I think we should:
1. Develop a funding thesis
First I suggest developing a sound funding thesis in public.
The Thesis should communicate the key areas (categories) for RFPs. Examples:
- Research and Development
- Open-source sustainability
- Social and public good
Although I prefer to frame it as a thesis, mission and vision statements have served similar purposes.
2. Define funding types
The most basic funding type is a one-off grant. I think there is room for more:
- Grant (Scoped small contributions)
- Service agreements (Core ongoing contributions based on deliverables)
- Investments (Strategic investments)
Each of those serve different purposes. It makes sense to start with a grant and explore if a follow-on service agreement or even investment is a feasible option.
I believe foundations should be involved more to work on a strategic sustainability path while enabling teams to build within their ecosystem.
3. Establish resources and process
- Setup funding landing page
- Setup application form
- Setup CRM tool to manage
Either a google Spreadsheet or an Airtable should be sufficient to build a solid pipeline for applications (the CRM part).
- Call for applications
- Submit application
- Grant entity review
- Approval Foundation Council
- Start project work
- Fund upon progress
There are a lot of details that need to be figured out regarding the process above. Most importantly scope, budget and timeline need to be specified very well in order to avoid an expectation mismatch.
Additionally there should be a grants manager or a clear responsibility on who owns and builds that process, as well as reviews future applications to make recommendations to the council (if that still exists).
I’d also recommend to stay away from badges (Q1, Q2, etc.) and just implement a fluid/rolling application process.
4. Funding partners / advisor board
I’d also recommend funding partners to build the ecosystem, raise the awareness and get additional experts onboard.
For example the graph, the interchain foundation, and uniswap peers could provide additional reviews after the grant entities review / before the foundation council approval.
I’ve put crypto examples here but there is room for much more and you guys know your core partners the best.