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Collect testimonials and ambassadors

In this article, we discuss how collecting testimonials and recruiting ambassadors can help you to promote Prosper at your institution. We give suggestions for how you could do it and provide examples of how we did it.

Prosper ambassadors

What is a Prosper ambassador?

A Prosper ambassador is anyone who will promote Prosper to their peers at your institution and beyond, if desired.

An ambassador could be a postdoc who’s engaged with your Prosper career development offer, a PI or manager of researchers, a member of your senior leadership staff, or even an engaged employer partner. 

Why recruit ambassadors?

Personal testimony about the value of Prosper from a peer is a highly valued endorsement.

Encouraging people to become ambassadors and if necessary, providing them with support, such as communications templates like email text or slides, will be beneficial for embedding Prosper at your institution. 

What is the benefit for ambassadors?

The ambassadors are aiding their peers to access your Prosper career development offering. Their motivation to do so is that they value the offering so highly that they want to encourage others to benefit.

Being an ambassador isn’t too time consuming or onerous as to become a burden on them. Postdocs who’ve done this, without prompting, find aiding their peers in this way rewarding.

‘Funnily enough, I had a mentee during the time of Prosper and she wasn’t on Prosper, but I directed her to the Prosper portal. She actually got a job in industry using all your materials’

Postdoc working in Biomedical and Biological Sciences

How can you recruit your own Prosper ambassadors?

Postdocs

To recruit postdoc ambassadors, you could invite engaged postdocs to talk about their Prosper career development experiences at events, institutional podcasts or by simply talking to their peers.

Providing the postdocs with opportunities to share their experiences or empowering them with mini slide decks can grow your pool of ambassadors. A more formal approach if you are running a Prosper cohort would be to include an expectation to become a Prosper ambassador in the participant's agreement.

Other members of staff

Research staff such as PIs or managers of researchers could also act as ambassadors for your Prosper career development offering. Senior leadership could also promote Prosper at your institution.

Simply prompting them to remember to explicitly promote your Prosper offerings at meetings and to each other can be highly effective. Ensuring they have an accessible crib sheet or communications resource can be invaluable.

Why is it important to collect testimonials?

Testimonials provide validation for your Prosper career development offering from the people directly engaged with it.

This is a really powerful message to encourage others to engage. Seeing that peers have benefitted from engaging with Prosper can be a strong driver for participation.

You can use testimonials to effectively promote and publicise your Prosper career development offering.

By collecting endorsements from different stakeholder groups, you can tailor your messaging to your specific audience.

How we collected testimonials

Identifying candidates

Potential postdoc candidates were identified through positive or interesting responses to evaluation surveys. Prosper research staff developers also suggested possible candidates based on interactions with postdocs during sessions.

We used some of the quotes collected anonymously from evaluation surveys to illustrate the benefits of Prosper to PIs/Managers of Researchers and their postdocs.

Approaching candidates

We emailed the candidates to ask if they would like to take part in a 30 minute zoom call. You can find example email text that we used here. Our pilot cohort members had already agreed to provide feedback as part of their participants agreement.

Your email may wish to include a UK GDPR opt-in if you intend to store or use their attributed testimonials. You should also follow local rules around data storage.

Tracking responses

We tracked responses to emails using a spreadsheet, which you can download a template of here. For those happy to take part, we looked through their session attendance and evaluation surveys to identify talking points.

We selected areas that they were particularly engaged with. Examples included coaching, self-assessment and employer engagement.

Creating a script of questions

Based on the information gathered about the individual, we created a script of questions - usually starting with a general question about why they joined Prosper. We then arranged a time and date most suited to them.

You can see some examples of question scripts here;

Where and how we used the testimonials

Testimonials were used in tweets, blogs, videos in live sessions and videos for web and social media (see these examples from the first and second cohorts).

Testimonials also provided context and personal stories to support evaluation statistics. They were used to advertise Prosper's career development offering, showcasing the experiences of postdocs on the pilots.

As Prosper rolls out nationwide, we're seeking to continue to collect testimonials, especially from developers using Prosper at their institution. We wish to encourage these to be shared as part of our community of practice.

Recommendations

Consider the following when collecting testimonials and recruiting ambassadors for your Prosper offering.

Do

  • Build on the enthusiasm of engaged postdocs by empowering them to share and endorse Prosper as an ambassador 
  • Encourage PIs/managers of researchers and other staff in senior leadership roles to promote Prosper to their peers as well as their postdocs 
  • Follow UK GDPR legislation and data storage best practice 
  • Clearly inform those providing testimonials where and how you’ll use these and if they’ll be anonymous or not 
  • Give prospective candidates the option to give a video or written case study 
  • Consider recording (with permission) the testimonials even if the output will be a written case study, as it ensures information isn’t missed and isn’t time-consuming for the candidate
  • Set a deadline and send gentle follow up reminders 
  • Provide your candidate prompt questions or topics you’d like them to focus on 
  • Consider where you’ll showcase the testimonials and the target audience or audiences 
  • Consider how you’ll celebrate or thank your ambassadors

Don't

  • Forget to mute your microphone whilst the candidate speaks when recording a testimonial virtually 
  • Forget to ensure that you're in a quiet place with a good internet connection before you proceed to record a virtual testimonial 
  • Be afraid to write the testimonial copy, send it to your desired senior stakeholder for them to amend it and make it theirs 
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