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How to Prop

creating your proposal in a nounish DAO

Nounish DAOs all run on proposals. Funds only move from the treasury via props onchain so understanding how to put a prop up is the key.  And it can feel a bit intimidating.


The first step is an idea. BuilderDAO had a prop house round called “Ideas are Valuable” and I disagree with this title. Ideas are not valuable – until they are executed and become tangible. I have more ideas than time. What I put my energy into will be the ideas that come to life and add value. So that idea is a great start – but now what are you going to do with it?

Write it up

Writing a prop has a couple components; the language, the format, the communication of your idea. From the formatting side, using is extremely helpful in order to then copy over that markup and drop it into the proposal form in your nounish DAO.

For BuilderDAO, I created a HackMD template you can use which includes some language from the proposal guidelines to help hit the key points that voters will use to evaluate your proposal. You can find it here and copy/paste to use for your own BuilderDAO prop or adapt it for your own DAO:

To make the process easier, use to ensure that the format copies over correctly.

When writing, try to anticipate voter questions and objections and address them in your prop. Although some holders may interact and ask questions when your prop goes live, most will only use the prop itself in their decision making process so make sure it’s thorough. Be sure to explain why this is beneficial for the DAO – that is vital.

Put it onchain

When your prop is ready and you feel you’ve gathered enough feedback, go to the “Activity” tab on the BuilderDAO website and click “Submit Proposal” to bring up the proposal interface. If you do not see this button, make sure your wallet is connected AND that you have enough of that DAO token to put a prop up. For BuilderDAO you will need .5% of the supply or 2 tokens at this time.

Click "Submit Proposal to get started.

You’ll first select the type of transaction you want for this prop. Most often it is a transfer of eth. You may do more than one. Add to transaction queue and click Continue.

Select your transaction(s) from the list.

Then, from your HackMD draft, copy it over into the proposal interface on the BuilderDAO website. Be sure to preview it and adjust where needed. Some formatting may be lost in translation and need to be adjusted. For example, if you are not seeing your images, make sure that your HackMD draft is in “Published” mode. You can also write it directly into the interface without using HackMD or another editor.

Copy/Paste or write your prop then Preview the formatting. When ready, click "Submit Proposal."

Once it’s ready, click submit and sign with your wallet to put it onchain.

The Campaign

Now the fun begins! Share your prop – the bots will too – and get ready for questions from members of the DAO. For BuilderDAO, you can create a discussion channel in the discord (or the Community Resident will likely do so as soon as she sees the prop go up) so you can address concerns. Twitter and Warpcast will also provide communication channels, as well as Twitter Spaces. For BuilderDAO, contact Prof Werder about coming on BuilderBox to chat about your prop. This recorded space can also be shared on other platforms for those unable to attend live. Voice chats can be helpful for providing more context.

Every DAO is different with different norms, culture and opportunities to share about your prop. NounsDAO is a whole different animal for example and will require a very different approach from BuilderDAO. Be sure to understand the environment before putting a prop up. DYOR is your friend here.

To the polls!

After a “Pending” period, the prop will be live for voting. This can be both exhilarating and scary as you see votes and reasons roll in. Review the reasons carefully and take in the feedback. You may even want to consider canceling the prop if you believe you need to make adjustments. This happens often – don’t be afraid to step back, revise and put it back up in a form that better meets what you are seeing from feedback. Same if the prop is defeated.

If the prop passes, first off, Congratulations! But also, don’t forget to “Queue” and then “Execute” the prop to transfer funds. The Queue time period does allow for a veto to be executed in the case of a prop that passes that poses some kind of existential threat the DAO. This would be highly unusual but that is what this time period is for.

Once the prop is executed, the transactions (such as eth transfer) will process automatically.

This whole process may see like a lot at first glance, but if you work through it once step at a time, it’s not that challenging. As they say, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

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