Request for Services - COVID-19 Diverse Media - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Request for Services for COVID-19 Diverse Media Messaging - April 2020

Review Process Summary:

This Request for Services closed on April 27. MDH received nearly 170 complete applications. The applications were reviewed by a committee of 18 reviewers, including representatives from Minnesota’s cultural and ethnic councils, community leaders, and MDH staff. Proposals were scored based on the criteria listed in the Request for Services.

MDH and the review committee were sincerely impressed with the quality of proposals. However, the nearly $15 million requested by applicants greatly exceeded the $670,000 available. MDH regretfully was unable to award funding to many worthy organizations serving Minnesota communities.

To view a list of those selected for funding through this Request for Services, visit Round 2 COVID-19 Contractors (PDF). For more information on COVID-19 funding opportunities, visit the COVID-19 Contracts for Diverse Media Messaging and Community Outreach page.

Request Overview

This request is issued under the State of Minnesota’s emergency procurement authority.

The Minnesota Department of Health (“State”) is issuing a request to vendors to propose a plan for media services to aid the State in getting culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, accurate, and timely messages related to COVID-19 to communities of color and American Indian communities in Minnesota. Media services may include formats such as online, radio, print, social media, and television. Vendors are encouraged to use methods that are adaptable to quickly changing information and explore alternative methods of communication that are effective while people maintain social distancing. The contractors’ primary audience(s) must include one or more of the following populations: African American, African immigrant, Latinx, Asian American, and American Indian Minnesotans.

The State will make final selections of contractors based on a competitive review of proposals while also ensuring that the final cohort of selected contractors covers a range of communication modalities and reaches the major racial/ethnic communities listed above in Minnesota. The State will prioritize minority-owned contractors.


  • Request for Services release: April 17, 2020
  • Proposal deadline: April 27, 2020
  • Anticipated contract start date: May 8, 2020
  • Anticipated contract end date: August 31, 2020


It is the goal of this project that all who reside in Minnesota and the 11 Tribal Nations that share its geography – including residents from communities of color, American Indian residents, and residents with limited English proficiency – have the opportunity to be fully informed with culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, accurate, and timely messages related to COVID-19.

Funding Amounts

The State has $670,000 available for multiple media contracts through this process. Given the funding available, the State seeks proposals in the categories below, dependent upon audience(s) reached, type of media, and depth and frequency of reach:

Awards less than $50,000

Proposals under $50,000 may reach a single cultural community and/or use less frequent communication methods (e.g. weekly or biweekly).

Awards of $50,000 to $250,000

Proposals between $50,000 and $250,000 may reach multiple communities and/or use multiple communication methods on a daily/frequent basis.

Sample Tasks

  • Work with the State to finalize a communications plan for reaching target community with culturally relevant, accurate, and timely messages COVID-19 information and public health messages. Plan may include activities such as, but not limited to:
    • Same-day turnaround for cultural adaption or translation of message and promotion within target community
    • Radio or television interviews with MDH staff or approved partners
    • Paid advertising or other social media messaging to targeted demographics
  • Participate in media briefings with the State to receive updated COVID-19 information and messages (frequency of briefings will depend on frequency of communication with audience and may range from daily to weekly).
  • Adapt timely messages from the State to target audience and communication modality (print, radio, television and/or online). Adaptation may involve graphic design, revising language and/or images to be culturally relevant, etc. If adaptation requires translation, contractor is responsible for translation. (The State will make existing translated materials available to the contractor.)
  • Work with State staff to get State approval of adapted messages as appropriate.
  • Disseminate adapted messages through print, radio, television and/or online media.
  • Prepare brief reports for the State that summarize the work performed, the number of messages adapted and disseminated, and the estimated number reached for each (frequency of reports will depend on frequency of communication with audience and may range from weekly to monthly).

Response Requirements and Submission

Step 1: Interested Responders should complete the Proposal Submission Form with the following information:

  • responder name and contact information;
  • whether vendor is minority-owned;
  • communities reached, media formats to be used, and frequency of media messages;
  • a brief description of the proposed plan for media services;
  • a brief description of the vendor’s history, experience, and qualifications relevant to proposed plan;
  • the total cost of the proposed services;
  • estimated number reached and estimated number of media messages per person; and

Step 2: After submitting the form, Responders will receive an automated confirmation email. Responders should reply to that email and attach the following supplemental materials:

  1. Detailed communications work plan (Word format preferred; please limit to no more than 5 pages)
    Please include the following:
    • Overview of media formats to be used;
    • Adaptation processes, if applicable;
    • Timeline for each activity, including estimated turnaround time for message adaptation, translation, and publishing/promotion;
    • Partners involved for each activity, if applicable;
    • Number of media messages per media format; and
    • Estimated audience reached per message.
  2. Breakdown of cost estimate (Excel format preferred)
    Please include the following:
    • Cost per media format and per message (e.g. per ad, post, spot, etc.);
    • Costs for adaptations, if applicable (e.g. staff time, subcontracts, etc.); and
    • Costs for media production, if applicable; and
    • Any other additional costs.
  3. 1-2 examples of previous work

Proposal Review

Complete responses will be reviewed, using a 100 point scale, based upon the following factors:

  • Alignment with State needs to reach all communities of color and American Indian communities in Minnesota (10%)
  • Proposed plan (30%);
  • History, experience and qualifications (10%);
  • Ownership/leadership and operations by racial minority (20%);
  • Cost (30%)

The State will review responses submitted on or before April 27, 2020 by 11:59 pm. After this deadline, if the State concludes it lacks proposals reaching one of its priority communities, the submission process will be reopened and submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis until funds are used.

Please do not contact the State to inquire about status of Response.


If you have a question about the form or the process, please email your question to and State staff will get back to you within 1 business day. The State will post the questions and answers received on the COVID-19 Diverse Media Request for Services FAQ page.

Please submit questions no later than 3 pm CST on Monday, April 27. Final questions and answers will be posted at 5 pm that day to ensure all applicants have access to the same information.

Rights Reserved

This Request for Services does not obligate the State to enter into any contract with any Responder.

Submission of a response by a Responder does not obligate the State to evaluate the response.

The State is not obligated to engage in follow-up conversations with a Responder.

Updated Monday, 08-Aug-2022 11:25:42 CDT