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United Service Organizations Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Military & Veterans Organizations, Mutual & Membership Benefit, Veterans

Mission: The "mission statement" of the organization as adopted by board is as follows: "the uso lifts the spirits of america's troops and their families. "

Programs: Center operations - see schedule o.

entertainment tours - see schedule o.

warrior and family programming - see schedule o.

Community Stories

41 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 3

I've contributed money to the USO as I've a number of friends serving overseas. The comments from friends serving overseas are universally positive.
I'm looking at four requests for additional money and all of them have stamps applied or offer me stuff. I wish they would stop wasting money.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 1

Got into an argument with another service member due to his homophobia. He woke me up after 24 hours in the Airport and had me as his captive audience. USO volunteer said I was the problem he was expressing his religious beliefs. This is unacceptable, I was asked to leave until another person came to my defense. The member then began swearing and confronting people and stormed out, It was a strange experience I will not forget the USOs stance on homosexuality.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I am presently in the USO facility at the IAH Airport in Houston, TX in the D terminal. When I first entered the facility with my service dog, I was asked the question "has your dog relieved itself?" WHY??? Not even a friendly hello. This is the first time (and unfortunately the question was again asked by the manager of this location after I assumed shift changes--"does your dog need to relieve itself?") [Both parties apologized for the stress/anxiety they caused me.] It is my understanding from the first person that several people in this facility ask the same question to every guest with a canine. Is this unique to this location?
Now, I identified my dog as a service dog and I am disabled. She was wearing a vest and was working for me when I entered the premises. This question is not only unnecessary but totally without merit and a verbal attack of sorts to the handler for no reason. Please know the rules about what to do if the person ASKS for help with their dog but please do not volunteer unnecessary questions about if my service dog needs to relieve itself, such to suggest, don't come in if your dog has not gone potty. Really?
DON'T CREATE A PROBLEM THAT DOES NOT EXIST.
The explanation I was given was that people have brought in dogs which have pee'd on the carpet. Not my problem. This should be an issue that should be taken up with the problem party, not me. Remove the dog that created the problem, charge the handler, but please don't make me stressed, anxious for no reason. FYI, my service dog uses pee pads, but why should you even have to know that!
My experience at the USO is generally favorable. But this is the only time I have ever experienced anything like this, and twice nonetheless. I don't know if this falls within ADA complaint issue, but what I do know is that the USO needs to take this under review.
Please educate your staff/management/volunteers about service dogs and the difference to pets. But please, don't create my travelling experience with my service dog an issue you need to address to me because of bad experiences with other people's dogs. And if this location allows dogs to run all around, then really this is a training issue....that is a training issue to have your staff/mgt know they should remove the parties who created the problem.
My service dog at all times was quiet and did what she was supposed to do. I should not have been faced with this awful questioning upon entering the USO.
I appreciate the USO but hope never again to experience this line of questioning.
Usually I would give USO 5 stars, but 2 strikes, only one star for my experience.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I wish the USO was an organization I could believe in. Had I known that the CEO made $400,000, I would have never started volunteering. No wonder they rely on volunteers for everything.

In the future I will be careful of the word Non-Profit. The only one not making a profit is the volunteer.

31

Donor

Rating: 2

I donated to this organization, but 3 weeks later was sent a post-paid envelope and letter asking for more. Today, I received another. How much of my donation goes to asking me for more? BAD PRACTICE, USO. (I'm a vet, too.)

41

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I just received my first letter asking for a donation from the USO so, as I usually do, I checked out their credentials and record online before donating. I DO like to support our troops, but will not be donating because of all the negative remarks about them selling their donor lists and people being bombarded with begging letters. This is not the way to respect your donors. Time to change your ways!

