Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a great community advisor (CA)?

There are many qualities that make up a strong community advisor. Being a great community advisor requires someone with the following:

  • Excellent communication skills and ability to build rapport with various stakeholders:
    • Teens
    • Volunteer Host Families
    • Schools
    • BFF Staff
  • Proficient writing skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines consistently and provide timely responses to student or family issues
  • Responsiveness to emails and requests for information within 24 hours
  • Willingness to learn, improve skills, and keep current on policies and procedure
What are the daily hours and how many hours a week does this require?

Our Community Advisors work from home and in their community. While there are no set hours each week, CAs will spend time in the spring and summer looking for Host Families and approximately 3 – 5 hours per month per student during the school year supervising students. During the supervision phase, you spend your time seeing and talking to the students and host families to make sure everything is going well. The great news is this position is flexible; you get to choose the number of students and families you work with, so it can range from a couple of hours a week to a serious part-time endeavor; it’s all up to you!

How do I find the host families and does BFF help me find them?

BFF doesn’t usually find families for you, but BFF staff will guide you on developing and improving your recruiting skills to be an effective host family recruiter. There’s no one right way to find host families. Host families do not grow on trees but are out there. Great places to start are places you may already find yourself, such as your children’s sporting events, hobbies, interest centers, recreation centers, schools, networking sites, social events, and even the grocery store! The sky is the limit on where and when you find host families! Your regional director and our office staff are there to coach you on the phone or through online training to help you improve your recruitment skills and continuously improve your success as a CA.

 

Do I have to be a salesperson or have sales skills to be successful as a CA?

Absolutely not! Most of our CAs do not have formal sales training! The best CAs are passionate about international relations and working with teens, have good communication skills, and are attentive to details. Great CAs are always willing to learn new things, are open to learning about different nationalities and cultures, and can work positively with host families, students, and schools. We look for these qualities rather than specific educational degrees, backgrounds, or past careers.

Which comes first, the host family or the school acceptance?

Like the question, “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” there’s no one way to get a placement. If you find a family interested in hosting, please encourage them to host. If their assigned school is not taking students at that time, there are alternatives to this situation. We work hard to make it work or at least put them at the top of the list for acceptance for the following semester.

 

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 it easier to ask strangers to host than their family and friends. Some CAs only get a few of their current connections to host but are highly successful at recruiting host families outside their immediate circle. There are unlimited ways to find host families. Some CAs are more comfortable talking to people they know, and some are more comfortable talking to people they meet through their networking and marketing efforts.

 

How am I compensated?

CAs work as independent contractors and will file a 1099. BFF pays CAs a stipend for each placement they make and each student they supervise. This payment will depend on which parts of the placement you do. BFF pays the full placement fee to a CA who finds a host family, assists them in the application process, performs the in-home interview, matches them with a student, and gets the school’s approval. We pay partial payments for any portion of this process. For example, you can still earn income if you find families in other states and perform parts of the screening process. You receive a placement stipend once the paperwork is complete and the placement is approved. A CA can also supervise the students while they are in the US and receive a stipend for this as well. In this role, the CA oversees the student and host family, completes a monthly contact form, and handles issues that arise.

 

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 CAs make. We want to ensure that the students & host families you oversee receive quality attention and timely responses and that you address any concerns they have. However, each CA has their own goals and can choose how many hours they want to devote as a CA. As long as you meet the abovementioned requirements, you may supervise the number of students you desire.

 

What if I have a full time job? Can I still be a CA?

Absolutely! Many of our CAs work full-time and devote part-time hours to BFF. You are a valuable asset to our organization as long as you can meet deadlines, address student & family issues promptly, and meet the BFF and Department of State standards!

Do I get reimbursed for expenses related to this position?

Because you are an independent contractor, BFF does not reimburse most expenses. 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 to recruit host families, but it’s not guaranteed. BFF will do its best to support you with training and advising you on the best ways to advertise and recruit families without incurring many expenses.