Registration and Contract (September 15 to October 31)
At the beginning of each season, we ask our cooperators to return a signed copy of the IC Agreement and the required supplemental documentation prior to acting on behalf of InterExchange to recruit prospective exchange visitors. As you compile your documents and sign the IC agreement, please consider the changes you would like to make for the year ahead. Remember, all of the decisions you make will constitute a commitment for the entire season.
General requirements - There are several general requirements for ICs and their businesses:
- Make sure to obtain all appropriate business licensing.
- Conduct background checks on all your company’s staff members who will be involved in recruiting, screening, selecting, and orienting program participants, as well as owners and officers of the organization.
- Have validation studies and data about your business available for InterExchange if requested. This may include: * Notarized statement from bank ensuring credit-worthiness of business or financial solvency * Admission of any previous bankruptcy and all legal actions pending * Three references from current business associates or partner organizations * Outline of all previous experience conducting J-1 program activity including names of previous and/or current sponsors * Outline of recruiting methods
Contact information – Please ensure that the contact information in your online account is accurate and up to date. If you need to change your contact information or mailing address please contact InterExchange at email@example.com.
Country – Please note that if you recruit candidates from more than one country, you must complete multiple contracts and submit separate documents. You must also: 1) obtain a business license, 2) maintain a physical presence in the country, and 3) conduct background checks on all staff in each location. Make sure you consider elements such as flights and numbers for each country on an individual basis.
Flight arrangements – Think very carefully about flights before you make decisions. You, InterExchange, the camp, and the participant must all understand who is paying for a participant’s flight. If you choose to purchase the round-trip flights for your participants, InterExchange will reimburse you a set amount per participant. Flights should be purchased to the preferred airport of the participant’s host camp. If a participant needs to fly somewhere other than New York City, they should fly to that airport. InterExchange’s flight reimbursement amount does not change, regardless of the destination or total flight cost. If this results in additional International Cooperator fees paid for by the participant, this must be clearly outlined in your promotional literature.
The Self-Travel option exists for those participants who buy their own flights. These participants will have a higher stipend to account for the cost of their flights. If your participants are Self-Travel, please ensure they have a flight home arranged in advance. They should not rely on their stipends to purchase their return flights.
Recruitment projections – Our focus is on placing a higher percentage of accepted applicants and providing a better quality of support to those applicants.We ask that you concentrate on recruiting candidates with very specialized skills, a high level of English, and availability to arrive by June 15th or before. If you do not feel that you are going to have as many potential applicants as we have allotted to you, please let us know early so we can plan accordingly.
Promotional materials – Please utilize social media, referrals and other low-cost promotional outlets. Feel free to use photos, videos and other materials from our IC Resources. (Sample Host Camps, Camp USA Program Overview for Participants). See How to Promote the Program in the IC Handbook for more ideas.
Applicant fees – InterExchange is a nonprofit organization, and we keep our program fees low to reach the widest audience possible. We expect our cooperators to join us in keeping the program affordable and require that you inform us in writing about any and all fees that you are charging participants. Once you have submitted your fees with the IC Agreement, you have agreed that you will not charge participants more than that amount. Please think carefully about your financial needs for the season before confirming your fees.
Network with some of the following places or groups to find qualified staff:
- Courses for teachers, physical education staff, social workers and special needs programs
- Universities where youth work and/or child development is the primary focus
- University or college career centers
- Churches, synagogues and temples
- Organizations, associations and university clubs
- Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
Past participants can also be a great resource to assist you with leading information sessions about the program at their local university. We often receive inquiries from interested applicants through our website, and we will pass along your contact information to them by email. We will forward you a copy of the email we are sending to these applicants so you can follow up on the inquiry. Don’t expect them to get in touch with you without encouragement; email them immediately and let them know that you are their contact person in your country! Make sure you provide accurate program information and materials that clearly explain the program activities and terms and conditions.
You are responsible for all costs of promoting the program and recruiting applicants in the countries where you operate. However, InterExchange Camp USA will assist you by providing information sheets and images. Consider using some or all of the following marketing channels:
Advertising – Place advertisements in key local newspapers or on general radio programs to reach a diverse population. Also look into advertising in student newspapers, classrooms, career centers, or dormitories. You may also want to try advertising on the internet by having a promotional banner or link on student, youth, or community web sites to promote the program.
Social media - Create an Instagram page dedicated to the camp counselor program. Maintain an active blog where you post information about programs and allow past participants to comment and share positive stories about their experiences. Create a Facebook page or the equivalent on relevant sites in your country, where participants can post information and photos about their experiences. Create a group on LinkedIn or similar career sites where participants can create professional networks as they move forward in their careers.
Human interest stories - Did your participants from previous years have a great time? Interview them about their experiences and compose a press release or news article. Distribute it to a local paper or website to publish it.
Video – InterExchange provides our International Cooperators with promotional videos that include interviews with camp participants as well as camp directors who have hired them. Please ask our staff for copies of these videos as well as guidelines for how you may use them on your website and social media as well as at your in-person events.
InterExchange Camp USA brochure and information sheets – Our team provides materials that outline the program and the stipends that participants earn. You may share this information with participants, but no alterations may be made from the original documents.
Information sessions/talks – Informational sessions are a good way to reach a large number of people rather inexpensively. These talks can address the general public or target a particular club or university. Invite past participants to speak during these presentations or see if they can present a quick overview of the program in their schools via clubs, study abroad offices, or career centers. Contact professors or university officials to arrange these presentations; they can be great allies in promoting the program.
Website – Students around the world rely on the internet as their primary source of information. Is your website informative and accurate regarding InterExchange services? Can someone easily find your contact information on the main page? Is it easy to apply or register to the program? Do you have a direct link to email? You should also consider promoting your website through search engines such as Google and Yahoo to increase traffic on your website. While you are not permitted to post the InterExchange Camp USA application on your website, you may consider building your own abbreviated online registration form, so you can gather information about interested applicants.
Word of mouth – Word of mouth advertising is vital to this program. Utilize past participants in your recruitment efforts. They have a very clear understanding of the camp program. Their stories and experiences can be a very powerful marketing tool to represent different types of camps at orientation sessions.
How do I follow up with potential applicants to ensure their commitments?
Once you have received and responded to an inquiry, you should be prepared to do some follow-up work. Invite leads to start an application in the online system. You can use their responses to the questions to help you pre-screen the applicants. When applicants first start an application, they are not required to upload any supplemental documents. Consider calling and emailing the applicant a week or so later and keep an eye on the application statuses. If they have been in the status “Not Submitted” for a couple weeks, get in touch to see if they are still interested or have questions. If they have submitted the written portion of their application, their status will be “Cooperator Review” which means it’s time for you to take action! Make sure to contact the applicant for an interview if you think they will be a good candidate and explain which documents they need to upload to their application to complete it.If you have too large an inquiry pool for personal phone calls, you may want to send a group email reminding applicants about deadlines. Or, try doing something creative! Perhaps you could send out a newsletter with program information and updates or you might try posting messages and links to your website and on your Facebook fan page.