GFOA Documents

GFOA’s Evolving Strategic Framework

Page from GFR

Strategic planning is a longstanding “best practice” in public finance that helps all organizations think strategically about the future in a volatile and resource constrained environment. As it is often practiced, though, strategic planning has limitations and fails to live up to its promised benefit. In 2022, GFOA conducted research to “rethink” strategic planning. Traditional strategic planning often involves a structured process of identifying a vision statement, goals, and set of strategies. The work of preparing the plan is conducted at predetermined interval—once every five years, in our case—and the result of these efforts—the strategic plan document—is expected to guide the organization for the timeframe identified in the plan. And once they’ve been created, these strategic plan documents quickly become obsolete in an ever-changing world.

GFOA’s recommended approach, as identified in our research paper, “Rethinking Strategic Planning,” emphasizes forward thinking and continuous strategy development, and it minimizes detailed planning.