Four (and a half) Steps to Start a DAO-Powered Digital Community. 🚀 🤝

DAOhaus is a project by the community, for communities. Here's what we've learned so far about how to get your own (DAO powered) digital community up and running.

Here in the Haus we like to say that we’re building a platform for “magic internet communities.” With a slogan like that, as you might imagine, we get a lot of people who want to know how to start start their own digital community. You might also imagine that our answer is, “Great! Use DAOhaus to spin up a DAO!”

The real answer isn’t that simple. DAOs are truly magical in what they mean for community coordination, but we’ve been at it long enough now to have recognized a few steps that make a difference if you want your DAO to really work. Here’s a quick rundown on what we’re learned so far.

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🤯 1. Start with an idea.

You have to start from a uniting idea.

This might seem basic, but you’d be surprised how many people come to us unable to answer the simple question “why do you want to set up this community?” When people don’t really know the answer we tend to suggest that they explore DAOhaus and check out some other communities. Sometimes this helps them realize what their idea is, sometimes they realize that they just want to join another community, and don’t need to worry about starting one.

📜 2. Write your ideas down.

If you do have an answer to why you want to set up the community, the next step is to write it down. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Although these documents tend to end up with names like “manifesto” or “constitution,” they should be fairly short and simple documents. This should also be an iterative process, to produce a living document, contributed to and edited over time by the community as it evolves.

The real point is to get your thoughts around your uniting idea in order. Writing something will force you to think a bit more deeply. It will also create a simple touchstone to return to when someone who is interested in joining wants to know what you’re about. It will also help you if there is any doubt among the community when inevitable questions of direction come up.

We have one if you want to check it out, and we’re also big fans of the MetaCartel’s Community First Manifesto.

At this point, if we’re honest, you can probably spin up your DAO. Sometimes creating the DAO and inviting people to join can be a uniting event to go along with the manifesto (or even before.) But sometimes, it’s also a good idea to get some more community foundations in place by finding a place to hang out and communicate.

👋 3. Find a place to hang.

Above you wrote down why your community is getting together, now it’s time to find out what you are doing to do. It’s time to get the community together. If you’ve really killed it on the previous step this is as simple as saying “if you like what we’ve got in the this manifesto (or want to help improve it)… jump in here.”

“Here” could be Telegram, Discord, an-email list, Crypto Voxels, and big old group text… whatever works. The “where” doesn’t really matter. The point is just to get somewhere to start talking, to start getting organized, and to decide what you want to do next.

We’ve written about why we like Discord, and we’re integrating Discourse for other versions.

Bonus step: ☎️ 3.5 Set Up a Call (or a Meetup).

This one isn’t really required, we’ve seen a lot of DAO powered communities get off the ground after only steps 1 through 3, but setting up a call (or a meetup if this weren’t 2020) is a power move. We find that the communities which move quickly from organization to coordinated action start up a regular in-person video call along the way.

This makes sense. Getting someone to show up for a call is a different ask. We only see something like 25% attendance at most calls, but the people who show up here are the ones who are ready to get stuff done.

🏰 4. Now DAO it.

If all the things above are going well, you’ve got a committed core of community members and a sense of what you want to do together. At this point you’ve graduated from organizing (getting people together) to coordinating action (getting them to do things.) Now is a great time to set up a DAO!

This is when a DAO can be truly magical tool. DAOs allow organization in ways usually reserved for companies, without all of the same hassle. Maybe it’s a software project and you need to handle your budget, like we’ve done with HausDAO. Maybe it’s a full on creative agency, like Raid Guild. Or maybe you just want to keep showing up every week to talk about a book and reward attendance.

Either way, DAOs keep the coordination ball rolling by giving community members an unprecedented degree of transparency into the operations and ownership of their community. This creates a sort of participatory ownership that is truly novel. (But more on that p0wnership next week.) 😎

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