47

Donor

Rating: 1


I am on small pension so try to choose my charitble giving very carefully. I HATE organiztions that dun me for more once they get my name ..
USO IS NOW ONE OF THOSE..
I mistakenly gave a small donation last spring to USO. They have since sent me 14 more requests for more money.. I think 12 of those had prestamped envelopes. (those are on my desk when I get enuff I'll send them back as a donation).. I WILL DO MORE GOOD by donating locally to friendship house .(which includes about 40% homeless veterans) A plus htere is they only run one drive a year staffed by volunteers.
USO hires a pr0fessional fund raising organization that takes a huge percentage of the donations..As of 2013 ,Charity Navigator report on USO show that the org. spent
23.1% on fund raising for a
0.23 efficiency rating.
So for a donation
$10.00 they spent $2.30 to get less than 3 cents back($0.023) the rest is eaten up by the fundraiser..

I can walk down the street and do more good for homeless veterans by handing out $10.00.
BTW I'm a veteran.
After a year in continuos combat I did get to see a USO show 40 miles back of combat zone - on my way home. I was almost not allowed to go because didn't have clean bdu. At the last minute someone found clean bdu for me.

37

Donor

Rating: 2

My experience is the same as most of these other negative comments. I make a contribution to help the troops and then they spend 10x as much on constantly mailing me additional requests for money, plus 100 other charities are now doing it on top of everything.

Once I looked them up and saw what the leaders are getting compensated it kind of just made me sick. I know it is small as a % of assets, but it just tells me they are in the job for the money, not the cause. I'll find a smaller charity that supports our troops and needs me more without the abuse.

It feels so incredibly ungrateful to get asked to give more money so soon after making a contribution and so frequently thereafter.

35

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

I'm an active dutie service member. I was flying through Charlotte, NC airport and went to the USO to drop my bags off to go grab a meal to eat. When I returened to retrieve my bags with all my belongings and to sit and rest for a few hours because my flight had been delayed, at 2002 in the evening, the USO had locked the doors and turned out all the lights... Every USO I've ever been to has been open 24 hours. Within 18 minutes 4 more services member had walked up and were also turned away because of the lack or professionalism. I'm glad they got to go home to their family's that night and have a good nights rest and be in company with loved once.. Thanks a lot USO North Carolina for supporting your troops only when it's convenient.

5 Robert115

Donor

Rating: 5

The USO is THE best organization to help our Military men and women in countless ways while they serve our country at home and abroad. During the Holidays, the USO offers very special support to our troops serving so far from home. Please join me in supporting this team of special people who are dedicated to helping our troops in so many ways worldwide.

Review from Guidestar

22

Donor

Rating: 1

I believe in taking care of our soldiers. I wish OBAMA would keep his word and bring them all home, so no more of our kids are killed, disabled. Once you donate monthly; they must sell your name, because you instantly start receiving requests for money. Up to 16 different directions were coming at me for donations. Once I made my monthly donation, within a week another request came in from USO. I finally stopped giving all together. The USO ruined my donating $250. monthly.

BUT PAYING SOMEONE $400, THOUSAND YEARLY, IS AWFUL AND DISGRACEFUL TO OUR Soldiers. SHAME ON YOU! !

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a Vietnam war veteran and I can tell you that the USO was there for me and my fellow Marines as we traveled to an fro and in the cities near our bases.
I am not concerned that the CEO's pay is $400,000. They are a large organization and his pay is in line with their income.
I have supported the men and women in the armed forces for over 40 years with contributions to the USO and will continue to do so.
It is the men and women that are in need of the USO services - this is what you need to keep in mind. Withholding a donation to punish the CEO only punishes our troops and that is short sighted.
Give to the extent you can and support those that protect us 24/7.
mtsarge

49

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I am a Volunteer that has worked in my local USO Center for the past eight months. I average approximatley 32 hours per month, and most of it is working from 8 pm to 4 am. I will be leaving the end of this year, and here's why.....

I recently was honored by being part of a select group of some 26 volunteers to honor and welcome Wounded Warriors. The new CEO, John Pray, was on that plane when it arrived. This new CEO walked off the plane and gave many of us the impression that he was a Wall Street Banker, "too good" to acknowledge the efforts of the Volunteers. He did not greet any of us, let alone introduce himself, and thank us for our Volunteer service.

