Strophy and I independently wrote articles on the same topic. Mine also discusses why it's happening. Obviously an important topic. A significant percentage of the last few month’s proposals have skipped important steps and suffered for it. Some of them still made it, some did not. I hope to publicize the important steps or best practices to help proposers have the best chance at winning. In the larger context, I was concerned about why this keeps happening. I think I have a plausible explanation and it may actually be a good thing, or at least it’s a good problem to have. The idea is, as Dash continues to attract more attention, people are getting better informed, reading the forums and looking at the resources we have stickied in various places. Once they grasp the implications of how Dash works, and it’s many innovations, how the Treasury works, how supportive and responsive the Dash community is...they get very excited. They realize the enormous potential Dash has to change the world and how money works. Then they go binge watch all the youtube videos they can find. At some point they hit Amanda B. Johnson’s channel (Dash Detailed) and they binge watch all of those videos too till 1:00 in the morning. Then they get this urgent, determined idea that they want to get involved in this movement. And as soon as they (mostly) figure out how to make a proposal, they DO IT! That’s where we run into trouble. The best practices to make a successful proposal include several steps that are time consuming. As a bare minimum, you should have a two week pre-proposal conversation about your great idea that involves all three of the three big forums: https://www.dash.org/forum/topic/pre-budget-proposal-discussions.93/ , Reddit Dashpay: https://www.reddit.com/r/dashpay/ and the DashNation Discord channel; https://discordapp.com/invite/9z8zX5j This step must precede your official proposal. A month long discussion would not be too much, along with actually reading and responding to the issues and concerns raised by the Dash community. To really put the icing on the cake, (and even more time consuming) you would get involved in all three forums and just participate and hang out and get the feel for how the community works. Let us get to know you for 3-6 months or more. Once we know you in that context, your chances of a successful proposal get significantly better. Hey, you’re one of us! Timing matters. Let’s say you have a full, robust, respectful pre-proposal discussion, and then there’s only 5 days left in the current voting/budget cycle. Just wait a week and submit it at the very beginning of the next budget cycle. Give the whole community a chance to look over your proposal and offer further comments about improvements, questions, concerns and so on. Even if you do a good job on all three forums, there are still substantial numbers of Masternodes that won’t see your proposal until it goes live on DashCentral.org Don’t spring it on us at the last minute. Size matters. If your proposal is larger than ~35% of the monthly budget, there is a risk that approving your proposal will bump one or several of the smaller (but still important and deserving) proposals. And if it’s really hefty, it could prevent us from paying the Core Development Team. This is a bad plan. So break it into 2-4 pieces that can be accommodated over several budget cycles. This also has the effect that it gives the Masternodes some leverage to improve the odds that we will actually get a delivered product or service. We love that! Note that once you pay your 5 Dash and make a formal proposal, it’s hard wired into the protocol. No take backs, no changes to amounts or number of payouts. That’s why the pre-proposal discussion is so important. Now that we actually have two functional escrow services (one with Dash Core, and one with https://greencandle.io/) if you request escrow service, along with measurable and achievable progress benchmarks, we are more likely to approve your proposal. GreenCandle has a whole vetting process. While not required, I suspect that use of the escrow services will rapidly increase. It also improves your odds substantially to get a bigger project approved if you do a smaller project with us first to test the waters. If the proposal is bigger than say...250 Dash, you’d better have a team, not just one person. Big projects are unlikely to be delivered on time if there is only person getting the work done. Also, having a team gives the Dash community that many more points of contact, making it less likely that some unscrupulous jerk will take our money and just fall off the planet. It is very rare that the MasterNodes would approve a project with monthly payments for a year. The reason is simple, it’s too risky, and it’s risky for both parties. Let’s look at two scenarios to understand the reluctance to approve long duration proposals. Suppose you have this awesome idea that helps Dash do some amazing thing. And let’s further suppose that the day you publish your proposal, it would legitimately cost 50 Dash per month for a whole year to get it done. For example, let's say Dash is worth $340 US. So you need $17,000 dollars a month to get this done. What if, one year from now, Dash is worth $3,400? Now the Dash community is locked in to pay you ten times the necessary amount, and we may not get ten times the value. Bad for Dash. Then consider the opposite scenario, you really do need $17,000 per month to get this done, and the value of Dash drops by 60% to $136. Now you only have $6,800 per month to get the job done, bad for you AND bad for Dash since it’s unlikely you can finish the project. Thus, don’t ask for guaranteed monthly payments of x Dash for an entire year. 3 or 4 months is a pretty good sweet spot. It also helps (even for a 3 month proposal) to describe your “stretch goals” if Dash goes up substantially.Analysis of the size of proposals (thanks PlateGlassArmour!) from the last 6 budget cycles revealed an interesting trend in approval rates. Projects larger than 1,000 Dash are rare, so we ignored those. The sample is small enough that any conclusions are likely not statistically significant. For all the rest, here’s the data: 0-50 Dash=62%, 50-100 Dash=54%, 100-200 Dash=83%, 200-1000 Dash=68%, with pretty even numbers in each category (26,24,24,22). The sweet spot appears to be the 100-200 Dash category with an 83% success rate, and the bigger projects have the next highest approval rate at 68%. This could be a random artifact and is not meant to discourage smaller projects. Although there is probably a threshold of around 5 Dash, where it would be easier, cheaper and more efficient to pitch the idea directly to Dash Force. So, we love enthusiasm, and plenty of new converts have that. It’s a feature, not a drawback. But don’t be so enthusiastic that you don’t even realize that skipping certain steps will significantly reduce your chances for success. If you and your proposal succeed, it’s that much more likely that Dash will succeed too.