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The outcome of Felm´s cooperation negotiations: gradual reductions and focusing of activities

As a result of the cooperation negotiations Felm´s economy will be balanced gradually so that the savings goal will be reached during 2025.

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Felm has ended the cooperation negotiations started in September. The goal of the negotiations was to clarify the functions of the organization to adjust to the changes in the operational environment and weakened financial prospects.

The target of Felm´s development and adaptation measures is to focus activities, to create prerequisites to expand the funding base and to adjust economy gradually in 2024-2025 so that in 2025 structural around 3 million euros annual savings compared to 2023 level will be reached.

Originally it was estimated that the need to reduce workforce would be 55 employees at most. In the cooperation negotiation process Felm aimed to minimize and gradualize the effects to the personnel so that the reduction of man-years would be controlled. In all, Felm will reduce 42 man-years by the end of 2025 compared to 2023 level. This is reached with lay-offs, ending of temporary contracts and retirements. As a result of the organizational development, new jobs will be created which means that final number of layoffs is not yet known. There will be savings also from structural expenses, like premises, systems and procurements.

In the coming years the number of Felm´s countries of operation, partners and projects will decrease so that work will form larger entities, expertise will deepen and share of churches and Christian organizations of Felm´s partners will grow. Theological education, supporting the work of churches, peace work, disability work and community resilience to climate crisis will be further strengthened. In addition, Christian outreach work will be developed together with churches.

“Our aim is that the work abroad would suffer as little as possible and we would have time to plan the transition together with the affected partners. We also want to guarantee the continuity of our core functions in Finland and reduce and gradualize the effects on personnel as much as possible. On my behalf I would like to thank Felm´s personnel for good negotiation atmosphere and joint aspiration to ensure the continuance of Felm´s work even in difficult times”, says Felm´s executive director Pauliina Parhiala.

Program work will be finished by the end of 2025 in Oman, Taiwan, part of China programs, Mauritania, Pakistan and Papua New Quinea.  In Senegal Felm´s work continues by the end of 2028. Bible translation work, which has decreased already for a long time, will end by the end of 2024. In other regions work will continue without significant changes to the scope of operations.

In Finland, parochial network and community activities and digital reach of missionary work, mission and global education and fundraising will be strengthened. At the same time, there will be gradually less focus on children and early teenagers and more focus on youth at their confirmation training age and young adults. Felm Volunteer program will end. Felm will reduce and lighten its own art and event production and participation in productions. Felm´s communications functions will be brought together and, at the same time, advocacy and communications will be combined to form one strategic entity. In the future, Lähetyssanomat will be published more seldom and Felm´s publishing function and product sales will be reorganized.

Felm´s organization will be clarified and management structures will be lightened. The number of teams and superiors will decrease. Simultaneously, the cooperation of church work, humanitarian aid, development cooperation and peace building will be fortified.

Due to the changes Felm will disband its regional offices in Hong Kong and Cyprus. There will be Finnish employees in Taiwan and in Namibia still during 2024.

”These decisions are painful and I understand very well the disappointment that they cause to our work beneficiaries, our supporters and our staff. Our operational environment is under continuous change. I hope that with these tough decisions which help us to solve longstanding structural deficit, we create conditions to anticipate changes in our operational environment and thus secure the future of Felm”, says Parhiala.