Request for Proposals - COVID-19 Diverse Media - October 2021 - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Request for Proposals for COVID-19 Diverse Media - October 2021

Review Process Update:

This Request for Proposals closed on October 28, 2021. MDH received more than 70 complete applications. The applications were reviewed by a committee of 23 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 Proposals.

MDH and the review committee were sincerely impressed with the quality of proposals received. However, the $6.6 million requested by applicants greatly exceeded the $1.25 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 November 23, 2021. A list of the 28 contractors selected for funding through this Request for Services is now publicly available: Current 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.

kid showing thumbs up while getting a vaccineOn this page:
Request Overview
Funding Amounts
Sample Tasks
Response Requirements and Instructions
Proposal Review
Informational Webinar
Rights Reserved
RFP Terms and Conditions

Request Overview

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 to communities of color, American Indian communities, disability communities, and LGBTQ communities in Minnesota. This may include, but is not limited to, addressing ongoing vaccine hesitancy, booster doses, and vaccines for youth including ages 12 and younger. 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, LGBTQ individuals, and/or individuals with disabilities.

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  • Request for Proposals release: October 7, 2021
  • Proposal deadline: October 28, 2021 at 11:59 pm
  • Anticipated contract start date: January 1, 2022
  • Anticipated contract end date: December 31, 2022


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.


This Request for Proposals is intended for media vendors.

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Funding Amounts

The State expects to have $1,200,000 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 $100,000

Proposals between $50,000 and $100,000 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 vaccination information (including addressing ongoing vaccine hesitancy, booster doses, and vaccines for youth including ages 12 and younger) 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
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 public health messaging and vaccine information from the State, which may include listening to State media briefings, receiving weekly emails from the State with timely messaging to amplify within target communities, and participating in at least monthly virtual meetings with the State and other media contractors.
  • 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. 1-2 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 email your supplemental materials (work plan/budget and 1-2 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 October 28, 2020. Responses received after the deadline will not be considered, even if errors or delays were caused by issues outside of the Responder’s control.

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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 (10%);
  • 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 (20%).

New partners and past contractors in the COVID 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 RFP.

The review committee will review complete responses (which include both the Proposal Submission Form and the supplemental materials) submitted on or before October 28, 2021by 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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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 2 business days. The State will post the questions and answers received on the COVID-19 Diverse Media Request for Proposals FAQ page. Questions must be submitted no later than 5 pm on October 25, 2021. The State will post final answers to questions no later than 5 pm on October 26, 2021.

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Informational Webinar

The State offered an informational webinar for prospective Responders on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 from 10-11 am.

Diverse Media Informational Webinar Slides (PDF)

In this webinar, State staff provided an overview of the goals, requirements and process of the Request for Proposals 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 Proposals FAQ page.

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Attachments to this Request for Proposals

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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RFP Terms and Conditions

  1. Competition in Responding
  2. The State desires open and fair competition. Questions from responders regarding any of the requirements of the Solicitation must be submitted in writing to the Solicitation Administrator listed in the Solicitation before the due date and time. If changes are made the State will issue an addendum.
    Any evidence of collusion among responders in any form designed to defeat competitive responses will be reported to the Minnesota Attorney General for investigation and appropriate action.

  3. Addenda to the Solicitation
  4. Changes to the Solicitation will be made by addendum with notification and posted in the same manner as the original Solicitation. Any addenda issued will become part of the Solicitation.

  5. Data Security - Foreign Outsourcing of Work is Prohibited
  6. All storage and processing of information shall be performed within the borders of the United States. This provision also applies to work performed by subcontractors at all levels.

  7. Joint Ventures
  8. The State allows joint ventures among groups of responders when responding to the solicitation. However, one responder must submit a response on behalf of all the others in the group. The responder that submits the response will be considered legally responsible for the response (and the contract, if awarded).

