I had an opportunity to sit down with some folks from the Ethereum Foundation grant-making team. (Edit: the reason we were meeting was something else entirely, which I look forward to being able to tell you about soon! But after we’d settled that, another person who is responsible for Ethereum Foundation grants happened to arrive unplanned, and the discussion turned to this topic.) I told them about the upcoming ZOMG elections. They like Zcash and support it. I asked some general question like “How do you give out money effectively?”, and they sat up their chairs and started telling me their words of wisdom. The following is my recollection of what they said based on my notes — no editorializing on my part:
RFPs (Requests For Proposals) and targeted outreach where you pick domain experts and court them. It has higher risk of bias or self-dealing, but the quality of the people/teams you get into the boat that way is 10X the quality of the people you get by inbound.
Targeted waves, like “We’re going to be funding $(THIS MUCH MONEY) worth of proposals related to particular focus area, the deadline for applications is a certain date.”
It’s basically marketing yourself. Most people have no idea that the money is available. People forget. You have to have a marketing department.
(I — Zooko — asked how to get good recipients to become “repeat customers”, because I’ve been looking at ZIP 1014, which says its motivation for the major grants is “independent teams entering the Zcash ecosystem, to perform major ongoing development for the public good of the Zcash ecosystem”.)
Before the scope of work is done, start talking to them about the next contract because if there is a lull someone else will get their attention.
Make it clear that there is more money, because sometimes people don’t realize that all it takes is just asking.
Having a person in your organization who owns the relationship with that applicant/recipient.