How to prepare for the

Fill The Seat Policy

The Fill the Seat Policy was proposed by the Board of Directors in the fall of 2014 and endorsed by 84% of clubs consulted. A January 2015 letter from the Board of Directors to leaders announced that this policy would be piloted as of April 1, 2015 and apply to exchanges leaving as of July 1st of this year.
The Fill the Seat Policy has been incorporated into the 2015 Club and Exchange Policies, see page 8. Click here to read
Why is this new policy necessary?
  • Unfilled seats lead to disappointed hosts and discouraged clubs. Full exchanges with a mix of people enrich experiences for all participants.
  • Potential new members are out there, all we have to do is reach them. Open spaces are opportunities to spread our mission of friendship to new people.
Who will be affected by this policy?
  • Upcoming exchanges and the exchange directors who lead them beginning with exchanges leaving outbound in July, 2015.
  • When your exchange is 100 days from departure, your FFI program manager will contact you about listing it in the online catalog if you still have available spaces.
  • EDs are encouraged to list the exchange as early as possible in the catalog, ahead of the 100 days, following the same procedure.
Whether it is your first or your 500th time writing a catalog submission, keep the following things in mind!
*Click on graphic to view larger. 
What if I list on the catalog and still don’t fill all the seats?
  • That’s okay! You are not required to fill every seat – you are only required to make your best attempt by publicizing the exchange on the FFI catalog.
Can I give first priority to applicants from my own community or region?
  • Yes! Talk to your program manager for further advice.
  • Consider publicizing your exchange in local or regional publications/websites at the same time.
If I list on the catalog, do I have to accept everyone who applies?
  • No. The ambassador exchange director should use his/her own judgment to decide which applicants to accept and which applicants to reject. The ED should not feel pressured to accept anyone he/she feels is not fit.
How do I know which applicants will be a good fit for my exchange?
  • Ask for references and/or conduct interviews by phone, Skype, etc.
  • Talk to your program manager at FFI for further guidelines on vetting ambassadors.
Click on the appropriate form to get a head start!
How can I fill my exchange BEFORE 100 days prior?
1. Confirm an itinerary well in advance.
2. List your exchange in local or regional publications and websites as early as possible.
3. List on the FFI exchange catalog as early as possible.
Read more about these three strategies for filling an exchange.
What if I decide to cancel the exchange?
  • You are within your rights to cancel the exchange if you feel this is necessary.
    However, always speak with your program manager at FFI first.

 New Club and Exchange Policies Coming into Effect on January 1st, 2016 These are summaries only. For the complete policy, please refer to the full '2016 Club and Exchange Policy’ document attached.



Club affiliation fees - There will be no change to these fees for 2016. Please note that the Board will review club affiliation fees for 2017 at the next Board meeting and inform you by April 1st.


Partnership with - This partnership was reviewed further to the May announcement. Given the fact that hosts receive payment for hosting, it was agreed this partnership agreement

should be seen as an alternative to hotel stays where no FF hospitality exists. For the same reason, is not seen as a complement to FF hosting as part of the same exchange since it would create two classes of hosts and ambassadors, with unequal host involvement, and lesser benefits to the ambassadors, in the exchange. The policy opposes the mix of FFhosted and ambassadors on the same exchange but encourages the use of hospitality for a full group of ambassadors on the same exchange in situations outlined in the policy.



Mixing domestic and international ambassadors on the same exchange - The popularity of global exchanges has generated a happy mix of domestic and international participants on the same exchange and numerous questions as to which fee should apply. The policy is simple: domestic fees apply to domestic participants in a domestic exchange. This means that international participants must pay the international standard exchange fee and domestic participants participating in a global exchange in their own country must also pay the international fee. To do otherwise would displace international exchanges in favor of domestic exchanges.


Domestic exchanges - Domestic exchanges may be scheduled between two or more clubs within a country after all their regular international exchanges have been confirmed for the coming year. A domestic exchange can be for 1-7 nights with the same host club. Multi-club exchanges are permitted as long as each component does not exceed 7 nights. A nightly fee of $10.00 USD will apply to each night of hosting, irrespective of the duration or location of the exchange for domestic exchanges. Clubs are required to register the visit within 90 days of the exchange. See policy regarding compliance.


