From time to time, the Executive Board and staff, in consultation with AFS leaders and members, study and evaluate future goals and priorities for the organization and articulate those goals in a written long-range plan. 

Over the years, the overarching goals of the Society have remained largely consistent, though each iteration has noted signs of progress and set new targets to strive for.

Long-Range Plans


The American Folklore Society’s first modern-day long-range planning effort took place in the late 1990s, and led, among other outcomes, to the Board’s creation of a full-time executive director position for the Society. 


Throughout 2006, the Executive Board worked with AFS staff and committees to carry out a second long-range planning process, which led to the document titled “Toward the Future of Folklore Scholarship and Practice.” This process articulated five goals and developed a set of highest-priority actions associated with each theme:

  1. Engage in an active campaign to improve the standing of folklore in the academy.
  2. Promote the purposes, work, value, and contributions of the field more actively and effectively.
  3. Take better care of our own.
  4. Engage more fully in relevant public policy worlds.
  5. Improve and increase meetings and communications in the field.


In 2009 and 2010 the Executive Board revisited the 2007 plan, evaluated AFS’s progress toward its goals, and determined a) to devote 2011-2013 to completion of all possible work on the goals outlined in the existing plan, and b) to undertake a new planning process in 2013-14 to revisit and revise the plan for implementation in 2014-2018.


In 2013 and 2014, the Executive Board revisited and revised the 2010 plan, making changes to reflect what had been accomplished, as well as the Board’s new priorities. The Board concluded that the prior five goals remained appropriate as guideposts for Society efforts, but that they would add a sixth goal:

  1. Secure and sustain AFS’s organizational strength and capability.


In 2019, the Executive Board returned to the long-range planning process, which included extensive discussion of the AFS mission and vision statement, as well as reconsideration of the goals and tasks that should guide AFS efforts for the next few years. Though much of the conceptual work was completed, new challenges displaced the task of finalizing the report on the Board’s agenda (an eleventh-hour threat of a labor dispute at the 2019 annual meeting site; in 2020, a global pandemic that required reinventing the annual meeting for remote participation, violence against minoritized groups that sparked re-examination of conscience(s) and practice, and a radically revised AFS website; and continuing fallout and threats to institutions in our field in 2021 and 2022).