See below for guidelines on:
- Host Family Recruitment Standards and Guidelines
- Media Policy
- Social Media Policy
Host Family Recruitment Standards and Guidelines
To ensure the privacy and safety of our participants, host families, and host schools, all AFS Staff and Volunteers must follow CSIET and Department of State host family recruitment standards at all times. When finding host families, please carefully follow the regulations listed in the CSIET Host Family Recruitment Standards and Department of State Advertising and Marketing for Host Family Recruitment regulations. The full text of the CSIET Standards can also be found on their website at www.csiet.org.
AFS shall NOT publicize the need for host families via any public media with announcements, notices, advertisements, etc, that:
- are not sufficiently in advance of the student’s arrival.
- appeal to public pity or guilt.
- imply in any way that a student will be denied participation if a host family is not found immediately.
- identify photos of individual students and include an appeal for an immediate family.
- compromise the privacy, safety, or security of participants, families, or schools. Specifically, using personal student data or contact information (including addresses, phone numbers or email addresses) or photographs of the student. Exchange student photographs and personally identifying information, either online or in print form, can only be made available to potential host families who have been fully vetted and selected for program participation. Such information, if available online, must be password protected.
Social Media Policy
When searching for new AFS Host Families, Volunteers, or Sending students, many volunteers find that social media is an effective tool for promotion and recruitment. Marketing tips for social media can be viewed here, and the full Volunteer Social Media Policy can be viewed here.
Many Area Teams use Facebook groups to communicate and share information and best practices. If your team does not have a Facebook group and you wish to create one, be sure to (a) check with your team leadership before doing so, and (b) ensure that you are creating a “closed group” and not a “page,” which is often public. A “closed group” is a private, invite-only group that enables volunteers, staff, and/or participants to discuss AFS information, news, and events that are not pertinent to the public. It is more conducive to collaboration and community than a page is.
Once you create or join a “closed” Facebook group, you may invite the members of your choice. When you post in a closed group, generally only the approved group members will be able to see what you share; however, if a member of the group shares the post outside of the group or comments on a posting, both would be visible to the public and/or others outside of the group via their own Facebook News Feed.
Please keep in mind, all AFS-USA Volunteers have agreed to adhere to the AFS-USA Volunteer Code of Conduct, which includes treating all program participants, families, fellow volunteers, and staff with respect and respecting the confidentiality of the same, whether online or in-person. Topics of a sensitive nature and those that may violate the privacy of any participant, host family, or volunteer, should not be shared in a closed Facebook group or on any public forum. For more information about the AFS-USA Code of Conduct and confidentiality within AFS, please see the AFS-USA Volunteer Agreement.
Effective and compliant public posts
If you are posting about AFS on a public page (or a personal social media account), here are a few hosting recruitment “do’s and don’ts” to keep in mind:
- Explain the various benefits of hosting, both for the student and family.
- Share student bios on social media. Get tips on how to do this.
- Use graphics, captions, social media posts, and other resources available here.
- DON’T appeal to public pity or guilt to find host families.
- DON’T imply that an exchange student will be denied participation if a host family is not found.
- DON’T appeal to urgency or upcoming deadlines.
- DON’T share students’ full names, photos, or contact information on social media.
- DON’T specify the exact number of students that need to be placed.
Check out the Local Media Toolkit for ideas and resources to reach out to the media.