TM0301_Market Focus, Judaica (1,517 words)
Cohen takes a direct approach when looking for good fund-raiser lists. "I look for, number one, that the people are actually Jewish and, second, that they've given to a Jewish cause or Jewish publication or purchased Jewish things. Then I get to the more general things like recency." But, she says, with such small lists, recency isn't always available.
Thanks to modern technology, however, other larger lists can be overlaid with ethnic and religious data. TJ Lindsay, director of ethnic research at Ethnic Technologies, works to determine ethnicity and religion based on onomastic variables of the first and last name, plus geographic information.
"Chances are," says Lindsay, "that if a particular Kaufmann is living in Boro Park Brooklyn, he's Jewish. If that same name was found in Wisconsin, there's a better chance that he's a Lutheran. It's a predictive system."
Through this kind of technology, ethnic data can be overlaid on huge subscription and donor files to find Jews. It's not a perfect system, however.
For starters, religious and ethnic information cannot be identified using Census data. "The Census Bureau can't ask for that kind of information," says Collins of Focus USA.
What's more, Jews are dispersed throughout the world, and as such they can be of many different ethnicities. While a process that looks at both first name, last name and geographic variables like that at Ethnic Technologies will be more accurate than simply assigning ethnicity by surname, there's still room for error.
Barbara Sims, a broker at Fairfax, VA-based Carol Enters List Co., says these kinds of lists are "about 70 percent as effective. Of course, a donor list that's overlaid is going to be better than a subscription list."
Sims explains that many overlay lists end up being quite expensive, "but it's a finite market," she says. "Once you've hit a large portion of that population through existing lists, there has to be new venues to try."