The Clever Way One High School Is Letting Parents “Opt Out” of Fundraising for the Year

Image Source: Briana Leggett Woods

The beginning of the school year usually means lots of paperwork for parents and dreaded sign-up sheets from the PTO or PTA — but the truth is, many moms and dads would be willing to pay big bucks to avoid the bake sales, volunteering, and fundraising all together. Well, at one high school in Auburn, Alabama, that is now an option!

Mom Briana Leggett Woods recently posted a picture of a letter she received from Auburn High School that offered an “Opt Out” fundraiser.

“Don’t want to sell anything, bake anything, buy anything, or generally avoid fundraising of ANY kind?” it asks. The letter then offers a new option — to opt out by making a direct donation, 100 percent of which will benefit the high school. The school also provides a few different options for donating … and this is where it gets really good.

Option one is for someone who loves the school and is happy to help with a $15 donation, but is also willing to provide an email address for future contact.

Option two says:

“We are so busy (or lazy) and wouldn’t have responded to any phone calls, emails or sign up genius lists all year, please enjoy my $25 donation.”

Spot on! Something tells me this may have happened just a few times in the past.

The last option is as hilarious as it is brilliant. It reads:

“Here’s $50 or MORE to forget my name and my face and not ask me for anything else all year except to complete this form!”

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Woods tells Babble that although she wants to help out her kid’s school, fundraising is a struggle for her.

“I have always been willing to volunteer my time, send in items for school events/parties, but have never liked to do any type of sales/fundraising, especially when all of the kids are selling the same items to everyone else in the community,” she explains.

I completely get where she’s coming from. Some of us would go to great lengths to avoid having to hassle other people and would much rather just pay the money ourselves.

“As a busy working mom who wants to support my kids’ schools, this is the best and easiest way to do it,” Woods adds.

The thing is, we all have different strengths and abilities when it comes to parental involvement in schools — and many schools are beginning to embrace this.

My son started second grade recently and brought home a sign-up sheet for parent volunteering. It had the usual options to help out during class and field trips but included another option that made much more sense for parents like me. It read: “I am not able to volunteer at the school but please send home work for me that I will have my child return.” This was perfect for me, as I work from home and also have a toddler who is with me full-time. With this added option, I was still able to volunteer by signing up to edit students’ stories and help with other paperwork from home — without having to take time off of work or find childcare.

Fundraising tends to be an extroverted activity, and that’s not ideal for all parents. Woods says that she would rather donate on her own.

“I’m just not a ‘peopley’ person and I hate the idea of people feeling obligated to buy tins of cookie dough or candles or fleece blankets,” she says.

As an introvert myself, I couldn’t agree more. Just let me pay the money and not have to talk to all the people. Thanks.

We all want to help out schools and support teachers. The “Opt Out” fundraiser allows for parents to accomplish this in a way that cuts out the middle man, while still providing a donation. Sounds like a win-win to me.

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