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Alabama school’s hilarious ‘opt out’ fundraising letter goes viral, gets points for honesty

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An Alabama high school is getting high marks and gratitude from parents for its creative approach to the inevitable fundraising efforts in the upcoming school year.

Auburn High School’s letter to parents about student fundraising this year went viral thanks to a mother of two who called the note a “breath of fresh air.”

Image: Facebook/Briana Leggett Woods

“My very first thought was, ‘Someone finally gets it. Sign me up!’ I was ecstatic to see this idea presented in such a humorous way,” Briana Leggett Woods wrote on the blogging site Love What Matters.

Woods was referring to a form that was part of the pile of orientation papers she brought home from her 16-year-old daughter’s  “Back to School Night.”

“Don’t want to sell anything, bake anything, buy anything or generally avoid fundraising of any kind? We feel the same way!!” the “opt out” fundraiser note read, giving parents the option to make a direct donation to the school and avoid the typical fundraising stress of participating in bake sales, selling products or spending hours making cold calls.

“Whether you are a stay at home parent or work full time outside the home, life is full. The days are full. And I don’t want to spend any of my precious spare moments selling candles or tubs of cookie dough to people who don’t really want to buy that stuff anyway,” Woods, who juggles part-time work as a nurse while being a mother to an eighth-grader and high school sophomore, explained. “I want 100% of my efforts to go directly to my kids’ schools.”

“I ‘worked’ harder as a stay at home mom than I ever have in a 12-hr. shift at the hospital. There were several times the fundraising envelopes went directly into the trash and we wrote out a donation for the school instead,” she added.

The post racked up over 3,000 shares from the site after Woods shared it earlier this month and then went viral after she posted about it on Facebook where it has been shared more than 35,000 times, garnering positive attention for Auburn High School and the Parent Teacher Organization president, Emmy Sorrells who drafted the letter.

“[I] was looking for a way to do a no-pressure, totally tongue-in-cheek and humorous way to get more financial involvement” in the organization, she told the Opelika Auburn News.

“It’s amazing, the power of social media,” Sorrells said. “So now I am just hoping that it equates to lots of donations, so that we can have the best PTO budget we’ve ever seen! I think a lot of schools will be using this option in the future, and for that, I’m so glad it’s out there.”

“All schools need one of these,” one Facebook user commented.

“I would pay the $50 and feel like I got away cheap,” another agreed.

Some did point out the grammatical errors in the letter, slamming it as “a bad reflection on the school, the district, and the teachers.” Sorells kept her sense of humor and responded to the criticism on Facebook.

Image: Facebook/Briana Leggett Woods

But many agreed that the PTO’s approach to dreaded fundraising was a clever solution, and Woods was thankful for the option.

“I’m not one to post a ton of things on social media but this most definitely made the cut,” she wrote.

Frieda Powers


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