One of the core ideas inherent in the
mechanics of the Qela app is that supporters and volunteers, in exchange for their activity and involvement, are given the opportunity to influence the organization they belong to. And this principle is realized through weighted voting. How does it work? We suggest that you look at the example of a young Ukrainian social and political movement.
Weighted voting with tokens was the foundation of Demokratychna Sokyra movement from the very beginning. The reason is not even the adherence to the meritocratic ideology, but the dependence of the movement on the activity of its participants. And if a movement demands a lot from its participants, then the inequality of contribution within it is inevitable. Someone volunteers for 1 hour a month. Someone does 4 hours every day. Others don’t do it at all but donate money. Apart from labor and money, the organization is in need of nothing.
Therefore, the first step was to establish a correct and clear parity between labor and donation. Such parity should be flexible: in the life of every organization, there are periods when more labor is needed and periods when it is rather the money that is needed. Initially, it was assumed that the work of each person within the organization is equal to the work of another. Campaigning on the street or participating in a rally equalizes the cashier and the director of a large company. 2 tokens were established to be the parity of an hour of labor (approximately $4), which was relevant for Ukraine at that time.
After the establishment of the parity, the community, contrary to expectations, did not split into volunteers and donors who were jealous of each other. Just the opposite: it turned out that most people both participate in promotions and donate. At the same time, donations were perceived as an indulgence in the case when a person could not, for example, go to a rally. There was a willingness to change the parity in case of complaints, but there were none.
However, during the initial period, the value of the token was weakly felt: voting within the organization was rare and did not always lead to simple and understandable results for people. To increase the value of the token, for the first year the organization accompanied the accrual of tokens with the distribution of special coins with the symbols of the organization. The coins were minted in metal and became an important element of symbolic motivation. They could be exchanged for T-shirts, scarves, and other merchandise. People liked it. In total, 2,000 coins participated in the exchange (repeatedly). All of them remained in the hands of the members of the organization as souvenirs.
However, over time, organization managers increasingly realized that people's participation in voting is their main motivation to do even more and increase their contribution to the organization. After all, their voice weight affects the decisions made in the end. At the same time, in order to prevent oligopoly, an upper bound was established for the weight of a participant's vote in any voting. There were numerous fears that people would conspire and vote together. In practice, this does not happen; the result of any vote is unpredictable. Experience has shown that voting is the best way to involve people:
Giving a specific visible result (for example, voting for symbols, naming, etc.).
Determining the fate of specific people (elections, expulsion from the organization, fines, or awards).
Acutely relevant (concerning the subject that everyone is talking about right now).
Conflicting (separating people within the organization).
As a result, from the initial 500-700 participants in the average vote, the organization approached 1.5-2 thousand. Interestingly, these dynamics practically coincided with the growth of the organization in the volume of attracted funds and the rating of trust in society. This relationship has proven that voting is a necessary part of the job of keeping an organization's human capital engaged and caring. Now every week the main organ of the organization comes out with a vote on any matter, trying to make it not empty, but important.
Feels like the main breakthroughs in realizing the value of tokens were elections. It was then that the most honored volunteers and major donors realized that tokens are not just a symbolic award, but a real measure of achievements in an organization. Strict adherence to the voting results has led to the accumulation of trust. Despite the primitiveness of the token mechanism (in fact, these are just accumulating "points"), it gave several important results:
Increasing the motivation of donors and volunteers.
Increasing the loyalty of participants to the organization, feeling like a contributor.
Sense of justice and clear rules of the game, which reduces conflict.
A measure of the success of structural units within the organization (regional branches, clubs).
Taking action within the organization more seriously.
During the work, more than 400,000 tokens were issued, which corresponds to about $800,000. This number increases by at least 30,000 tokens every month. This is an integral indicator of the productivity of the organization. At the same time, the financial contribution is about 2/3. Shared values and friendships make disputes over token accrual rules quite rare. Thus, while tokens are important enough to be valued; tokens are not important enough to fight over. Maintaining this balance is an important task for the leaders of the organization.