EU and Schengen Inter-club Visits - The Schengen agreement governs the free movement of citizens within this specially designated area in parts of Europe as if these citizens were from a single country (for that purpose only). Of the 26 countries bound by the Schengen agreement, 22 are part of the EU and the other 4 are part of the European Free Trade Agreement. This agreement, unique in the world, is the reason for the supplemental program defined in the policies as `EU plus Schengen Inter-club Visits’. These visits are designed to be shorter with less costly travel requirements than a regular exchange and as such are limited to 4 nights and one club visit at a time. These club visits are considered supplemental activities, and are not an alternative to regular international exchanges and domestic exchanges which are within the same country. Notwithstanding the distinction between domestic and EU plus Schengen Inter-club Visits, the fees levied for both categories of visits will now be equally set at $10 US a night. (See policy regarding compliance.)


Payment by Credit Cards - In 2015, bank charges paid by FFI for payment by credit cards of various fees surpassed the year’s total rent for the FF office in Atlanta. These charges are unsustainable for our stressed organization and just as is the case in the commercial world, credit card users must assume a convenience fee for their use. A 3% processing fee will apply to fees paid by credit cards related to exchange payments as well as payments for participation in FFI World conferences beginning on January 1, 2016. This new policy will not apply to credit card payments for Legacy Fund donations or Club Affiliation fees and in these cases, FFI will continue to absorb the bank’s credit card charges.


Fill-the-Seat - This initiative, piloted as of April 1st, 2015 will become formal policy as of January 1st, 2016. If an exchange is not full at 100 days prior to departure, the exchange must be listed on the FFI online exchange catalog though earlier marketing than 100 days is highly encouraged. A full exchange is one in which the number of ambassadors matches the hosting capacity of the host club.

For multi-club exchanges, the hosting capacity of the smaller club will determine the overall hosting capacity. Any exchange of 25 ambassadors will also be considered full. Exchange directors are encouraged to set definite dates and confirm program activities early in their planning process and well ahead of the 100 days. The outbound ED should request advertisement of an exchange on the website catalog as soon as there is any awareness the club(s) cannot fill the exchange with their own membership. Ambassador exchange directors are encouraged to promote their exchange regionally and are welcome to give top priority to applicants from their own region if they choose. Domestic and Intra-European exchanges are excluded from this policy.


PLEASE NOTE: In addition to these policy adjustments, please take note that Friendship Force International has recently changed its banking relationship in the US, from Wells Fargo to Bank of America.

You, as a leader and member should see no change in your process or service in how you deal with FFI in making payments, but you need to be in touch with your Program Manager for new routing numbers and SWIFT codes for wire transactions and domestic transfers please. The `2016 Club and Exchange Policies’ are designed to provide guidance and FFI standards for carrying out our intercultural mission across the world. With more than 350 exchanges taking place each year, this set of directions provides a way for us to clearly organize our processes and make sure that Friendship Force programs are based in ethics and professionalism.


Should you have any questions regarding these policies, speak with the staff at headquarters, with your club leaders, field reps, or international board members. We greatly value the efforts of all of our global Friendship Force community, and we look forward to a productive and peaceful 2016.



In an effort to facilitate the creation of domestic exchanges, FFI Planning has compiled a list of US clubs that would like to host domestic exchanges next year.  

As described in the 2015 Club and Exchange Policies document, a domestic exchange is an official club-to-club exchange between two clubs in the same country. 
Domestic exchanges are supplemental to a club’s regular exchange activity, providing the opportunity for members within a country to get to know each other as
well as different regions of their own country. Scheduling: Domestic exchanges may be scheduled between two clubs within a country after all their regular international exchanges have been confirmed for the coming year. Length: A domestic exchange can be for 1-7 nights in the host club. Fees: There is no FFI Ambassador Program Fee for domestic exchanges of 1-3 nights. However, there is an FFI Ambassador Program Fee of $50 per person for domestic exchanges of 4-7 nights.
Any Host Club Program Fee will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis between the clubs. You are receiving this message because you indicated that your club would be interested in traveling on a domestic exchange in 2015. Please use the information in the directory to plan your exchange.

