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United Service Organizations Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

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

Mission: The united service organizations, inc. ("uso") strengthens america's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.

Programs: Uso centers - see schedule o.

public awareness and outreach - see schedule o.

expeditionary and military family programs - see schedule o.

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 1

I almost never receive solicitations from political parties and charities. I donated to the USO earlier this year. Now my mailbox is flooded with additional USO requests and other charities. They sell your name!

1 Dale K.1

Donor

Rating: 3

I had no preconceptions about the USO but decided to respond to one of their online appeals with a donation. Now I am getting mail and emails several times a week! I hate this!! And now they want money for emergency workers, covid workers, and other non-military groups. What is going on??

Donor

Rating: 5

I guess my experience has been different than most others or the USO has changed their ways. I have donated to them and have never received anything in the mail asking for more. I do receive emails, but those are easy to delete.

As an organization, I think they are wonderful and they do such good things for the military and their families. I know this because we are one of those families. At my local center they are always holding events for families, they feed the service members lunch, and raffle off giveaways. They have a fun and inviting atmosphere.

The volunteers are always welcoming and are usually veteran's themselves so they understand the clientele.

This is a very reputable non-profit that cares about the people they serve.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love the USO organization. It has come in extremely handy in many situations where I or my Marines have found themselves stranded. As i sit here in Yum international I'm a little perplexed as to why the USO would not support the Military Comfort center that has been established by outside agencies. This training base sees thousands of service members on a daily basis because of what can be accomplished here. Please have someone look into it and get true stats to see if this is worth your Charity. Please don't let me down USO!

Review from Guidestar

2

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.

22

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.

34

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.)

43

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!

51

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.

39

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

23

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

51

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

15

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

11

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

7 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

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I have donated in the past and like the idea of the USO. But when learning that the CEO makes over $400,000 a year, sorry, I am not donating my money to pay him those wages.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 3

I donated on 8/30/2012 and was to receive a "spinal vet blanket" but never did. Is there a problem?George H. Ault 216-521-0646

7 Gunny46

Donor

Rating: 1

Retired in 1969 and I know the USO put on shows over Seas some good some run of the mill. I will not donate when theCEO makes $477.736.00. They can keep their flag.

4

Donor

Rating: 1

they were evasive when asked about what was done with my donation and when i wanted to unsubscribe refused to explain how my contact information was obtained in the first place

6

Donor

Rating: 1

This year we wanted to see how many mailings we would receive, so we collected all the paperwork that were sent to our home. So far, we have received 10 different request for donations. I will be requesting that my address be removed from their mailing list. There is why to much money spent on trying to get donations.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Donor

Rating: 4

I am conflicted. I'm concerned about the big salary of the CEO, but that may be for good reasons, and no other compensations are listed. The size of the salary is a bit off-putting, I admit. However, I'm swayed by military friends who tell me that the USO is always there, always helpful, and I respect their input. I will donate what I can to this fine organization.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

The USO was very well organized and supportive of the effort to fly WW II Vets to Washington, DC to recognize their service to our country. I was present on the return of these elder veterans on a Flight of Honor as they arrived at the Raleigh-Durham Airport. The faces of the veterans and their families, the interaction of all the people there waving and applauding them, and especially the interactions of the vets and children in crowd - were all so heart-warming. The USO has been involved in this effort across the nation. Since my in-laws fought in WW II and I have had other family in the military, I know the USO has always been there for our military and appreciate the difference they make. The USO volunteers that day were great!

4

Donor

Rating: 3

I wrote this charity, explaining that I could not contribute in the near future and suggested that they could try again in two years. It had no effect. Well, I tried. If they persist, I will keep any gifts received and throw everything else away.

3

Donor

Rating: 2

I donated to this organization as a memorial for a service member who passed away. I am CONSTANTLY bombarded with (likely very expensive) postal mail requests for further donations (ie at least 2 per month), and agree whole heartedly with others on this site who say the administrative and fundraising costs are WAY too high. Admittedly, the calendar they sent me as a "thank you" gift is quite nice; it is hanging in my office now.

