Gitcoin Grants: Lessons Learned (Updated)
The largest crowdfunding platform for web3 projects and causes
I raised $8k+ from 140 donors at Gitcoin Grants Round 14. Below are some of the things I’ve learnt. Also my previous article Everything on Gitcoin Grants is a good starting point.
Gitcoin is emerging to be the largest fundraising platform in web3. It’s facilitating grants not just from Ethereum but also from other chains and crypto ventures that are interested in funding public goods such as Algorand, Celo, Coinbase. Even philanthropic and impact investment firms like Omidyar Network, Kimbal Musk, Regen Network that are keen to support web3 impact projects are using Gitcoin’s platform.
I’m a current participant in the Gitcoin Round 14 with my project Impact DAOs Research + Book. We are interviewing the top DAOs of the world and compiling our learnings into a book. And we are fundraising on Gitcoin to cover our operational costs so we can offer the book free to new entrants in Web3. Through our research we are going to learn how Impact DAOs operate and execute on their mission. Our goal is a free guide book that shows changemakers how to build and operate DAOs.
Impact DAOs are blockchain native nonprofits and social impact organizations. DAOs are a radically new way of organizing around causes.
I created and got my grant approved a week before the round was to open. It gave us a a head start, our grant was visible and listed on the platform from Day 1. I’ve seen many folks just learning about the grant round the day it begins and then struggle to get their applications approved. The grant processing time increases closer to the date and after the round is open due to a sudden influx of applications. Be prepared for delays in getting approved.
Best to apply 7-10 days in advance of the grant round which takes places 4 times a year.
Not every grant created gets approved to be listed on the platform. Gitcoin is one of the few platforms in crypto that does not ask about legal structure. Any public good creator or team can apply for a grant. They therefore have to authenticate creators and grants by looking at their proof of work on the internet.
My grant proposal went through 3 rounds of due diligence. Giving proof of work on the internet is important - Twitter, website, Github profile etc. Initially tailor your application for the reviewer to provide as much information about yourself and the project. The Gitcoin team doing the check is called FDD and the reviewer notes on all the grants are publicly viewable. Not every grant created makes it to the platform.
Not all Patreon
On Gitcoin’s website they describe themselves as, “Gitcoin Grants is like a crypto-style patreon” So Gitcoin is similar to Patreon in terms of creators being able to crowd source funds. However unlike Patreon on Gitcoin you cannot offer your donors anything in return or else you risk getting disqualified from the matching grants.
Matching will not be applied if the rules are broken.
DO NOT offer anyone a quid-pro-quo for a contribution.
DO NOT make up a new identity to contribute.
DO NOT try to falsify a contribution.
This is my first time seeing quadratic funding in action. I’m used to 1:1 matching but quadratic funding makes the matching process democratic. The more people support your project the more matching funds gets applied. People contributing to your project is a signal that your project is worth it and the greater the signal the more quadratic funding you receive. The Quadratic Funding formula is hardcoded into the platform. It signals that a community is favouring this project more therefore more matching grants should be applied.
I now understand why Gitcoin doesn’t allow grantees to offer any incentives to donors because they want this process of people choosing grants to support be natural and not motivated by any external factors.
Causes Change Every Quarter
Every quarter Gitcoin selects three causes to be included in the quarterly grant round. They started including causes since December 2021. Climate has been the only cause that has been included in all the rounds since then. For the GR14 the causes are DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Climate and Crypto Advocacy.
For our grant we are participating under DEI and Climate.
This is something I’m still learning and so far have just relied on Twitter to promote our grant. I’ve seen people creating collections curating their favourite grants, our project got included in couple of collections and that helps bring visibility. Also providing “discovery tags” on your grants help. I’ll share more as I learn about the promotion part.
Update (July 22nd): Gitcoin grant round 14 ended on June 23rd. 141 donors supported us and their donation earned us $8250 in quadratic funding. We didn’t do much in terms of promoting the grant. Since it was our first time I just took the opportunity to learn from other grantees. The common tactics were get on as many Twitter Spaces, get included in curated grants (grants handpicked by others), reach out to your community and ask for as little as $1 as with every increase in donors the QF matching amount rises.
I shared my final thoughts on the Gitcoin Fundraise in this Twitter thread 👇
🙏 Big thank you to my readers who’ve joined me in my mission to research Impact DAOs and to unlock learnings for new web3 entrants. I’m grateful 🙏
Support our Gitcoin Grant 15
If you have any crypto to spare, it can be as little a $1, support our project on Gitcoin. Our goal is to keep knowledge updated after we publish the book as promised in GR14 in October this year.
We are launching an Impact DAO magazine to highlight the subculture and to make it inspirational and aspirational for others to build in web3
My previous article on Gitcoin to deeply understand Gitcoin Grants, Public Goods and Quadratic Funding.
For questions and ideas reach out on Twitter or here on Substack.