Here are suggested steps to create a domestic exchange: The information contained in the directory is sorted by state. Scroll through the directory to determine if your preferred destination is available. Use the 'Hosting Capacity' information to determine if the host club can accommodate all of the ambassadors who will be traveling on the exchange.


 Use the 'Hosting Months' information to determine if the club's hosting availability corresponds to your travel dates. Send a request to the person listed under 'Contact Information' and wait for his/her reply. Once you and the host club have confirmed the exchange, please contact FFI Planning so that the information can be entered into our database and removed from this directory. Note: The directory will be updated periodically as domestic exchanges are created, so please keep the following link to the directory handy:








Exchanges Run By Other Clubs To Which Our Members Are Invited:


View on Catalog
August 20 to 26, 2016
View on Catalog
Manchester, UK and Vogtland, Germany
September 25 to October 15, 2016
View on Catalog
World Conference, Marrakesh, Morocco
September 16 to 19, 2016
Ornithology in Adelaide

October 15 to 24, 2016
Hello fellow FF friends across the World!
My name is Sue Croser of FF Adelaide, South Australia. I am delighted to be E.D. for the forthcoming Global Ornithological Exchange in October '16.

Adelaide is the capital of the driest continent on Earth, yet we are blessed with many special places, birds and animals. We are almost always in the top five most livable cities in the world because of our climate, people, and lifestyle.
I would like to extend a welcome to just 15 Ambassadors to join me for a unique and exclusive opportunity for birdwatching here this Spring (October).

You will be taken to multiple birdwatching sites almost every day, instead of the usual cultural and general sites of our area. Of course, you will see many different places, but the focus will be on birdwatching sites. Hosts will have bird lists for each area visited. There is also an app available for those with smartphones.
Also included is a 3-day/2-night commercial tour, to two special sites away from the city, where you may see up to 150 more bird species, from tiny fairy wrens to birds of prey and huge pelicans and emu. The tour guide is very experienced in the areas to be visited. Don't forget to pack cameras/lenses as well as binoculars, to record every detail to remind you forever of this journey.

Birds fly over 12,000 km from Alaska and Siberia down the East Asian Australasian Flyway, back here every Spring to visit us for Summer. Won't you take the opportunity to join them and come see why they return each year? You will also see hundreds of those that choose to stay for Winter here, too.
I look forward to just 15 of you to finalize your visit by mid-July. Spaces are limited by the Commercial Tour 4WD coach and should fill fast.

In Friendship, 
Sue Croser

Exchange Director
FF Adelaide, South Australia
Explore Myanmar
October 3 to 14, 2016

Friendship Force Ambassadors,

Come and join us on this exciting adventure in Myanmar where you will get to meet the people and make a difference.

Although homestays are not allowed in Myanmar, this exchange will still be in the typical Friendship Force style, centered around meeting and interacting with locals.

Some opportunities include:
  • Get to know local students as you help them practice their English skills.
  • Learn to meditate in a Buddhist monastery.
  • Gain insight into a monk's life.
  • Attend lunches and dinner parties as guests.
  • Travel with locals on their unique train in Yangon.
  • Visit a club foot clinic where babies’ lives are transformed.
  • A full itinerary can be found here

One highlight will be the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival. Once a year, an elaborately decorated gold barge carrying sacred Buddhist images cruises around Inle Lake for 18 days, and the locals come out in their boats in full force to escort it around the lake.

You will be right in the action, on a boat with locals sharing in the excitement during the height of the festival, October 8th, when there will be one-legged boat races and people in colorful traditional dress.

Come and join us on this exciting adventure!

In friendship,
Ian Stanford, ED
Adelaide, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

August 2016
Morocco Conference
September 2016
October 2016
September 2016
Wichita Air Power
September 2016
Explore Guadeloupe
October 2016
September 2016
Explore Myanmar
October 2016
November 2016
View on Catalog
Athens, Greece
September 21 to 29, 2016
View on Catalog
Haliburton Highlands
September 28 to October 5, 2016
View on Catalog
Discover Vietnam
November 1 to 16, 2016
View on Catalog
Discover Bermuda
November 10 to 17, 2016
View on Catalog
Past and Present in Central Florida
November 11 to 18, 2016
View on Catalog
Experience the Arts in Greater Sarasota
January 28 to February 4, 2017