Clam Shell Offense Energizes Fundraising Auction Audiences

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4 Steps to Seat Your Auction Guests FAST to Raise More MONEY!

Want to make a lot of “clams” at your next auction fundraiser? Use my Clam Shell Offense! Let’s solve one of the most overlooked problems in fundraising auctions today: lack of audience movement!

OK seriously, one of the biggest obstacles to raising more money at your auction is the lack of responsiveness of your guests to SIT DOWN QUICKLY for your live auction, special appeal and program, right?

Why is this a problem? If you allow a turtle-paced transition from the end of the cocktail hour and silent auctions to seating your auction guests you delay the start of raising those precious Live Auction and Fund A Need dollars! Start with momentum and energy right away!

Try this creative and very effective Clam Shell Offense to rapidly move your audience from their conversations at the bar and silent auction tables to happily seated at their tables ready to bid high at your Live Auction and Fund a Need.

Use 4 simultaneous actions to perfect your “Clam Shell Offense.” What’s the best timing? Start all 4 steps at the exact moment your final silent auction closes. Remember: C.L.A.M. Clam Shell, Leadership, Auctioneer Announcements, and Momentum.

1. Clam Shell Closer: Position numerous volunteers all around the outside perimeter of your silent auction and cocktail reception room/s. At the exact minute your silent auction closes, instruct “clam shell volunteers” to smile, walk up to each group of guests and politely invite them to take their seats at this time. (You can use the same gracious one-liners as your auctioneer.)

Why a clam shell? Just imagine a wide open clam shell closes as your volunteers walk deeper into the room inviting guests to take their seats. See how quickly you can close your “clam shell” and enjoy energetic movement of your guests into the next phase of fundraising to get those bid cards waving!

2. Leadership: Follow your leaders, instruct key leaders; board members, sponsors, volunteers, chairs and committee members to SIT DOWN FIRST IMMEDIATELY. Let them know that when they the silent auction is now closed, they should promptly go to their tables and to please be seated. When your other guests realize that ALL of your leadership is already in the ballroom for the program, meal and live auction, the rest of the guests will follow.

3. Auctioneer Announcements: Leverage the energy and voice of your auctioneer. Ask her or him to make gracious announcements to invite everyone into the next room and to be seated now. Make sure you have an excellent sound system in your silent auction and cocktail reception areas for this to work. Your auctioneer can facilitate guest movement by being visibly present in the cocktail and silent auction area on the microphone. (Create a gracious one-liners such as: Dinner is now served, kindly step into the ballroom. Our exciting program and fundraising auction is just about to start, thanks for being seated now. The bar is now open in the ballroom etc.)

4. Momentum: Close bars, silent auction & food stations: Instruct the bar tenders, banquet staff to cease serving in the Silent Auction Area. There is literally nothing to do other than to move into place for the Live Auction and Program. Immediately open the bars in the main room and open the room to a pre-set first course.

Raise more money! When you expect to create energy and movement from the beginning of your auction you will create a crescendo of energy to propel you to your biggest fundraising streams the Live Auction and Fund a Need Special Appeal. Your Clamshell Offense Strategy. Just remember CLAM: Clamshell, Leadership, Auctioneer Announcements and Momentum! Your Result? Maximize Your Fundraising!

What’s your experience? What methods work for you. I’d love to hear your ideas and comments. Please respond on my blog or email me at

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