How QuestBridge promotes local connections between alumni via ‘Dinner with QuestBridge Strangers’ program

With QuestBridge alumni spread all across the United States and their limited exposure to each other, the institution knew that it had to focus heavily on bringing its alumni together to be able to create a close-knit network and foster lasting connections. With the implementation of ‘Dinner with QuestBridge Strangers’ program, the nonprofit has successfully organized 29 sponsored dinner parties across 19 US states, bringing together 350+ alumni in less than a year.




events across 19 locations

William Peace University grand welcome to the Class of 2020 virtually with Almabase

About QuestBridge

With a current alumni strength of over 9,000, QuestBridge is a national nonprofit based in Palo Alto, California that connects the nation’s most exceptional, low-income youth with leading colleges and opportunities. By working with these students — beginning in high school through college to their first job — QuestBridge aims to increase the percentage of talented low-income students attending the nation’s best colleges and to support them to achieve success in their careers and communities. QuestBridge provides a College Prep Scholarship for high school juniors and a National College Match program for high school seniors.

One of the best nonprofit educational programs in the US, here are some quick facts about QuestBridge:

Over 15,000
QuestBridge Scholars and alumni nationally

Over 60,000 
Number of students served by QuestBridge programs

Over 22,000
Number of National College Match Finalists that have been admitted to a college partner  

Over 13,500
Number of students and parents have attended QuestBridge conferences to kick start their college admissions process

Over 6,000
QuestBridge Scholars “matched” to a college partner with a full four-year scholarship

What were the challenges faced by QuestBridge?

Limited staff resources

With a two-member team handling all alumni relations functions for over 9,000 constituents, the QuestBridge Alumni Association found it challenging to keep alumni engaged throughout the year.

Lack of adequate interaction amongst fellow alumni

In the case of traditional educational institutions, alumni have a stronger connection with their fellow alumni due to time spent together at college. However, QuestBridge alumni are spread all over the United States and have had limited interaction with each other. Even in cases where alumni are living in the same vicinity, they often don’t get to interact. As a result of this, there’s very little incentive for alumni to show up at events organized by the nonprofit.

Tedious event planning

With limited staff resources, QuestBridge faced multiple challenges with respect to planning events. It was difficult for the two-member Alumni Relations team to manage everything from the creation of event pages to handling multiple channels of communication.

What was QuestBridge able to achieve after implementing Almabase?

A strengthened alumni community achieved with the unique ‘Dinner with Strangers’ program

The ‘Dinner with QuestBridge Strangers’ program helps the institution to not only bridge the gap between its alumni but also create opportunities for peer-to-peer support, networking, personal and career development. The institution successfully hosted sponsored dinners with the help of regional alumni representatives in 19 locations across the US.

353 guests
29 dinners hosted in less than a year

Here’s how the ‘Dinner with QuestBridge Strangers’ program works:

1. QuestBridge urges alumni to volunteer as hosts for the sponsored dinner parties via emails.

2. Once the hosts and the venues are decided, QuestBridge shoots a mass email to all alumni encouraging them to sign up for a dinner nearby.

As a post-event follow-up, the institution collects feedback from all event attendees via emails and feedback forms. The collected feedback is greatly useful for gauging the success of past events and better planning of future events. 

Here’s what QuestBridge’s event attendees had to say about their wonderful initiative:

Increase in event participation

With a central dashboard for managing pre-event planning to post-event follow-ups, the institution is easily able to host multiple events. 

In addition to creating event pages for registrations, QuestBridge also created pages with guidelines for dinner hosts and a dedicated page with photos from previous dinners. QuestBridge made sure that all event-related details were clearly communicated to alumni.

It has also become significantly easier to get an overview of important metrics related to event participation and overall alumni engagement, based on which future campaigns can be planned.

128 event attendees in 2018
353 event attendees in 2019

QuestBridge continues to create local alumni communities and strengthen the bonds between its alumni by continuing with the tradition of QuestBridge Dinner with Strangers. You can explore more of their pages here.

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