DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) have exploded in popularity, with the number of organizations climbing 800% over the past year. On top of this, member participation has also increased astronomically.
But DAOs are still in their infancy, with many organizations still finding their feet. Most of these growing pains are caused by being on the bleeding edge of innovation. However, a lack of awareness of DAO management tools is also to blame.
So in this article, we’ll cover seven aspects of DAO operations and how you can manage them using the DAO tooling landscape.
7 Essentials From the DAO Tooling Landscape
While the DAO tooling landscape is still in its nascent stages, we’ve identified seven must-have tools to help you start, manage, and grow your DAO.
Let’s dive in.
1. Organizational Frameworks
When starting a DAO, you have two options: Develop your own organizational structure or use a framework tool that provides you with a proven framework.
While you’re welcome to start from scratch, a major problem for DAOs is managing their decentralized structure and fluctuating contributors. So we’d recommend leaning on proven DAO management principles, like distributed authority and constrained delegation.
In other words, these principles give small working groups enough decision-making authority to work on standard tasks without needing approval from the DAO. For example, a marketing team could have the authority to produce content as they see fit, but the DAO can require proposals for marketing partnerships.
Why follow these structural principles?
- They improve efficiency since DAO members don’t have to vote for every small task.
- They simplify community management since DAOs don’t have to manage individuals but rather contributor groups who focus on similar tasks.
- It’s much easier to analyze contributions and how a contributor group performs.
- It’s possible to add and remove working groups in a modular fashion without disrupting other pods.
One tool helping DAOs with their organizational structures is Metropolis (previously Orca Protocol). They’re currently in the private beta phase for their Pods tool and taking applications from suitable DAOs.
2. Frontend and Analytics
Since most DAO processes happen on the blockchain, it’s easy for machines to analyze the data and provide you with deep organizational insights.
Rather than your devs manually cleaning and processing data, DAO tools can give you real-time updates on the state of your organization. And since the data is on-chain, you can also analyze other DAOs to see who’s growing and performing well.
While there are web2 frontend and analytics tools that you may be able to use, there are many operational differences between DAOs and traditional organizations. On top of this, DAOs are complex structures, so it’s wise to use a dedicated web3 analytics tool.
One example from the DAO tooling landscape is DeepDAO which:
- Gives you a real-time snapshot of the complete DAO ecosystem, covering AUM, governance metrics, and top organizations.
- Shows which organizations have mutual members and hold mutual tokens in their treasury, exposing partnership opportunities.
- Highlights proposals and other updates by DAOs and their members.
3. Treasury Management
The treasury is the lifeblood of every DAO, giving it the fuel it needs to reach its goals. So to ensure effective and safe management, you must use quality tools to prevent hacks and mistakes — especially if you interact with DeFi protocols.
The simplest tool for DAO treasury management is Gnosis Safe Multisig which needs multiple signatures before a transaction is approved. This feature can protect your DAOs funds if a core team member is compromised or goes rogue. Gnosis Safe also gives the DAO full self-custody over its funds so no other organization can prevent transactions.
These days, many treasury management tools build on top of Gnosis Safe, providing you with extra capabilities.
Multis is an example of a platform in the DAO tooling landscape that uses Gnosis Safe as a starting point to provide:
- Corporate financial cards that allow your DAO or its members to pay for services in crypto or USD.
- Crypto-accounting software that tracks transactions across multiple networks and assets.
- Team payment capabilities with real-time transaction monitoring.
4. Content and Product Management
Content is vital to attracting talent and customers and keeping members up to date with your DAO. On the other hand, your DAO’s product is its source of revenue and the reason for its success.
While there are plenty of web2 tools that are suitable for content and product management, they have their drawbacks:
- Censorship: One of the biggest problems with web2 tools is censorship. Content platforms like Medium or product management platforms like GitHub determine what violates their terms and conditions. For example, the U.S. government’s Tornado Cash sanctions forced GitHub to remove all code related to the protocol.