5

Donor

Rating: 1

I was a donor of the USO, but after seeing how much the CEO & staff make, that 70% of funds goes to program services, the millions they waste on fundraising, and that I have to REQUEST them NOT to sell my name & info (rather than them asking ME first - which I realize is not the norm, but should be) that's not a 4 star charity in my book. I won't be making any further donations to this org. It's too bad, because there are a lot of people with this org doing good works.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

I've never had any contact with the USO and don't know how they got my name & address. They sent a very heavy envelope full of those terrible, preprinted, stick-on address labels - along with a donation request. What a complete waste of charitable donations - spending the money on all that postage and those awful preprinted labels that no one wants! In this age of email, texting, and twitter, the USO appears to be operating in the dark ages. I'm a Vietnam veteran, and I fully support the troops, but I would NEVER give money to a charity that is so out-of-touch and so wasteful with the money they receive from donors. Also, I agree with the other reviewers who thought Sloan Gibson's salary is outrageously excessive.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been writing a presentation on the USO for over a month for a college course on Nonprofits. The USO is amazing! Just to comment: the salary paid to the CEO is way below what he would make at a for- profit organization. When leading such a giant organization with integrity while staying true to the mission, you want the best of the best. And the best of the best deserves to be paid what they are worth. As the daughter of a veteran, I can tell you my Dad thinks Mr. Gibson deserves every penny of his salary and is grateful for all he does for the USO.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Donor

Rating: 2

I have a problem anymore of donating to a charity where the CEO makes close to a 1/2 mil in salary. I'm really for the troops, but there must be a better use of my dollars then going to such a highly paid individual.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Client Served

Rating: 1

The USO needs to be fully investigate on how they use/treat donor intended dollars....the keep the funds at Arlington/allow their centers to spend the expenses without crediting the local centers account. The ultimate is they then require their center managers to write up reports back to Arlington so Arlington can use that to show the donor how their funds were put to work. Arlington spends the funds on their bloated / highlypaidstaff.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm former military, and a volunteer with USO's Dallas-Ft Worth Airport"Send Off" program, which works with troops returning to Afghanistan from R&R, every day. I'm one of seven volunteers on the Thursday shift, and we typically have about 100 - 200 outbound troops on a flight. The money donated to the USO enables us to have light snacks (chips, pretzels, candy bars, jerky, peanuts, gum etc.) and cold bottled water for the troops, and a cart of aspirin, bandaids, chapstick, eyedrops, shaving and cleanup supplies, etc. at the departure point. We also dispense donate books, magazines, and USO "Care Packages". Of our seven team members, the three men are all veterans, including a WW II infantryman (Battle of the Bulge), a Korean War veteran, and a Vietnam veteran. All four of the women are either married to veterans, or are widows of the veterans. We love our work as volunteers, and welcome the opportunity to work with these great troops and the families that come to see them off. We believe that the heart of the USO is with and for the troops; and that the number of volunteers far, far exceeds the paid staff. All of us, although not paid, actively financially support the USO because we are on the spot, and we see what is done for the troops and how much the USO is appreciated by them and their families. In short, it's a CALLING, and we believe our contributions help our soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen/women. We love the USO because we love the troops. God bless them, every one!

