Department of Nutrition

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The Grant Game: Introduction

If you are going to be successful in writing grants to fund community based projects, you must first establish credibility with the prospective funding agency or foundation.  The Project Proposal’s Introduction is the most crucial section, because it is here that you establish your Credibility.

Credibility in the Project Proposal is concerned with your organization’s characteristics and successes.  The first step in successful grant writing is establishing credibility.

In project proposals, document your organization’s characteristics and strengths. Use quantitative data and graphs to demonstrate your successes, and letters of support to demonstrate professional and interagency relationships.
Remember, when writing a project proposal, you must establish credibility, so that the funding agency recognizes your agency’s ability to deliver what is proposed!

Matching Strengths to Interests

Part of the grant game is identifying prospective agencies or foundations that may be interested in funding your project. In this section you will learn a 3-step process to determine whether a funding source is likely to be interested in your project, and how to tie your agency’s strengths to the funding source’s interests.

The key to writing a good Project Proposal is tying your strengths to the funding source’s interests.  How do you do this? You do it in Three Steps:

  • Step 1:  List the strengths of your organization.
  • Step 2:  List the funding interests of the agency or foundation to which you are applying.
  • Step 3:  Match your organization’s strengths to the interests of the funding source.

The following is an example of matching strengths and interests.

Step 1: List Organization’s Strengths


  • A task force of regional program specialists has been active for one year and meets quarterly to share information and resources.
  • You have an affiliation with a University program to provide continuing education, consultation and training.
  • An award winning program implemented last year to provide program- specific education to selected schools in the region.
  • All full time program specialists have advanced degrees in the field and relevant licensure and certification.

Step 2: List Agency’s or Foundation’s interests.

(In this example we are looking at four different foundations.)

Foundation 1:  Broccoli Foundation

  • Works only with programs that serve the elderly
  • Works only with programs having qualified program specialists

Foundation 2:  Institute for Special Program Policies

  • Funds research into development of national or state special program policies
  • Gives only to major research universities

Foundation 3:  ACME Foundation

  • Interested in program-specific education for children
  • Supports programs for inner cities
  • Will not provide operating funds, but likes to start new projects

Foundation 4:  Summer Foundation

  • Gives only in Mississippi

Step 3: Match your Organization’s Strengths to the Interests of the Funding Source.

You have a decision to make, so go back to Steps 1 and 2, and compare your list of Strengths (Step 1) with your list of Interests (Step 2).



The introduction of a proposal is the most important part of your proposal.
The introduction is where credibility is established.
In project proposals you state what your organization does BEST.

Another step in successful grant writing is identifying prospective funding agencies and submitting project proposals of interest to them. Agencies are only interested in funding projects that meet their funding priority areas.

Congratulations! You have just completed the Grant Game’s guide to the Introduction section of a project proposal.


This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number T79MC09805, Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Health Nutrition, $223,929, 50% funded by the University of Tennessee, Department of Nutrition. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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