What makes a great Community Advisor (CA)?
We look for:
- excellent communication skills
- strong rapport with teens, families, and school officials
- proficient writing skills
- ability to meet deadlines consistently
- timely response to student or family issues
- responding to emails and requests within 24-48 hours
- effective communication with manager/director
- continuously learning and improving on skills and keeping current on policies and procedures
What are the daily hours and how many hours a week does this require?
This depends on how many students you would like to oversee and how many students you would like to place. On an average, CA’s spend about 10-20 hours per week working on recruiting families and/or overseeing currently placed students and families. The hours you put in are up to you, but the more students you wish to place, the more hours you will work. Each CA has their own individual goals and desires in the organization and they are able to choose when and how much they work. The hours vary depending on the time of the year. Most CA’s work during their “free time” and work with current students during the year when events take place, when there’s a student/family issue, and when monthly reports are being done. The CA chooses how many students they want to work with. Some CAs recruit more families than they are prepared to supervise. We welcome CAs to make as many placements as they can and then we can have other CAs supervise some of these placements as needed.
How do I find the host families and does BFF help me find them?
BFF doesn’t usually find families for you, but BFF managers and directors will guide you on developing and improving your recruiting skills to be an effective host family recruiter. You will never feel “alone” in the recruitment process. There’s no “right way” to find host families. Host families do not grow on trees, but are often found at your children’s sporting events, hobbies, interest centers, recreation centers, schools, networking sites, social events, even the grocery store! The sky is the limit on where and when you find host families! There’s always a manager or director to coach you on the phone or online trainings to help you improve your recruitment skills and continuously improve on your success as a CA.
Do I have to be a salesperson or have sales skills to be successful as a CA?
Absolutely NOT! Many of our CA’s have had no formal sales training at all! The best CA’s are passionate about international relations, working with teens, have good communication skills, and are attentive to details. These CA’s are always willing to learn new things, open to learning about different nationalities and cultures, and are able to work with host families, students, and schools in a positive manner. We look for these qualities rather than specific educational degrees or backgrounds or specific CA careers.
Which comes first, the host family or the school acceptance?
Just like the “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” there’s no ONE WAY to get a placement. If you find a family that is interested in hosting, please do encourage them to host. If their nearby school is not taking students at that time, there are alternatives to this situation and we work hard to make it work or at least put them on the top of the list for the following semester for acceptance.
I am new to my neighborhood/city/state and I don’t know anyone. Will I still be successful as a CA?
Absolutely! Many CA’s find that it’s easier to ask “strangers” to host rather than their own family and friends. Many CA’s don’t get many of their personal connections to host at first or sometimes at all but they are extremely successful at recruiting host families. This is because there’s hundreds of ways to find host families as stated above. Some CA’s are more comfortable talking to people they know or are acquaintances with and some CA’s are more comfortable talking to “strangers” who they are meeting at an event for the first time.
How am I compensated?
You will be paid in two different ways. You have two “roles” in this position. One is as a recruiter, where you will find host families, do the necessary paperwork, in-home interview, and then match them with a student and get school approval. The second part of your role is to oversee the students that are physically here in America. As a recruiter, you will be paid a stipend once the paperwork is all complete and the placement is approved. As the CA who is overseeing the student and host family, you will be paid for each student you oversee once the monthly report is submitted on time and approved.
How many students do I have to place to continue as a CA from year to year?
There is NO minimum or maximum number! We appreciate any number of placements our CA’s make. We want to be sure that the students/host families you oversee are getting quality attention, timely responses, and any of their concerns/struggles are addressed, but each CA has their own goals and is able to choose how many hours they want to devote as a CA.
What if I have a full time job? Can I still be a CA?
Absolutely! Many of our CA’s work full time and devote part time hours to BFF. As long as you can meet deadlines, address student/family issues in a timely manner, and meet the standards of the Dept. of State as well as BFF, you are a very valuable asset to our organization!
Do I get reimbursed for expenses related to this position?
Because you are an independent contractor, most expenses are not reimbursed by BFF however, you can keep receipts for tax purposes. BFF cannot advise you on tax related items. At times, BFF may have materials for setting up a table at an event for recruiting host families, but it’s not a guarantee. BFF will do their best to support you with trainings and advising you on best ways to advertise and recruit families without incurring a great deal of expenses.