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Inspired BlogDigital Marketing that Matters | How Our DMEP Program Helps CLT Nonprofits Grow

At Red Ventures, we embrace a growth mindset, and we encourage our employees to extend their knowledge in areas that interest them. One of our favorite ways to get better every day is through our in-house Learning & Development programs and accelerators — one of which is our Digital Marketing Essentials Program (DMEP).

DMEP is a part of how RV grows the next generation of marketing leaders: program participants learn to contribute outside of their area of marketing expertise by gaining a broad understanding of various digital marketing channels. Some participants choose to go above and beyond the program’s first phase (30 course hours) and complete a capstone project, where they partner with Charlotte-area nonprofits to improve their digital marketing strategies.

DMEP capstone participants use RV’s core competencies and partner management to help the community and leave the woodpile higher! Check out who our latest DMEP cohort worked with, and find out what a few program participants loved about the program.

GiGi’s Playhouse

GiGi’s Playhouse is a national network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers and a longtime friend of RV, which currently reaches less than 10% of the Charlotte Down Syndrome population.

The DMEP team’s main goal was to bring awareness to the organization, and connect more families and volunteers in Charlotte to GiGi’s programs. They also wanted to create a scalable marketing solution for Gigi’s locations outside of Charlotte.

Their marketing strategy focused on improving GiGi’s paid media and SEO to spread awareness, and improving their email strategy to continue their connections with families. The team is excited to see their work get rolled out across the organization’s national domain!

Their next steps include holding marketing channel training sessions with the Charlotte team and creating playbooks that can be shared across the 48 and counting GiGi’s Playhouse locations.

Sarah Mullens, Associate: I really enjoyed my DMEP experience — from the initial classes where I was able to learn more about other digital marketing functions, which has helped me work better cross-functionally, to the capstone phase where I got to work with a local non-profit. GiGi’s was a great partner that brought so much enthusiasm and eagerness to project. It was inspiring to help them work to achieve their mission of changing the way the world views Down Syndrome and send a global message of acceptance for all. Similar to RV, the GiGi’s team values sharing learnings, so our team’s work for the Charlotte chapter is going to be shared across the national organization to expand the impact, which is amazing!

Richard Wheeler, Associate: I loved working with GiGi’s because we were originally presented with an opportunity to help the GiGi’s Charlotte location market one specific event, and that evolved into an amazing opportunity to help the entire organization on a national scale. GiGi’s was an amazing group to work with — they were very open to our suggestions and feedback. DMEP immersed me in other marketing channels outside of SEO, and helped me gain a much more holistic understanding of digital marketing. As someone who has always worked on owned-and-operated businesses, it also gave me valuable experience in navigating obstacles and driving results when working for an external partner.

Golden Door Scholars

If you didn’t already know, Golden Door Scholars is a nonprofit powered by RV which helps promote economic mobility for undocumented students.

The GDS team wanted to ramp up the organization’s SEO and improve brand awareness to reach more students. The DMEP team created an “awareness playbook,” which included a three-part SEO strategy, a content optimization strategy, a tasklist for site functionality optimization, a school partnership strategy and even a prospective student outreach strategy.

The playbook allows GDS to optimize their site without needing to develop new hard skills. It also encompasses long-term solutions to reach and impact as many students as possible.

Jamie Lamach, Associate: I think the capstone phase of DMEP is really what helped me solidify the classroom learnings — I’m very much an experiential learner, meaning I need to be hands-on in order to really grasp the concepts. Also, the capstone phase was super beneficial because my teammates and I had the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another and in doing so check our understanding of the materials. I’m really excited to continue working with GDS to help them with their email campaign strategy!

Megan Mulrain, Outreach Strategist: While in the program, I learned a lot about the full digital marketing funnel — which helped me better understand how my job plays into the full picture. Being able to apply the information through the capstone helped reinforce the information we had learned, and being able to use our learnings to work with GDS was invaluable experience. The GDS team was incredibly helpful and we were able to experience a real-life application of many the of the skills we had learned.


Digi-Bridge is a smaller, newer Charlotte nonprofit that aims to equip all 21st century learners with the tools they need to succeed. The organization is an expert voice in STEAM and an equalizer in digital literacy. 

The DMEP team assessed Digi-Bridge’s marketing channels, technology in use, and available resources, and selected tasks that could be continued after their work was done — tasks that were easily repeatable, actionable, cost-effective and integrated into their current technology. They chose to focus on three primary initiatives: a monthly newsletter that can be easily maintained using MailChimp, content strategy and outreach for their website, and paid social ad organization on Facebook.

Eva Langelotti, Outreach Associate: The capstone portion has been a really great experience. Because we’re working with a small team that has a busy schedule, it’s been more challenging to collaborate than we had originally expected; however, this allowed us to narrow our scope and understand quickly where we can make a difference.

Cancer Messed With…

Cancer Messed With… is an apparel brand which donates a portion of every purchase to pediatric cancer research through The Isabella Santos Foundation — a 501C3 charity that supports leading childhood cancer research programs. 

The DMEP team wanted to help Cancer Messed With… in their day-to-day operations and create resources for brand and site improvement. They aimed to increase brand awareness within targeted audiences to drive meaningful conversions. This was made possible through a website redesign, outreach strategy, and paid social services. 

Merrit Miller, Associate: I was interested in DMEP because I’ve only worked in Paid Search during my time at Red Ventures, and I wanted to gain exposure to the wide variety of roles that make up our company (you should have heard me try to explain Technical SEO before DMEP…).

My DMEP group worked with, an apparel company in which 50% of the proceeds benefit the Isabella Santos Foundation. We re-did their website, launched Paid Social advertising, and enabled the Marketing Director to launch an Outreach initiative. We also suggested CMW become more deeply integrated with ISF and designed a roadmap to do so. It was so rewarding to redesign a site that we were proud to drive incremental volume to. My team really expanded our knowledge in running new channels and working in the apparel industry — in which we have little experience at RV. I recommended DMEP and the capstone phase to anyone who has the opportunity to participate. I hope to see RV and CMW partner for many years to come!

The learning doesn’t stop here. There are lots of opportunities to further your professional skills at RV, like through our homegrown Data Science Accelerator.

About the Author:
Sarah Harris | Communications Strategist
Sarah Harris

Sarah joined the Red Ventures creative team in 2018 after graduating from North Carolina State University. (GO PACK!) When she isn't whipping up killer content for the Corporate Communications team, she can be found posting pictures of the many frogs that live around the Charlotte campus (there are like, a lot).

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