2 Rebecca28

Donor

Rating: 2

Like a previous reviewer, I am rather disappointed by the fact that their CEO makes nearly half a million dollars. I'm not well-versed in what an appropriate salary would be for a CEO, but since this is a non-profit organization, that figure seems ridiculously high. While I support the great work that the USO does, this fact about their CEO's salary makes it highly unlikely that I would recommend to others that they should give to this organization.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Donor

Rating: 1

Sloan Gibson is the President of the charity USO and his salary of over $400,000 / year is too high !
The administrative expenses of USO, over 10%, are too high!
The USO was created by congress and it has a responsibility to correct these excesses.
Congress should take care of the problem, the USO is needed, and is losing donations because of this pig!
I have written email and snail mail to senators and congress men about this problem, no results yet!
I think they are pigs at the trough, to busy to get the work done.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I wanted to do something to support our troops and initially, sent care packages through another non-profit. Due to several reasons, I decided that wasn't the best use of my money or time. After hearing how the USO makes a difference in our troops lives - before deploying and once deployed - I knew I found my answer.

I have never received unsolicited mail from other organizations due to my contributing to the USO. I haven't seen where they sold my name/address. I agree they do send more mailings than I like, but having worked in a non-profit before, I also know they only do what is successful. So the mailings are making more money than it is spending. And it does remind me to get out my credit card and send in a donation.

I find this organization to be responsible to their donors and a wonderful asset to our military as they are away from home. Thanks for all you do, the many great programs you offer and the difference you are making in military families.

Review from CharityNavigator

Client Served

Rating: 5

As with any organization, one person may have one experience and another have a very different experience. For me, Tide detergent doesn't work, but that doesn't color my entire view of PnG. Running into one ill-informaed volunteer should not color your experience with the entire organization. For me and my family, the USO has been a valuable resource for support, sometimes being the only people I could lean on in a difficult situation. The USO provides a quite place to rest in an airport, a place to find community and maybe a "senior wife" to lend perspective to a situation one might only face as a military spouse. USO volunteers have stood by me in remote locations where I never would have suspected they even had a presence, but they did. Every interaction I have had with the USO has been superior.

Review from Guidestar

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

As the wife of a military member I have enjoyed the warmth of the USO at so many places around the world. While my husband was in Afghanistan the USO provided a service where he was able to read a book to my daughter...they taped it and sent it to us. My daughter watched that video every day until her dad made it home (safely :) ). We have used their centers in the airport when needing a place to rest with the kids while on our way to our next duty station. And, at Christmas time, when things were really very lonely, they held a special party for the kids. The kids got to make cards and presents for their parents who were deployed. And what was really incredible? The fact that while I was not looking they helped my daughter make a card and present for me too. They put it in the mail and it arrived on Christmas Eve. It's the little things that mean so much. Thanks USO!! You make it a little bit easier for all of us. You'll never know how much we appreciated it.

Review from Guidestar

6

Donor

Rating: 2

While I think that the purpose of the USO and some of the support that it gives military families is highly commendable, as a donor I have to say I am very disappointed with their practices. I give to the USO in my name, and last year made a $5 donation in my daughter's name (she is now 2 years old) to send a valentine to a soldier overseas. Before I donated money, I wanted to donate goods to the USO at the Denver airport, as we lived in Colorado at the time. I had a lengthy conversation with a man there who seemed to be in charge. He basically told me not to bother with toiletries and other goods for soldiers at the airport office because the kids from the Air Force Academy in Colo Springs just come in and fill their bags with those items. HELLO? You guys are big boys, control that situation! Then he didnt want my stack of magazines because they weren't current. But they weren't current events magazines, either, they were Smithsonian, Outside, etc - rather timeless. SO he talked me into giving money. And I did. And now I am flooded with mail from the USO (and the emails...oh my!!). I wouldn't mind if the mail was free, but now the money I've given seems to have gone straight to their marketing dept instead of to soldiers overseas, as intended! The worst, though, is the result of my daughter's $5 donation. They have since spent that $5 ten times over on mailings addressed to her. She has a distinctive name, and her last name is different from mine, so I know she is on the USO list as a separate person. THE WORST PART?? They sold their mailing list. The USO is the only organization I've given a donation to in my daughter's name, and suddenly we are bombarded with mail for her from every organization there is, from Special Olympics to the World War II Museum. Very, very disappointed indeed.