People often ask me, how and why I chose this as my life’s work?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to work with social change organizations and do something that made a difference. My first opportunity came in 1996, when I was offered a public relations internship with an organization in San Francisco called State of the World Forum. About 500 global human rights leaders came together to talk about social change.
In 2001, I completed my Masters degree in International Policy Studies and my master's thesis on human trafficking was published. As a graduate student, I worked with national organizations in California that served children and individuals with disabilities. Shortly after, I accepted a Development Director position for an organization in Texas that had some unique programs, including refugee case management, HIV early intervention, and a shelter for refugee survivors of domestic violence. With guidance from the Deputy Director, I wrote my first government grant proposal, to the Department. of Justice, which won funding for the first program in Texas to serve victims of human trafficking.
A few years later, I moved to New York City and worked for two international women's rights organizations. There, I won funding from grant-makers in New York, London and Nairobi for programs that advocated for issues including women's rights in Iraq and anti-female genital mutilation in Africa. I also obtained funding for the New York Anti-Trafficking Task Force, whose work led to the passage of an anti-trafficking law in New York State in 2007. The real challenge came in 2008 when I began raising funds for Mary's Center, a model community health center (FQHC) in Washington, D.C. that serves more than 10,000 uninsured individuals each year. In 2009, I led a team of 3 writers to raise $7.2 million in grants and government contracts; this was in a year when many nonprofits were losing significant funding sources or closing their doors. In early 2010, I moved to Colorado and started Amanda Johnston Consulting. Since then, I've raised over $1,500,000 in grant funding for organizations in the Boulder/Denver area, bringing my total professional career amount to $11.5 million.
My ability to help nonprofits get the funding they need comes from a deep love for what I do and a thorough understanding of what government agencies, foundations and other major donors want to see from strategic plans, projected outcomes and budgets. I understand the importance of building relationships and establishing credibility and I have a big respect for deadlines. My skills are highly technical and I can help develop programs, strengthen evaluation plans, and communicate program impact, in a way that motivates donors. I get truly involved in the mission of each client I work with and enjoy helping them grow. I understand that the nonprofit landscape is changing; that donors want to see stronger partnerships, better outcomes, and tighter finances. If your organization is ready to move in the direction of greater sustainability, I will help you get there.