Federal regulations allow the cost of the institution's membership in business, technical, and professional organizations as part of F&A, but do not mention individual memberships. Per GIM23, individual memberships are allowable only as an indirect cost. This is because professional memberships benefit the staff in all of their professional work; the cost cannot benefit just a single Award. Thus, the cost cannot be included on an Award budget. As the nature of a membership in one of these organizations provides a benefit to all the work and professional activities of the individual, it is difficult to allocate the cost of this benefit to a single Award. For this reason individual memberships are not allowable as a direct cost to an Award.
Institutional subscriptions may be allowable when directly related to the objectives of a sponsored Award. An example of an allowable direct charge of an institutional subscription would be where the objective is to compile data from articles into a database, or as reference material to support the Award. Per GIM 23, individual memberships and subscriptions are allowable only as an indirect cost. This is because professional memberships and subscriptions benefit the staff in all of their professional work; the cost cannot benefit just a single Award. Thus, the cost cannot be included on an Award budget.
As the benefit to this membership can be received by any number of Awards, the cost cannot be attributed to a single Award. The cost of membership should be billed to either department funds or a discretionary budget.