Launching an RFP Process for Innovative Grant Programs and Managers 👀

Hey everyone, this is Ben from the Thank ARB program coordinated by Thrive Protocol (which has now merged with Plurality Labs). @DisruptionJoe and I along with the rest of the team are excited to share this opportunity with all of you.

In our continuous quest to foster innovation and impact, we are thrilled to announce the launch of our latest Request for Proposal (RFP) process.

This initiative is designed to attract a broad array of ideas for grant programs and identify visionary program managers ready to lead them.

With a focus on strategic funding, plurality, diversity, and addressing the immediate needs of the Arbitrum DAO, we’re setting the stage for transformative change.

TL;DR

  • Funding: Approximately 3 million ARB available for distribution between 5-10 programs.

  • Scalability Think how can we demonstrate scalability and “one dollar in, two dollars out” strategy when crafting your proposals.

  • Timeline: Applications close at the end of April, decisions made in mid-May by a decentralized group of reviewers, programs roll out between June and September.

How to Apply:

More information:

Before continuing, let’s set the table with our definition of a “grant program”. The examples here are not exhaustive, but should give you a sense of the definition. A quality grant program has:

  1. A purpose

    Ex 1 - To fund entrepreneurs building on Arbitrum in a specific geography
    Ex 2 - To learn best practices for funding specific critical functions

  2. A success metric (or multiple)

    Ex 1 - Leading Indicators - Number of grants sourced, accepted, and validated
    Ex 2 - North Star Metrics - Transactions generated, new wallets, TVL growth, etc.

  3. A funding mechanism (or multiple)

    Ex 1 - Quadratic funding, delegated domain authority, conviction voting
    Ex 2 - Retro vs Proactive, how eligibility criteria are enforced, sybil defense

  4. A program manager

    Ex 1 - A community leader matched with a grant program idea
    Ex 2 - A founder recommended driver of a novel on-chain granting mechanism

Experimenting with Funding Mechanisms

For continuing experimentation with novel funding mechanisms to better allocate funds based on the ecosystem function being funded.

Understanding the intricacies of various funding mechanisms is crucial to the success of any grant program. Our RFP process is designed to not only match programs with known funding models but also to explore and experiment with these mechanisms. This includes experimenting with different organizational structures, such as centralized and crowdsourced assessments, as well as comparing pre-planned evaluation processes with challenge bounties.

This exploration will help us grasp which models best support different types of initiatives, ensuring that our future funding strategies are as effective and impactful as possible.

Seeking a Diversity of Perspectives

For matching strong community leaders around the world to proven funding mechanisms, coaching, runbooks, and support network.

One of our primary objectives is to identify and engage program managers from a wide range of perspectives. These may include unique contextual perspectives, technical capabilities, and geographical regions. We believe that local insights and experiences are invaluable assets that can drive the success of grant programs. By matching these diverse talents with suitable funding mechanisms, we aim to cultivate a global network of innovators who can bring unique perspectives and solutions to the table.

Addressing Immediate Needs of the Arbitrum DAO

For immediately providing support to the current biggest needs of Arbitrum DAO.

The Arbitrum DAO faces its unique set of challenges and opportunities. Part of our RFP process is dedicated to identifying grant programs that can address these immediate needs. By solving these pressing issues, we aim to demonstrate the power of community-driven innovation and the potential for rapid, effective change within the Arbitrum ecosystem.

Examples of the types of needs that might be addressed:

  • The onboarding working group needs funds to allocate to start a bounty board

  • A group of delegates want a previously not provided data analysis about an ongoing incentive program

  • A community member recognizes people contributing to the ecosystem that are not being fairly rewarded

  • An orbit adoption education materials creation contest idea needs to be matched with a program manager and funds to become a reality

  • Funding: Approximately 3 million ARB available for distribution between 5-10 programs. While addressing immediate DAO needs is valuable, it must be done within the broader context of this program and the DAOs overarching goals.

Join Us in Shaping the Future

Grant Program Idea Application

Let’s work together to explore new funding mechanisms, embrace geographical diversity, and meet the immediate needs of the Arbitrum DAO. Your ideas and leadership could drive the next wave of innovation and impact within our community and beyond. Together, we can create meaningful change and unlock new opportunities for growth and success. Join us in this exciting journey!

** You have an option to select that you’re interested in managing your own program idea

Program Manager Only Application

We are on the lookout for proven values-aligned community leaders around the globe. Whether you have a concept for a grant program that can make a difference, or you’re a program manager with the skills to lead such an initiative, we want to hear from you.

