10 steps to build your DAO community

As a DAO founder, you may have heard of the “DAO community” buzzword. When created with intention, your DAO community can help move your organization to its purpose and achieve its goals!

Follow the brief community building framework below to properly scope, plan, and launch your DAO or Web3 community.

Step 1: Identify your DAO community’s purpose

Before creating a web3 community it’s essential to identify why you’re creating that community. Don’t create community just for the sake of it, because if you don’t have a clear goal in mind, you won’t know why you’re creating that community and they will feel aimless. A community without a clear purpose won’t become a healthy community.

So, take some time to sit down with the founders or core team of your DAO and identify how your DAO community’s purpose could support the purpose of your DAO. Being clear about why you’re starting a DAO community will save you tons of time and effort in the future!

Step 2: Set community goals to guide your work

Setting goals or targets for your community will make it easier to figure out what to do when you’re not sure the next steps to take in your community building process.

For example, if you set a goal to have high attendance at your weekly community call, consider setting a goal that clarifies what “high attendance” means. Does it mean over 50 members? Or maybe 40% of your active members are in attendance?

Goals can be binary (achieved/not achieved) or quantifiable (80%, 50). Some examples of community goals to set:

  • Onboard 50 mission-aligned members in the next 6 months.
  • 80% of community members surveyed say they’re happy with the community.
  • Develop a community leadership program.
  • Launch 5 community communication channels, such as Twitter, Lens, and Substack.
  • Launch referral program to onboard more members.

Step 3: Define boundaries for your community so it can grow in a healthy way

Communities that don’t have clear boundaries for what they can and can’t do might have difficulty thriving. For example, they might not be sure if they can “own” certain parts of your DAO operations, so it’s important to make that clear.

Set boundaries so people feel comfortable operating within the community and can confidently own their work. These boundaries and rules should align with how your core team operates on a day to day basis, so they can lead by example.

Examples of boundaries to set:

  • Who can post on public DAO channels (Twitter, newsletter, etc.)?
  • Who can post proposals and what is the process like?
  • How is payment determined?
  • Who is protected legally, and how?
  • What happens if a community member is harassing or harming another member?

Step 4: Set up your community’s tool stack

Online communities need tools to connect and work together. Set up your tool stack now, so there’s not a decentralization of tools and therefore confusion over which tools should be used. Try to think of what your community will need as it grows, too. Starting with one small communication platform, like a group chat, might be easy when your DAO is five people, but not so easy when it’s 100.

Identify primary tools in these categories:

  • Onchain activities, such as managing a treasury
  • Events and meetups
  • Communication
  • Payments
  • Documentation and collaboration
  • Calendars and reminders
  • Statistics and feedback

The Aragon App gives your DAO community the option of governing with tokens or authorized wallets. You can also manage your DAO treasury transparently.

Step 5: Seek out spaces where potential community members spend time, then get to know them

Now that you’ve done all the planning work for your DAO community, you’ll need to recruit new members and get them interested in joining. Go to spaces where potential new members spend time, and take some time to get to know them. If you’re starting a sports DAO focused on basketball, you probably want to find sports team group chats or reddit threads. If you’re starting a professional networking DAO, you might want to spend time on LinkedIn and at relevant industry conferences.

Organically get to know possible community members in these spaces. Genuinely hear about what they would want out of a community centered around their shared interests, and use that research to design your community!

Step 6: Onboard the first 100 members slowly and thoughtfully

The first 100 members set the tone for your community going forward. Therefore, they are very important to get right! If you onboard 100 mission-aligned, intrinsically-motivated members, they will set the tone for the next 100 members and beyond.

Don’t be afraid to do things that don’t scale to onboard this first set of members, such as having video calls with each one and getting to know them personally. This will save you tons of work in the years to come, because these early members will onboard more members and grow your community for you!

Step 7: Create clear documentation so new members know where to start

To decrease the “bounce rate” of your community, or the number of people who join and then leave shortly after, it’s important to create a clear onboarding flow that makes it easy for new members to find their way into your organization. This flow should be carefully documented and clearly posted so new members know where to find it.

An effective onboarding process teaches new members about the organization they’re joining, as well as helps them find their place in the community. For example, you might want to create an onboarding flow that funnels them toward a talent representative who can place them in a role or a group to spend time with. It’s essential to have touchpoints of human connection throughout the onboarding process, so identify early community leaders who can provide these touchpoints!

Step 8: Hold events and create space for your community to connect

A strong community is one that knows each other well! Create events that your community members want to connect over, such as casual meet-ups around crypto conferences, community calls, and video calls that people can make connections during.

Consider events like these:

  • In-person meet-ups in central cities to your community, or around crypto conferences
  • All-hands or community calls where everyone is in one place together
  • Educational sessions and cross-functional workshops

Step 9: Track relevant metrics as you grow

Tracking metrics will help you know if you’re on track to meet your goals. Don’t get bogged down in tracking too many metrics, or vanity metrics that might make you feel good but aren’t very helpful. Identify 3-5 key metrics that can help your community, and track those weekly.

Some ideas for metrics to track:

  • Voter participation in the DAO
  • New member retention after onboarding
  • Member attendance at events
  • Member Net Promoter Score (how likely are members likely to recommend the community to others?)
  • Engagement and readership in your communications channels (Twitter, Lens, newsletter, podcast)

Step 10: Spot and develop community leaders, so they can help your community thrive

As a DAO founder, community manager, or builder in the web3 space, you know that you can’t do the heavy lifting of community management forever. So, once your community has launched, you should offload your responsibilities to community leaders who express interest in helping your community grow and thrive. Develop these leaders by giving them more and more responsibility as they show their skills. Pretty soon, you’ll have a community running on its own without needing to do extra work yourself!

With diligent planning and thoughtful choices, your DAO community will be thriving in no time!

To dive deeper into community building, read our in-depth guide on building and growing your DAO community. It also might help to talk to an expert who has succeeded in community building before. Get in touch with one of our DAO Experts to get advice on how to build your community!

If you're looking for a platform to launch your DAO onchain, try the Aragon App! With a sleek, minimalist look-and-feel and no coding required, the Aragon App is a great fit for any DAO community.

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