surprised to see you frame guild funding this way.

First, all grants are “free BANK”. So you’re saying that all the BANK you have received thus far has been “free”, but that’s not quite true, is it? You’ve worked hard for your BANK. You have created groups which are building infrastructure and products to help reach the world. Our guild members are doing the same.

Second, look around. Do you think the community calls, newsletters, infrastructure, social accounts, and various projects all came from nothing? No. They were built by our hardworking contributors, who were granted BANK as a reward. The BANK that has been granted thus far has created what you see, so it was not “free”.

I encourage you to continue iterating upon our funding mechanisms, and I see nothing in member-based funding which precludes any changes which you have mentioned. It’s just a starting point.

That being said, I do urge caution on adding a bunch of “rules”, and instead suggest thinking about aligning incentives. Rules can create a lot of overhead, and encourage a central authority. Incentives can be aligned with less overhead and centralization.

Sheep need rules, self-sovereign individuals thrive with incentives. Which kind of contributor would you like to attract?


Appreciate the effort and believe those involved in each guild or project know their circumstances, mission, KPI’s needs and functions best. I hate the thought of a media/education DAO once organized into Guilds and Projects with 3 or 4 not fitting in either loose it’s Education Guild. I know it is just a name but Department as created forSeason 6 does not incorporate or fund the work envisioned for the Education Guild. We received an either or choice and it felt wrong and too restrictive in this non trade Fi , future of work/consensus experiment called a DAO. We choose to more clearly define and reorganize our inward facing educational efforts with the Guild remaining the reorganized talent pool and teacher development effort and the new Education Dept. Being the content developers and delivery effort. Let us continue our experiment and adjust as we go. The participating members know the situation best.


Completely agree with this sentiment. I think over-correcting on definition of active membership would be worse than no definition at all (which is what we had for S6).

That being said, most guilds had similar activity windows, meeting attendance criteria, types of members, and tracking methodology, so I’m hoping that this effort will mainly get some outliers aligned with the rest of the DAO.

From my understanding, this was supposed to be a straightforward process of getting consensus on the guild in the forums and putting it up on Snapshot. Is something blocking the Edu Guild from making this happen? Would be glad to help if needed.

This is perfect for the growth of the guilds and will also help with the way members define and participate in their respective guild. On the guild side, it helps develop and improve it which in the long run helps shape and improve the value each guild contribute towards the growth of the DAO. This is a great initiative and I thank the editors and folks who work on this immensely. Good vibes :green_heart:

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I got a chance to talk to @Bpetes about this last week.

He suggested create a system for our guild where a qualitative human-based assessment, nomination, and voting confirms the ultimate decision to add someone as an active member. Essentially, follow the framework for the L2 process in BanklessDAO within your guild.

  • The votes must be done transparently, and use appropriate discord role gating for the voting poll for that role.
  • Voting options would be “Yes,” “Abstain,” and “Block.”

Block is the only one that matters.

  • If anyone votes to block, they must immediately adhere to a protocol in our governance where we create a thread on the pole and explain why you are blocking.

It’s important that, as a guild, we create a space for active members to join discourse and dialogue on the block and try to come to a resolution safely and constructively.

If the discourse cannot resolve and/or there is a bad actor, or someone is blocking in bad faith. bDAO already has a dispute resolution mechanism in Ombuds.

Active Member Depreciation

He went on to explain that sunsetting membership is something that DAOs have forgotten, and he’s witnessed it in decentralized communities since 2016

“We are great at starting in a decentralized way. We are terrible at calling the herd a decentralized way.”

Using this guidance, it is good stewardship to nominate somebody who is no longer an active member.

It should be no hard feelings. People become active and inactive, and we expect that to be a normal part of life. We must call attention to the reality that an active member’s activity level has subsided below what we consider active participation.

“They are now like alums to the guild.”

This process should run the same as the Active Guild membership nominations, and you would nominate a member for depreciation with some context around why.

If somebody wants to defend it, they have the opportunity to, which is why it should not be a vote in the sense of “Yes” or “No.” It’s more of a consent vote.

There should be an opportunity for an active member to block the petition and share context they may have the rest of the guild does not. For example, maybe they were working back and forth in DMs, and there was a lot of research work going on behind the scenes.

This also reinforces good DAO practices of working out in the open.

I really like this approach and it’s one I’d like to explore in the PM Guild


Thanks @links for putting this together. It covers many small but crucial aspects of guild-level quality management, I am excited to see where we end up on this.

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From a seasonal budget perspective, member based funding has simplified and tremendously cut down overhead time drafting the budge.
I have seen Guilds ideate different criteria of what active membership means to them. It’s amazing to participate in these within Guild Governance discussions, as they reinforce the values within the Guild.
For example, in PM Guild, we redefined active membership. We now earn our member status by actively contributing! To break this down, active member status is earned monthly by either a.) Being an elected role holder. b.) Completing 2 kanban board tasks.

Things that don’t have any value, are not valued!
Our contributions are valuable. By completing 2 kanban tasks/month, we add value through our contributions! Compelling us to value what we have earned.

So, @links I believe an experiment should have two hypotheses statements. It seems only fair that we explore the alternative and hold Guilds and Departments accountable for their mandate of community building in relation to the mission of the DAO. A community cannot be built, not can it build with members that don’t actively contribute. Let’s retain the talented active members that we have, not only empowering them to create their own value, but showing that their contributions are valuable. We simply can’t do this if we are not distinguishing a difference between someone who actively contributes to a Guild, and someone who attends a call, but contributes nothing (via conversation or tasks done) It’s like the saying why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. Continuing to allow “active members” to not actively participate in/contribute to the Guild, will encourage more and more to just drink milk - until the milk is gone!
You have put so much into this! Thank you!

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Great work to those involved in the creation of this retrospective.

We are in a learning phase. As they say (who said this anyway?) Rome was not built in a day.

A question!

To those who count simply attending meetings as active membership, why?

Does that consider a person simply going to meetings and not saying a word as an active member?

Also, I am curious to see how each guild/department considered their members activity.


This proposal is on point. I see nothing wrong in member based funding and I think everyone should vote on this because there a lot of controversies concerning the issue of active contribution. This is good to go.

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This is great - there should be a minimum consensus and leaving each Guild some space to determine their own criteria based on the needs, and track accordingly.

Meeting attendance is important, as it keeps the members together, everyone can hear updates, and share their progress or whatever they are working on. What do you think @links - should there also be a criteria for POAPs in terms of actual attendance? Some people join 15mins before end of the call, and they are tracked. How is that handled in other Guild?
For the # of meetings, 2/3 seems reasonable. 1 meeting a month is not really enough. There are 12 in total (more or less).

The members’ activity should be tracked based on the role requirements, and to see whether the KPIs are met. There needs to be accountability for the role holders as the success of the Guild is dependent on them. Each role is different, so think there should also allow for some “flexibility” but standardization of the ask. Not all work can be quantified, so that need to be taken into consideration as well.

Also believe that each contributor that is contributing should be perceived as active and recognized for the hard work they are doing. Each Guild will need a skillset that is not “native” to the Guild, but is more than needed to support the Guild operations. Maybe a requirement for the minimum ratio, but not exclude or disregard as active.

There needs to be a fine balance between getting people involved, incentives, and accountability.

Not every Guild has the same “opportunities” to onboard people - some professions and skills are more rare than others.

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