Request for Services - COVID-19 Diverse Media - December 2020 - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Request for Services for COVID-19 Diverse Media - December 2020

Review Process Update:

This Request for Services closed on December 28, 2020. MDH received more than 80 complete applications. The applications were reviewed by a committee of 22 reviewers, including representatives from Minnesota’s cultural councils, American Indian council and disability council, community leaders, and state 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 received. However, the $5.3 million requested by applicants greatly exceeded the $1.5 million available. MDH regretfully was unable to award funding to many worthy organizations serving Minnesota communities.

Applicants were notified via email of the review committee's decision about their application on January 20, 2021. A list of the 30 contractors selected for funding through this Request for Services is now publicly available: 2021 COVID-19 Diverse Media Contractors (PDF). For more information on COVID-19 funding opportunities, visit the COVID-19 Contracts for Diverse Media Messaging and Community Outreach page.

woman reading news on smartsmartphoneOn this page:
Request Overview
Funding Amounts
Sample Tasks
Response Requirements and Instructions
Proposal Review
Informational Webinar
Rights Reserved

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 vaccines, testing, and other important information to communities of color, American Indian communities, disability communities, and LGBTQ communities in Minnesota. Media services may include formats such as online and social media, radio, television, and print. Vendors are encouraged to use methods that are adaptable to quickly changing information.

Vendors’ primary audience(s) must include one or more of the following populations: African American, African immigrant, American Indian, Asian American, Latinx, LGBTQ, and disability communities in Minnesota. Vendors are encouraged to reach diverse communities within communities of color and American Indian communities (such as people of color and American Indians with disabilities and people of color and American Indians who are LGBTQ). 

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 geographic areas and reaches the communities in Minnesota listed above. The State will prioritize media entities that are owned by people of color, American Indians, people with disabilities, and/or LGBTQ individuals.

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  • Request for Services release: December 14, 2020
  • Proposal deadline: December 28, 2020 at 11:59 pm
  • Anticipated contract start date: early February 2021
  • Anticipated contract end date: July 31, 2021


The goal of this project is that all who reside in Minnesota and the 11 Tribal Nations that share its geography – including residents from communities of color, American Indian residents, LGBTQ residents, disability communities, 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 vaccines, testing, and other important information.


This Request for Services is intended for media vendors.

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Funding Amounts

This Request for Services is contingent on funding availability. The State expects to have $1,500,000 available for multiple media contracts through this process.

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 priority community and/or use less frequent communication methods (e.g., weekly or biweekly).

Awards of $50,000 to $150,000

Proposals between $50,000 and $150,000 may reach multiple communities and/or use multiple communication methods on a daily/frequent basis.

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Sample Tasks

  • Work with the State to finalize a communications plan for reaching target community with culturally relevant, accurate, and timely 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 messages and promotion within target community
    • Radio or television interviews with MDH staff, approved partners, or community experts
    • 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 (online, social media, radio, television, and/or print). 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 online, social media, radio, television, and/or print media.
  • Prepare brief monthly reports for the State that summarize the work performed, the number of messages adapted and disseminated, the estimated number reached for each, and the impact the work is having in the target community.
  • Provide the State with timely copies of or links to all messages created through this contract.

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Response Requirements and Submission Instructions

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

  • Responder name and contact information;
  • whether vendor is owned and operated by people of color, American Indians, individuals with disabilities, and/or LGBTQ individuals;
  • communities reached, media formats to be used, and frequency of media messages;
  • whether content will be created or adapted prior to dissemination;
  • a brief description of the vendor’s history, experience, and qualifications relevant to proposed plan;
  • the total cost of the proposed services; and
  • estimated number reached and estimated number of media messages per person.

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. Work plan and budget (Excel format preferred; please limit to no more than 5 pages). Vendors are strongly encouraged to use the State’s work plan/budget template (Excel). If a vendor uses a different format, please be sure to include:

  • Overview of media formats to be used;
  • Description of each activity;
  • Whether content will be created, adapted and/or disseminated;
  • 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;
  • Estimated audience reached per message; and
  • Estimated cost per deliverable. Please note that all necessary expenses (including staff time, administrative costs, etc.) should be factored into the estimated cost per deliverable.

2. One or two examples of previous work.

  • Please provide links to examples as much as possible instead of sending files.
  • If content is not available to link to online, please limit file size to 2 MB.
  • Do not send more than 2 examples of work.

If you do not receive an automated confirmation email within one hour of submitting your Proposal Submission Form (please check your junk/spam folder), you may email your supplemental materials (work plan and cost breakdown, plus examples of previous work) to Please indicate in your email that you submitted the online form but did not receive a confirmation email.

Please note that in addition to your Proposal Submission Form, all of your supplemental materials must be received by 11:59 pm on December 28, 2020.

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Proposal Review

Complete responses will be reviewed using a 100-point scale to assess the Responder’s ability to reach target communities with culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, accurate, and timely messages based on the following factors:

  • Alignment with State needs to reach all communities of color, American Indian communities, disability communities, and LGBTQ communities in Minnesota (20%);
  • Proposed plan (30%);
  • History, experience, and qualifications (30%);
  • Ownership/leadership and operation by people of color, American Indians, individuals with disabilities and/or LGBTQ individuals (10%); and
  • Cost (10%).

New partners and past contractors in the COVID-19 response are both encouraged to apply. If a responder has been a previous contractor, their past performance as a contractor will be considered.

Responders will be scored using the scoring criteria in the Diverse Media Score Sheet (PDF). The review committee that will review and score proposals will be made up of community members, partners, and State staff who reflect the communities served by this Request for Services.

The review committee will review all complete responses (which include both the Proposal Submission Form and the supplemental materials) submitted on or before December 28, 2020 by 11:59 pm. After this deadline, if the State concludes it lacks proposals reaching one of its priority communities, the submission process may 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.

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Please note that the question and answer period has ended. Final questions and answers have been posted on the COVID-19 Diverse Media Request for Services FAQ page to ensure all applicants have access to the same information prior to the proposal submission deadline.

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Informational Webinar

The State offered an informational webinar for prospective Responders on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 from 1-2 pm.

Diverse Media Informational Webinar Slides (PDF)

In this webinar, State staff provided an overview of the goals, requirements, and process of the Request for Services and answered questions. Please note that staff are not able to help with the drafting of proposals or provide feedback on proposals.

A recording of the webinar is posted above. Questions asked during the webinar have been posted on the COVID-19 Diverse Media Request for Services FAQ page.

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Attachments to this Request for Services

Responders should review the standard State P/T Contract template. This document sets forth the State’s standard terms, insurance requirements, and procurement laws or requirements which may apply in the event a Response results in a contract with the State.

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.

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Back to COVID-19 Contracts for Diverse Media Messaging and Community Outreach page

Updated Monday, 27-Jun-2022 15:25:41 CDT