Jun 7, 2022
8 tips for effective DAO onboarding
DAO onboarding can either make or break the community's success
Congratulations! Individuals are discovering your DAO. They're trickling into Discord, hanging out, and posing questions about contribution.
What's your next move?
DAO onboarding is one of the most overlooked factors influencing DAOs' prosperity. It's also challenging to execute correctly because individuals' attention spans are limited, and without a clear route to follow, DAOs risk losing potential contributors.
DAOs can appear daunting to newcomers, especially those transitioning from the Web2 to the Web3 landscape. Many people are used to structured roles with explicit instructions. In DAOs, contributors need to be sharp observers and self-starters to contribute effectively.
DAO onboarding knowledge is dispersed and continually evolving. So, we've assembled six tips for DAOs and two tips for contributors to streamline the onboarding process. The fruitful long-term collaboration requires both DAOs and contributors to work together.
Currently, Discord tends to be the entry point for most DAOs. Setting up a "Welcome" or "Intro" channel on Discord is crucial as a stepping stone for contributors to get started.
The "Welcome" channel typically provides contributors with:
The mission and objectives of the DAO
Essential project documentation
Links to other relevant channels
Commonly asked questions and their answers
An example of a "Welcome Mat" is provided in DAO Masters' Discord. It summarizes the necessary steps for contributors to get involved.
Document, Document, Document
A DAO's documentation is a strong indicator of its long-term scalability and success. As the membership increases, you will need a systematic way to onboard contributors more effectively.
Documentation allows the DAO to elaborate on its mission, objectives, and values. It helps contributors gauge their fit for the DAO and envision committing their valuable time to the DAO's efforts.
Documentation also clarifies governance, voting, and delegation of the DAO's native tokens, helping contributors understand their potential impact on the DAO's growth.
Index Coop is often seen as the gold standard for contributor onboarding documentation. It outlines key steps contributors can take to familiarize themselves with the DAO and its preferred onboarding process.
Documentation can also serve as a qualifying filter, ensuring only the most interested and committed individuals get onboarded.
Regular & Individual Communication
Scheduling routine calls for new joiners can help contributors find areas they wish to contribute to and streamline the overall process over time.
Index Coop has proposed a Weekly New Joiners call where existing DAO members or Admins can gauge new joiners' interests and experiences and quickly integrate them into relevant channels, drives, and meetings.
During the calls, new joiners can be paired with mentors or buddies to provide a reliable point of contact for questions and further information. The call also helps assess contributors' strengths and preferences, allowing contributors to envision their potential roles within the DAO.
As contributors become more integral to the DAO, communication should increase. Core contributors merit more regular one-on-one calls compared to less active contributors.
Low Hanging Fruit
Sometimes the largest barrier to contribution is simply getting started. The most successful onboarding paths often present low hanging fruit, i.e., straightforward tasks that help contributors familiarize themselves with the DAO and their peers.
Index Coop structures the onboarding journey as a quest broken down into clear steps for contributors, from identifying an area to contribute to understanding how to vote and delegate their DAO tokens. The image below shows how the journey is structured under the New Owl Quest which is aimed at new contributors.
As new contributors are onboarded, it may be unclear what their reputations are. Straightforward reputation indicators could include on-chain resumes, GitHub contributions, or specific contributors' blog posts.
Tools like DeepResearch allow further assessment of contributors within your community, analyzing total engagement, messages per hour, or examining a specific user’s relationships and activity ranking within the community.
Consider being transparent about implementing a ranking system within the DAO during the onboarding process. It's vital for contributors to know this before they start working, or they may become demotivated later on.
Having some kind of ranking or points system can gamify the experience and motivate contributors over time. You can design your ranking system to synergize with helping contributors level up their contributions. As contributors level up, they gain access to more channels, challenging work, and other benefits.
While you don't want to put too much weight on the ranking system (as it may skew incentives amongst members), it can be a useful indicator to know which contributor to call upon for different tasks or challenges within the DAO.
If you're a contributor, one of the first things you need to do is often referred to as "wayfinding" or context building.
Wayfinding requires you to step out of the traditional employer-employee mindset and imagine joining a cooperative or group game. Instead of merely waiting for manager's instructions, you're actively observing and determining your position in the group so you can sketch out a path for your progress within the DAO.
Adopt an Owner Mindset
A key mindset shift is adopting an owner mentality with DAOs. As a contributor, you have the chance to earn the DAO's native tokens. It's not about waiting for manager's instructions but being a more collaborative player focused on outcomes and the DAO's long-term success.
One example of contributors adopting an owner mindset is volunteering to create documentation, especially when joining new DAOs that lack appropriate documentation for newcomers. Contributors don't have to wait for the perfect onboarding journey – they can help shape it.
DAO onboarding journeys are still evolving because the space is still very new. While some might find it challenging, DAO practitioners see the challenges as an opportunity to shape an onboarding journey that harnesses the talent their DAO is attracting. The growth in DAOs demonstrates that DAOs are here to stay and represent the future of work.
Onboarding journeys will differ among DAOs as each will design a path best for them and their members. However, the fundamentals of ensuring transparency in the journey, clear documentation, and regular communication for contributors will undoubtedly go a long way.
At intropia, we're passionate about making talent matching frictionless for DAOs and other Web3 organizations. We're developing a wholly native solution geared for contributors to join Web3 organizations while showcasing their skills and experience on-chain.
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