Revised: June 3, 1997

I. Background

Memberships in associations, societies, organizations, etc., are often essential for effective performance of University of Wisconsin academic and administrative affairs. It is necessary to delineate those circumstances where purchase of a membership is considered appropriate.

II. Constraints

The State of Wisconsin Department of Administration Preaudit Policy Reference Guide prohibits the purchase of memberships from funds administered by the State if the primary beneficiary of the expenditure is the individual.

III. Policy

  1. When membership is deemed essential, an institutional or organizational membership should be the first option considered.
    Because not all societies, associations, etc., offer institutional or organizational memberships, individual memberships may be purchased under the following circumstances:

    • No institutional or organizational membership is available, or 
    • The cost of the individual membership is considerably less than an organizational or institutional membership, and there is a clear advantage to the University in obtaining the individual membership. Advantages should include the following:
      1. Reductions in fees for conferences and seminars which departmental personnel normally attend, and/or 
      2. Receipt of publications, newsletters or other mailings that are an important part of departmental operations, particularly those that would ordinarily be ordered at additional cost to the University.

    There may be instances where it would be appropriate for an institution, college or department to have more than one membership in the same organization. If an exception is made, proper justification should be provided by the Dean or Director of the college or division or other appropriate administrator.

  2. A University business address should be listed for all memberships.

IV. Compliance

The individual or entity purchasing the membership should be prepared to justify to any internal or external source, including the press, the necessity of obtaining a membership.