What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Perhaps the biggest hindrance to the successful project is people’s prejudice against business and politics. The word ‘business’ and ‘politics’ may remind many people of corruption and power abuse. Such viewpoint could affect Let’sVoteTogether.com, as customers (and stakeholders) could feel the business should not be related to politics.
Another obstacle is the difficulty of being ‘unbiased’ and ‘fair’. Bipartisanship is not easily achieved in the current political landscape where the extreme opinions often attract more voters. Therefore, any opinions related to politics can be interpreted as ‘biased’.
Admittedly, Democracy Pays Off will also go through these problems. Then the best approach will be to do marketing more aggressively. Once Let’sVoteTogether.com gets familiar to the general public, many obstacles will be tackled more easily.
Tell us about your partnerships
We have collaborated with a number of organizations in Korea, including Work Together Foundation, Korea Youth Alliance, Korean Voters Association, etc.
Explain your selections
The initial funding for the project was done by friends and family of the project team members. One of the members also put a big portion of his savings into the project. Winning a national competition for social venture hosted by the Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor allowed us to receive the government grant for 6 months. As a business, we also try to create a reasonable profit by providing specialized service to our customers, which is still in early stage.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
The first step toward sustainable business operation of Let’sVoteTogether.com is to expand our customer base. Thus far the target of our marketing efforts has been limited to relatively young voters, as they tend to show the most serious political apathy. However, market research shows that voters in their 40s and 50s as another important customer base of VOTE School, as they want to teach their children about democracy and to make informed decisions at the poll.
Another plan to financially stabilize our project is to launch a professional version of Open Party, where more detailed and processed information about policy and politicians is provided. Subscription to the professional version of Open Party will be charged for a small monthly fee so that researchers or policymakers, more active citizens will be able to utilize the detailed information.
In addition, collaboration with both government and civic sector is important for Let’sVoteTogether.com for spreading its message of political participation as well as to hold the sustainability. For example, support from National Election Committee of Korea would enable us to provide more VOTE School classes for the under-represented voter groups such as the physically handicapped, the recently immigrated, etc.