- Lack of ownership: In web3, DAOs truly own their content and product resources. In web2, a platform can delete your account, code, or content whenever they like. For example, YouTube throttled the reach of cannabis-related content, forcing businesses to find new ways to promote themselves.
- Information silos: Web2 platforms typically integrate with other web2 platforms. But DAOs live in web3, where they need to integrate with smart contracts, NFTs, tokens, and other web3 tools to avoid unnecessary repetition.
Both tools are censorship-free, open source, and allow contributors to create content and code bases without fear of losing their hard work. On top of this, they offer verifiable ownership so that no one can knock off your DAO and its contributors' work as their own. And, of course, they provide a host of collaboration tools so your members can work together seamlessly.
5. Knowledge Management
You need an organized information repository to get contributors up to speed quickly.
In the beginning, you may be able to get away with various FAQs and announcement channels in your Discord. But once you build a larger organization, you’ll need easy access to operating procedures and other information. For example, your marketing team will need access to your content’s style and formatting guidelines.
Without the necessary information, you or other veteran DAO members will be correcting and teaching new members one by one, leading to poor efficiency and frustration.
While everything we’ve covered so far from the DAO tooling landscape has been web3 native, knowledge management tools don’t need to be.
These tools provide your DAO with:
- Real-time stakeholder collaboration.
- Customizable templates for consistent, tailored knowledge management.
- Privacy and security for sensitive internal documentation.
- Custom workflow documentation.
6. Governance and Voting Management
Governance, proposals, and votes are a vital part of DAOs, and with almost 700,000 active voters and proposal creators, you need the right tools to ensure fairness and efficiency.
Like knowledge management, you may be able to get away with managing proposals and votes through Discord or Telegram. But this option quickly becomes messy due to bots, verifying voters, and token holders’ gaming votes through multiple accounts.
On top of this, if you want members to vote on-chain, you need to worry about gas fees and their technical knowledge.
To avoid these drawbacks, you can use Snapshot, a voting platform from the DAO tooling landscape. This tool manages governance off-chain to reduce gas fees while using a simple, user-friendly dashboard for proposal votes, making it easy for community members.
7. Contribution, Reputation, Identity, Compensation, and Access
Managing contributors through Discord alone is exceedingly challenging. You have to monitor contributions to ensure the DAO compensates everyone fairly. And you need to ensure that the right people have access to DAO operations.
If you’re working with a small team, Discord is inconvenient yet manageable. But once multiple pods operate within your DAO, it’s virtually impossible since Discord is mainly for discussion and collaboration.
On the next level up from Discord are project management tools, like Asana. These are much better but lack vital web3 features, such as on-chain analysis, that can make contribution management much easier.
Instead, you can use a dedicated DAO project management tool, like Wonderverse.
Wonderverse has many use cases, allowing you to:
- Create tasks, milestones, or bounties depending on what a particular situation requires.
- Create pods (working groups) to manage contributors by function, idea, or project.
- Receive proposal tasks from contributors.
- Pay for individual tasks or batch pay contributors with cryptocurrency (e.g., ETH, Bitcoin, or your governance token) straight from your DAO wallets.
- View all DAO tasks and their progress in a kanban-style dashboard.
- Verify contributors without the need for extra identity tools, like ENS.
- Manage contributor access on a DAO, pod, or token-gated basis.
And much more. We know that’s a ton of features, so you can check out some in-depth explanations of our newest DAO project management features. Or you can dive right into web3 and create a DAO with Wonderverse.
Simplify DAO Management and Grow Your Organization With the Right Tools
DAOs promise a better way to organize people around a shared mission, but managing them requires unique tools that web2 doesn’t provide.
For DAOs to truly thrive, they must use tools that match their values of censorship resistance, ownership, and decentralization. But that’s not all. These crypto-native tools should also simplify managing contributors, knowledge, products, funds, governance, and anything else your DAO needs.
While the DAO tooling landscape is still in its infancy, the tools mentioned in the seven areas above are enough to help your DAO thrive.
So what are you waiting for?
Give your DAO the silky smooth project management it deserves by applying to host your DAO in the Wonderverse.