“A Look Back at GFN’s Strategic Plan” is a series that examines the impact of our current strategic plan over the last three years. Stay tuned for our next piece, which dives into our first strategic objective, expanding food relief.
A Look Back at GFN’s Strategic Plan (Part I): Providing Certainty in Uncertain Times
In 2019, The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN) launched an ambitious strategic plan to support the expansion of food banking service to 50 million people facing hunger by 2030. But just six months after the launch of the strategic plan, the scope of global hunger had changed dramatically with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet, while the pandemic made existing problems even more acute, our newly launched strategic plan offered a path for the organization to follow. “You have no idea how the world is going to change, and you have to be adaptable,” said Lisa Moon, GFN president and CEO. “Having a vision and plan allowed us to be more flexible when the pandemic hit, and ultimately, allowed for more transformational change over the past three years.” Creating an organizational vision Flashback to 2017, GFN staff capacity was increasing across the board, approval ratings as part of the member food bank satisfaction survey hit a new high, and food banks across the Network helped 8 million people across the globe access food. This shift in the organization allowed us to be more forward thinking and set a pathway for the strategic planning process. “We knew the organization was growing,” said Moon. It was in this context that our 2030 vision was born, featuring a North Star goal of reaching 50 million people facing hunger by that year. This vision was supported by three strategic objectives: 1. Expand food relief. We recognized that increasing the number of people served by food banks would require expanding the number of food banks in places where food insecurity was particularly high. This led GFN to develop Food Bank Incubator and New Food Bank Development programs. 2. Strengthen food banks. We also saw that it wouldn’t be enough to support the creation of new food banks; we had to ensure that already existing food banks were able to expand services, especially to reach populations that may have been missed. This led us to increase technical assistance and knowledge sharing opportunities. 3. Partner to address the root causes of hunger and food loss and waste. Ultimately, we recognized that our goal of reaching 50 million people, which is connected to the broader United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger, could never be achieve by one organization alone. We committed to increasing engagement–and partnerships–locally and globally, including an enhanced product sourcing strategy and global advocacy plan. Since the launch of the strategic plan and amid challenges brought on by the pandemic, we have continued to focus on our vision, launched and partnered with new food banks and national food banking organizations, ramped up services and technical assistance to organizations around the globe, and helped amplify the food banking model as a solution to hunger and food loss and waste. This work being done across the globe continues and serves as a foundation as we move to our next strategic plan.