** Not all manager applications will receive a response due to volume

Please note: We’re gonna have weekly office hours (google meet + twitter space) to answer questions and provide feedback on their ideas during application phase (next two weeks). Stay tuned for more details. Follow us at Twitter.com/ThankArbitrum for updates.

Pro tip: Demonstrate scalability and impact in your proposal. Don’t just request the maximum amount but instead focus on how “1 dollar in can equal 2 dollars out”. This does not need to reflect transactions on chain but please do include details about network effects or other outcomes that will drive adoption, attract talented developers or in other ways increase the perceived value of Arbitrum and Arbitrum DAO.

FAQs

How much money should I request?

In total we have approximately 3 million ARB to distribute in Thank ARB Milestone 1(b) and we intend to select five to ten programs to facilitate that distribution. The intention behind your program should be to demonstrate how money spent on grants can result in real, measurable results.

Think of how your program can demonstrate how for every one dollar put in, you can generate two dollars worth of value when considering how much to request. Keep in mind that the objective should be to demonstrate this kind of value and the potential for scalability.

As a general guideline, we are unlikely to fund programs requesting more than 500k ARB including expenses for administration and development. Again, keep in mind that your core objective here should be to demonstrate scalable results where the outcomes are greater than the input.

What is the rollout timeline?

The application process will close at the end of April. Decisions will be made mid May. Programs should plan to roll out between June and the end of August,. No later than early September at the latest if necessary.

All approved programs will be added to a Telegram group to discuss coordination and rollout timelines.

Can I apply for more than one program?

If you have ideas for more than one program, feel free to submit them. If you have ideas for programs that you think should exist but can’t run yourself, propose them, and we’ll do our best to find a suitable program manager. If your intention is to run more than one program yourself or with a team you will need to demonstrate the capacity and execution plan that ensures these program would meet the highest possible standards.

What if I have an idea for a program but I can’t be the program manager myself?

We encourage you to make suggestions here for programs you think would be a good fit for Arbitrum DAO. You don’t have to be the program director and we have a separate process for identifying ideal program directors.

How will you assess which programs to support?

We have developed a rubric for assessing proposals. The questions asked on the application form are basically a mirror image of the assessment criteria. This process will involve delegates and community members participating in the review and ranking of proposals.

Stay tuned for more information about this process and how to get involved (and compensated) as a reviewer.

Can a program have multiple stages and be iterative?

Yes! In fact, we encourage it :slight_smile: part of the goal of our experimentation is to learn quickly and adjust. It may often be the case that starting with a smaller first round of a program and then doing subsequent rounds within the allotted time may actually generate the best outcomes and results for the community.


Thanks for reading all the way to the end. Please don’t hesitate to add questions or comments in the thread below. We can’t wait to see all the great ideas you all bring forward.

Cheers.

29 Likes

@BenWest Thanks for posting this to the forum. I like the idea of this program and I would like to provide some comments, and a few questions, that I hope will bolster the program’s success.

As you write in the post, your goal is to fund grant programs that can address the DAO’s immediate needs. I’m directly involved in two out of the four example needs that you provide, so I’d like to start by commenting on those.

(1) The onboarding working group needs funds to allocate to start a bounty board.

  • I’m curious how you came up with this need? I understand that it may just be a boilerplate need for now so I would urge any future grant program manager to meet with working groups to conduct interviews/research and understand what the immediate needs are before allocating funds.

(2) A group of delegates want a previously not provided data analysis about an ongoing incentive program.

Broadly speaking, given the size of the funding, it’s important to apply rigorous/detailed assessment criteria to any potential project.

You write:

We have developed a rubric for assessing proposals. The questions asked on the application form are basically a mirror image of the assessment criteria.

Can you please link to this rubric/assessment criteria?

Lastly, I was wondering if the Thank ARB Oversight Board will also be overseeing the Grant Program Managers?

3 Likes

Thanks for your offer to support the program success!

I was the one who came up with examples. I wanted this example to specifically show that an ongoing working group such as yours could apply. Additionally, I think I have a fairly unique vantage point where I know about most working groups and would know if a proposal overlaps with ongoing efforts and would try to facilitate collaboration.

This ongoing conversation could be funded via the Tally process or they could choose to apply with us IF they were interested in collaborating in utilizing a unique funding mechanism that may best allocate funds for this specific function in the ecosystem.

These are both examples and not intended to be directives. We try hard to encourage collaboration wherever we can.

