Case #2060.0

'Fixing Our Politics', One Vote at a Time: Public Policy Graduates Aim to Boost Turnout with TurboVote

Publication Date: June 20, 2016
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This case, about creating a startup with a social mission, is designed to help students think through the strategic alignment of public value, legitimacy/support, and operational capacity in a simple context. Together with an in-class video “reveal,” the case package follows the thinking of two Masters of Public Policy (MPP) graduates as they create TurboVote, a nonprofit service designed to increase voter turnout by sending subscribers reminders and helping them register and vote by mail. The case shows that—despite a straightforward business idea—the young founders had to address consequential choices. The written case includes background information about the voter turnout problem and ends with the TurboVote leaders contemplating the basics of a business plan—in particular, the options and implications of different financing models. The case package includes a set of three short videos. “Meet the Founders” (5:37 min) provides a brief introduction to the two protagonists. Students will want to read the case and watch this video before class. The other two videos (4:45 min and 4:09 min, respectively) are designed to be played by the instructor partway through class. The first reveals how the founders approached some key strategic choices. In the second, they reflect on their decisions, particularly in terms of funding, and talk briefly about their hoped-for path forward. The instructor may play these videos separately or together, and follow them up with further discussion.

Learning Objective:
Developed for introductory Policy Analysis, this case is paired with an introduction to Mark H. Moore’s “strategic triangle”—the idea of aligning a vision for creating public value with the means to achieve it—legitimacy/support and operational capacity. The case supports several lines of discussion, including: What is the TurboVote vision and is it a good response to low voter turnout? What kinds of funding models might work—and how might these models affect TurboVote’s long-term goals? 

Please note: the video portion of this case is included in the teaching plan and is intended for instructor's to use in class. Here is more information on how to access teaching plans.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Pamela Varley
Video Producer:
Patricia Garcia-Rios
Faculty Lead:
John D. Donahue
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States
Funding Source:
Rita Allen Foundation