8 Steps to a Successful Proposal
Proposals in the Dash governance system are subject to voting by masternodes. So, like any voting, you need to convince the voters that your proposal should pass. Here are some key points to consider in every proposal:
- Keep your proposal clear
Your proposal should have a clear title, followed by a short and simple description of the objectives. Explain early in your proposal exactly how it will benefit the Dash network, how much Dash you are requesting, how you arrived at this value, and finally who you are and how you plan to do the work. Masternodes should be able to immediately get an idea of what you are proposing from the first few lines of your proposal.
- Run a pre-proposal discussion
Get feedback from the community before you post your proposal to the blockchain. A discussion period of around two weeks will help you find out if someone has proposed something similar in the past, and whether it succeeded or failed. There are pre-proposal channels on the forum and Dash Discord, and Reddit also attracts a lot of views - consider the discussion on these channels to be the research phase of your proposal. Later, you can post a link to the forum discussion when your proposal goes live to show you are including community feedback in your work.
- Manage your identity and reputation
The Dash community is one of the network's strongest features, and newcomers are always welcome. However, because of the way proposals work, there needs to be reasonable trust that the work promised in the proposal will be completed if it passes. If you are new, consider starting with a smaller proposal first to prove your ability to deliver on time and budget. Attaching your real name or Keybase identity to a proposal also helps build trust. If you are a making a large proposal, get a team together and nominate (or hire) one person to serve as community liaison, since posting from multiple accounts can be confusing.
- Run an enthusiastic campaign for your proposal
Proposals with a video or website have a far greater chance of succeeding! Uploading a video gives your proposal a human touch and a chance to convey your enthusiasm in a way that isn't always possible in text. Post your video to the forum and DashCentral, become a regular on Discord or run a webinar to explain the proposal and answer questions. Put some work in before you ask for funding to demonstrate your involvement with Dash - but don't be annoying and spam many channels asking for votes.
- Demonstrate your commitment to the network
If you are asking for significant funding to start up or expand a for-profit business built on Dash, you need to explain why and for how long this funding is required, and what you are offering in return. It can be very helpful to show you have skin in the game by matching the contribution provided in Dash with funds from your own business or investors. Equity or exclusivity agreements can be reached with Dash Core Group, Inc., but must be clarified in writing before the proposal is posted.
- Post your proposal early and make yourself available for questions
The voting window closes 1662 blocks (or just under 3 days) before the superblock. To give the masternode operators enough time to consider, discuss and vote on your proposal, you must post it well in advance of the voting deadline - it's better to wait for the next superblock than to rush! Most masternodes will see your proposal for the first time once it appears on the blockchain or when you claim it on DashCentral. The first few hours of discussion between masternode owners typically bring up a lot of questions and can be critical to influence opinion and voting, so make yourself available during this time.
- Keep the community updated when your proposal passes
Your proposal should include details of how you plan to keep the community and network informed of your work. Meet your commitments and post regular reports so your output is clear, and make yourself available on social channels to answer questions. Remember, your ability to pass future proposals depends on your demonstrated ability to deliver and communicate.
- Consider arrangements for large requests
If you are requesting a significant amount of funding, there is an understandable concern that you will deliver on your promises to the network. Reach out to the Dash Investment Foundation in advance for advice on escrow or providing equity, and make the conditions public and part of the proposal. If your proposal is so large that uses a significant percentage of the budget, there is a risk that approving your proposal will bump smaller proposals out of the budget. Consider breaking your proposal into smaller monthly payments instead.
See this documentation for specific instructions on how to create a proposal when you are ready. Good luck!
For an example of good reporting, reputation management and use of a video to request funding in a pre-proposal, see this video from Amanda B. Johnson's extremely popular DASH: Detailed proposal:
A few additional points:
It is currently not possible to change the payment address after the proposal is posted to the blockchain.
To avoid accusations of favouritism and inside trading, Dash Core cannot promote your proposal for you. If your proposal is an integration, reach out to the business development team in advance. Once your product is live, it may be possible to announce it from Dash Core channels.
If your proposal is for news, promotion or marketing, make sure you synchronise your efforts with major existing organisations such as Dash Force News or marketing firms contracted by Dash Core.
You are responsible for your own planning to hedge against price volatility. If your proposal involves significant payments to third parties in fiat currency, reach out to the Dash Investment Foundation in advance for advice on escrow, price maintenance, converting currencies and hedging against volatility.
For the same reason, it is not recommended to request funding for period of longer than three months. Masternodes don't want to see and vote on the same proposal without updates several months in a row, and price volatility makes it a risky proposition both to the network and yourself.
Before entering your budget proposal on the blockchain, check how many proposals already exist for the current budget cycle. If it is likely to become very crowded or if some proposals are requesting a significant portion of the budget, voting is likely to be very competitive with weaker projects being forced out of the budget, even if they collect sufficient votes to pass the 10% threshold. See here for more details.