I will let @BenWest share the current version. Additionally, we just hired a “program architect” to help design the best programs, design better rubrics/criteria, and connect the input processes to the desired evaluation and review needs.

We have also hired a “Grants Manager” to coordinate with the program managers throughout the lifecycle of the program. This includes items like facilitating compliance issues and hosting monthly program manager coaching sessions.

The board is not actively required or requested to be involved in the execution of each program. Their oversight includes advisory support to our team during the coaching between a program application and a program acceptance, opportunity to voice objection & potentially veto our program acceptance decisions, and opportunity to advise/oversee our post program evaluations.

Thanks for your time Rika! I do hope their is a way to provide additional support to the onboarding group.

PS: One thing I love about this new ArbitrumHUB.io site is that is fully open source. Anyone who can write markdown can make updates to the working groups listed. One potential program is a program to reward contributors who get a pull request accepted. (Btw, we are hoping to add a hats module to allow for anyone with a certain role to be able to approve the pull requests!)

3 Likes

I like the way this is scoped with built-in room to innovate, @BenWest and @DisruptionJoe. Is there some pointer we should use to make sure we’re mapping well to the immediate needs of the Arbitrum DAO?

4 Likes

Great question. There will be after today! We are conducting a session with delegates and key contributors to the DAO to determine ecosystem goals.

Here is the info:

WHAT: A facilitated workshop to align on Arbitrum Ecosystem Goals

WHY: To help Plurality Labs select grant programs which best support Arbitrum’s needs.

WHEN: Tuesday, the 23rd at 2pm UTC

WHO: Delegates are requested to attend. Foundation is requested to send attendees.

Event is also open to any DAO contributors who have contributed to a funded working group or role. Note that we ask these contributors to make space for the delegates to be the primary participants.

AGENDA:

We aren’t spreading this session because we need high signal and the results will be brought to the community to weigh in via snapshot after the session.

5 Likes

@DisruptionJoe we are planning to post up a proposal for this RFP this weekend but would love to propelry align into the needs + challenges the DAO faces. Could you please post the findings from the workshop?

3 Likes

@gideonro @mvg.eth I was at the workshop, a summary of some of the needs of the DAO are in this post Thank ARB: Arbitrum Ecosystem Goals this will help in your application.

3 Likes

Really excited about the grant program. I have applied as a grant manager. Might not be the strongest application, but I am very excited about the opportunity nonetheless.

I just want 20 $arb from ThriveCoin.

I would definitely apply with an idea, but the deadline is today. Some rough ideas that need funding, in my opinion, zk and blockchain data apis.

4 Likes

Here is a little more clarity on our Timeline

Phase 1 - Open call for applications (4/2 - 4/30)

Creation of the RFP and selection of ecosystem goals programs will support.

Phase 2 - Planning Grant Selections (5/1 - 5/10)

Selection of best program ideas, connecting them with program managers to receive a planning grant.

Phase 3 - Pilot Program Selections (5/11 - 5/23)

Reviewing the programs selected for pilots, ratifying success definitions, and reviewing with board

Phase 4 - Pilot Program Execution (5/24 - 8/9)

Facilitating the execution of grant programs, supporting compliance, coaching and documenting.

Phase 5 - Post Pilot Program Evaluations (7/22 - 8/30)

Self evaluations done by program managers. Community led and expert evaluations.

Phase 6 - PL M1B Reporting (9/1 - 9/30)

A comprehensive review of the results of Milestone M1B.

4 Likes

Looks like we missed the application deadline. Any plans to extend the deadline or a new deadline in the near future ? I am just helping as an operator for the next HyperDeSci (GitHub - LunCoSim/hyperdesci: QF rounds initiative to fund DeSci projects kickstarted by LunCo) round. Additionally, we recently created a Blockchain Innovation Hub (GitHub - iberoam/blockchain-innovation-hub: Blockchain Innovation Hub initiative) in Brazil (the first of its kind) for which we would like to explore potential Arbitrum support.

1 Like

We are not extending the deadline, however, you are not out of luck. There will likely be more opportunities in the future. Additionally, you could always wait and see which programs we select, then copy a successful one to your geo region and put that proposal direct to the DAO.

4 Likes

Sounds like good news ! Thanks @DisruptionJoe, will keep an eye on this topic ! Best :handshake:

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Thanks for organizing this program, I have enjoyed the process to submit my application, I will be here a bit more to get to know everyone.

mexi.⌐◨-◨

1 Like