What Snowdrift.coop needs to launch

“Ask not when Snowdrift.coop will be launched, but what you can do to get there.”

We've been pretty quiet for the past… er… five(?) years. We'll share more details and what we have been doing and our current status soon™.

For now, a look forward: We're finally gearing up for a push toward our alpha launch. Snowdrift.coop itself is the first project and we'll add others soon afterwards.

To get launched, we can use your help with these things:

Running the organization

Governance: Co-op + Volunteer Wrangling

In a single-person project, it's obvious who makes decisions. Adding a second person also adds more options — maybe all big decisions need consensus, or maybe one person leads, or maybe each person has a different focus.

Snowdrift.coop has a core team of eight volunteers. It's been challenging to decide how to distribute authority.

  • With this many people, consensus is very time-consuming, especially for volunteers. It's tough to put together a coherent, focused plan for getting launched this way.
  • On the other hand, the BDFL model is common in FLO software development. While effective, it doesn't fit with our democratic, cooperative values.

While our team is large, we're mostly new to running cooperatives or democratic volunteer organizations. We would appreciate the perspective of anyone who's been involved with (running) a co-op or similar organization; a list of references to research is a poor substitute for personal experience.

Update governance policy / roles / how the team operates (&21) · Epics · Snowdrift.coop
We spent a long time making decisions by consensus. However, this was very time consuming; many decisions were repeatedly postponed (some would call this a lack of leadership);...

Bylaws + Legal Incorporation

We are working on finishing our incorporation as a nonprofit cooperative in Michigan, USA. This mostly involves writing bylaws based on the decision-making choices we end up making above.

Legal expertise isn't required to help with this. However, if you are a lawyer (or law student, etc.) and can help reduce the amount of time we need to spend with our lawyer, the bank account would appreciate it.

Draft Bylaws & Finalize Legal incorporation (&9) · Epics · Snowdrift.coop
Decisions: Single vs multi-stakeholder cooperative Which decisions are decided at which level (Articles/Bylaws/Policy)? What level of support is needed to change them?

Website Development

Front-end: Elm + Html + CSS (Tailwind)

One long-outstanding blocker has been that our current front-end tech stack is not maintainable (by us, anyway). We've finally taken the plunge and begun re-writing it

Update website tech stack to un-block development (&5) · Epics · Snowdrift.coop
For a long time, our website’s tech stack has been a major roadblock to actually getting launched (see

There is also some content that needs to be updated before launch:

Update Website to v0.3 “Remove-Limit” Mechanism (&4) · Epics · Snowdrift.coop
Before Our plan was that each patron would set a budget limit and would drop out of the crowd when it...

Back-end: Haskell (Yesod, Persistent) + Postgres + Stripe

We don't plan to migrate away from Haskell and Postgres for our backend, and the current functionality is reliable. However, we will need to update how the backend interacts with the post-rewrite frontend.

A few backend tasks also remain before we're production-ready— mainly around Stripe interaction. In theory everything works, but we need to verify that this is actually the case (e.g., adding Stripe integration tests, so that we can be confident it stays working).

Backend ready for real-money charges (&16) · Epics · Snowdrift.coop
I’m confident in its current reliability as far as running crowdmatches goes. However, changes will be made as we iterate, and it’s important to have enough tests that...

…And some updates to our auth system:

Update account registration & password reset flow (&18) · Epics · Snowdrift.coop
On occasion, we’ve been contacted by people having trouble resetting their password. This is a bug with the way password resets are handled in the backend. It’ll be...

Deployment/sysadmin: CiviCRM + GitLab CI + …

While our team technically has the expertise to manage our infrastructure, it's a big drain on our limited volunteer time. Sysadmin help would reduce bottlenecks and speed up the pace of development.

Set up & configure CiviCRM (&14) · Epics · Snowdrift.coop
We have been making contacts with people for years, but have no centralized place to store/track them, leading to missed connections. To remedy this, we will be standing...
Improve development and collaboration tooling (&30) · Epics · Snowdrift.coop
While convenient tooling is not an absolute must-have to make progress, it has a big impact on the rate of progress. Especially, difficult setup can drive off new...
(Including dynamic deploys via GitLab CI)

Please Get in Touch

Social Support + Networking

The easiest way to help is to just come chat. It helps— Really!

  • Having a social space filled with people who care about public goods is energizing, regardless of the conversation topic.
  • Keeping in touch with like-minded folks leaves the door open to make connections and find opportunities we might otherwise miss.

This post has been heavy on the specifics of what we need to launch. However, it's important to step back and remember our goal: to demonstrate that solving coordination problems is possible. And that requires people to join us. In other words:

“Better for Snowdrift.coop to succeed politically and fail technically than the other way around.”

Matrix/IRC + Forum

If you're interested in helping with any of the areas listed above, or connecting more generally, come chat with us on Matrix at #snowdrift:matrix.org and/or introduce yourself on our Discourse forum. We are also happy to answer questions on any specific GitLab issues you would like to work on.