Later, he told the Center Director, "You got a good group of people here." Lip service, and certainly, not a demonstration of leadship, or inspiration to those who give their time.

I not only agree that the CEO pay to run a charity with a "golden name and reputation" is out of line, but also the above market pay going to the rest of the staff that is arrogant and condescending is wrong.

I am resigning when my commitment is over this December, and will instead volunteer for a charity where the directors are paid a fair maket wage, and where I can see that my efforts and contributions go to benefit recipients as much as possible.

Also, please note they constantly hit up the USO Volunteers, many, seniors on a fixed income, for donations all the time.

Someone needs to audit this place, and return it to the goals of its founders.

24 Jesse7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Writing as a CPA familar with Not-for-Profit accounting I know how challenging it is for an organization to present a really good picture of its financial situation. From my experience, the USO is better than most.
1. Mr. Sloan's salary is not outrageous; this is what top notch people are paid and the USO deserves a top notch executive.
2. The fund raising the USO reports excludes over $230 million(see BBB report) in donated materials and services including volunteer time, free space at various locations including airports, food, drinks, etc. Solicitaion of volunteers and donated materials takes work and is part of the fund raising expenses. If you exclude this then yes, the percent for fund raising and administration is 27%. if you include it, it is only 6.7% so which is really the correct ansewer? Arguably either number is right depending on what question you are trying to answer.
As the father of a serviceman deployed overseas, I know he always speaks highly of what the USO provides to him when he visits. Comfort and a little piece of home. Since no other organization I know provides the same service, I give even if it means 6.7 or 27 cents of every dollar is not for programs. Could they be more efficient, sure, but review other charities. I stick by my initial observation, they are better than most.

Review from CharityNavigator

23

Donor

Rating: 2

Most of what I want to say repeats what other reviewers (like JlCasey123 2/26//13 and Susan Guenter 11/11/12) have already said. My latest mailing (probably the 3rd or 4th this year) says 90% of expenses are directed to support troops and their families; the remaining 10% to administration/fundraising. However, this is not true. Charity Navigator says 10.1% goes to administration while another 17.5% goes to fundraising. Finally, with net assets of 91 million, they are not exactly living from "paycheck to paycheck", or should I say "donation to donation".

When USO actually gets its program efficiency up to 90% (not the 72.4% they actually show) and are actually in need of my financial support, I will resume donating. Until then, I want to be taken off their mailing list

14

Donor

Rating: 2

I made a donation in honor of a friend who is a soldier. Within weeks, I was getting solicitations from at least 6 other charities. I will not donate to them again.

Review from CharityNavigator

12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

My active duty son has served 2 tours in Afghanistan and strongly encourages us to support the USO. He said they provide a great service to our GIs overseas as well as at airport locations in the U.S.

Review from CharityNavigator

13

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

People need to stop judging an organization based on the CEO's salary. This is a 120 million dollar organization that only spend 10.1% (based on this site) on admin fee's. I can say as a Soldiers who has been deployed USO is always there providing Moral and Welfare for Soldiers. While i was in Iraq and KWT, the USO was always packed with Soldiers who were either calling home on the free phone (which i used myself in KWT) or enjoying the activities there in order to relax and relieve stress.

Review from CharityNavigator

10

Donor

Rating: 1

I received a request for donation from USO. The info they sent me stated that their fundraising+admin expense was 10%.
But when I double checked on Charity Navigator it showed that the USO spends 28% on fundraising +admin.
A very big discrepancy!

Review from CharityNavigator

6 Vicki P.

Donor

Rating: 1

I have contributed to the USO in the past but will not do so this year. In 2012 I received over 14 separate mailings asking for more donations despite specifically requesting that contact be made 1 time per year. Also the CEO salary seems excessive for a charitable organization

Review from CharityNavigator