  9. Withdrawing Response
  10. A responder may withdraw its response prior to the due date and time of the Solicitation. For solicitations in the SWIFT Supplier Portal, a responder may withdraw its response from the SWIFT Supplier Portal. For solicitations done any other way, a responder may withdraw its response by notifying the Solicitation Administrator in writing of the desire to withdraw.

    After the due date and time of this Solicitation, a responder may withdraw a response only upon showing that an obvious error exists in the response. The showing and request for withdrawal must be made in writing to Solicitation Administrator within a reasonable time and prior to the State’s detrimental reliance on the response.

  11. Rights Reserved
  12. The State reserves the right to:

    • Reject any and all responses received;
    • Waive or modify any informalities, irregularities, or inconsistencies in the responses received;
    • Negotiate with the highest scoring Responder[s];
    • Terminate negotiations and select the next response providing the best value for the State;
    • Consider documented past performance resulting from a State contract may be considered in the evaluation process;
    • Short list the highest scoring Responders;
    • Require Responders to conduct presentations, demonstrations, or submit samples;
    • Interview key personnel or references;
    • Request a best and final offer from one or more Responders;
    • The State reserves the right to request additional information; and
    • The State reserves the right to use estimated usage or scenarios for the purpose of conducting pricing evaluations. The State reserves the right to modify scenarios, and to request or add additional scenarios for the evaluation.
  13. Samples and Demonstrations
  14. Upon request, Responders are to provide samples to the State at no charge. Except for those destroyed or mutilated in testing, the State will return samples if requested and at the Responder’s expense. All costs to conduct and associated with a demonstration will be the sole responsibility of the Responder.

  15. Responses are Nonpublic during Evaluation Process
  16. All materials submitted in response to this Solicitation will become property of the State. During the evaluation process, all information concerning the responses submitted will remain private or nonpublic and will not be disclosed to anyone whose official duties do not require such knowledge. Responses are private or nonpublic data until the completion of the evaluation process as defined by Minn. Stat. § 13.591. The completion of the evaluation process is defined as the State having completed negotiating a contract with the selected responder. The State will notify all responders in writing of the evaluation results.

  17. Trade Secret Information
  18. Responders must not submit as part of their response trade secret material, as defined by Minn. Stat. § 13.37.

    In the event trade secret data are submitted, Responder must defend any action seeking release of data it believes to be trade secret, and indemnify and hold harmless the State, its agents and employees, from any judgments awarded against the State in favor of the party requesting the data, and any and all costs connected with that defense.

    The State does not consider cost or prices to be trade secret material, as defined by Minn. Stat. § 13.37.

    A responder may present and discuss trade secret information during an interview or demonstration with the State, if applicable.

  19. Conditions of Offer
  20. Unless otherwise approved in writing by the State, Responder’s cost proposal and all terms offered in its response that pertain to the completion of professional and technical services and general services will remain firm for 180 days, until they are accepted or rejected by the State, or they are changed by further negotiations with the State prior to contract execution.

  21. Award
  22. Any award that may result from this solicitation will be based upon the total accumulated points as established in the solicitation. The State reserves the right to award this solicitation to a single Responder, or to multiple Responders, whichever is in the best interest of the State, providing each Responder is in compliance with all terms and conditions of the solicitation. The State reserves the right to accept all or part of an offer, to reject all offers, to cancel the solicitation, or to re-issue the solicitation, whichever is in the best interest of the State.

  23. Requirements Prior to Contract Execution
  24. Prior to contract execution, a responder receiving a contract award must comply with any submittal requests. A submittal request may include, but is not limited to, a Certificate of Insurance.

  25. MMB Policy #1446: COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination and Testing to Vendors and Contractors
  26. Selected organizations who enter into a contract with the State will be subject to MMB Policy #1446. This policy was adopted for the purpose of responding to the safety threat the COVID-19 virus poses when unvaccinated staff members interact in-person in the workplace with Minnesotans receiving State services.

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Updated Monday, 07-Mar-2022 08:33:25 CST