Nonprofit newsletters and association magazines are facing some computerized competitors: electronic mail and data-base networks.
Several Washington associations have installed computer systems that send legislative alerts at the touch of a button, take reservations for conferences at the push of a key and transmit surveys and newsletters, without need for stamps and mailboxes, to members across the country.
Such communications tools are naturals for associations, said James Ullyot, president of Data Exchange, a Minnesota company that has designed two association data-base packages. "Associations are information gatherers for their members, and the data-base system provides an efficient and time-saving way to exchange and provide information," Ullyot said.
Ullyot's company designed data-base systems for the American Association of Equipment Machine Lessors and the Computer Dealers and Lessors Association. The AAEML Lease-Net offers its members everything from an electronic bulletin board and yellow-page listings to copies of some of the latest surveys that the association has released.
"The most difficult problem we have had thus far is educating members that it is available," said Katy Tynberg, AAEML's communications manager. Tynberg said 125 of the group's 900 members are using the 1-year-old system. If all the members were aware of its benefits, she said she could do away with all of the group's existing publications and put them on computer.
The Greater Washington Society of Association Executives is planning to test its new GWSAE-net early next month.