Charlotte Pride focus groups lend new ideas, suggestions for outreach

PrideLogoFinalYou came. You shared. We listened.

On everything from porta-johns and festival layout to feedback on community outreach and diversity, nearly three dozen community members came together Dec. 3-6 to tell Charlotte Pride board members how the organization can improve, give back, and engage with the community.

“Our very first community focus groups were a resounding success,” said Craig Hopkins, co-director of Charlotte Pride. “Some of the ideas reinforced efforts we’re taking to build on our programming and outreach activities. Other ideas and constructive critiques challenged us to think deep. We’re grateful for the open and honest feedback we’ve received.”

Nearly 150 community members were invited to attend the series of four listening sessions, designed to allow Charlotte Pride board members to gain valuable insight into thoughts on community needs and perspectives, including feedback on Charlotte Pride’s mission, vision, and growth strategy. (If you couldn’t make the sessions, future focus groups may be planned. If you’re interested in attending any future focus groups, email

The listening sessions were announced in November, coinciding with the announcement of Charlotte Pride’s new mission, vision and values statements and the adoption of a transitional structure that will guide the organization as it develops a governing board, sustainable growth strategies, and hires an executive director.

Several themes developed over the course of the community conversation with the board, including:

  • A need to better engage with elders and youth in the LGBTQ community, including year-round outreach and engagement efforts as well as attractions at the annual festival and parade.
  • Opportunities to increase engagement with and participation of the local transgender, African-American and Latin@ community, including in organizing, board and other leadership roles.
  • A desire to include more dynamic faith community outreach throughout the year, building on successes of participation at the annual event and during the annual Interfaith Service.
  • Feedback on perceptions of Charlotte Pride as “just a festival,” with suggestions for better communicating the new mission, vision and values, as well as better communication on the organization’s regular activities and community work.
  • Opportunities to strengthen, support, collaborate with and highlight smaller non-profit organizations and communities.

Community members also shared several pieces of logistical feedback, including suggestions on better communicating festival layout and parade route and the need for more porta-johns and other necessities during the annual event.

Additionally, community members offered several pieces of positive feedback, particularly on Charlotte Pride’s commitment to diversity and inclusion outreach, community transparency and responsible financial stewardship. Participants at the focus groups also engaged in conversation on Charlotte Pride’s past activities and future growth goals, as well as the organization’s current financial status. Charlotte Pride has always proudly made our annual 990s, annual report and audited financial statements available to community members via our website. You can view those documents here.

Charlotte Pride has recently announced openings for board positions and an application process for hiring an executive director. We’ve also recently refreshed our website to better tell the story of our work in the community, including our year-round educational and outreach collaborative projects and programs.

Upcoming programs and activities of the organization or supported by the organization include the GayCharlotte Film Festival (April 21-24, 2016), new meetings of the Trans* Pride and Latin@ Pride initiatives and the annual festival and parade, Aug. 20-21, 2016. Those interested in volunteering for organizing and planning roles with the organization are invited to attend one of two volunteer meetings on Jan. 28 and Jan. 31. Click here for full slate of event listings.