USAtogether has no office or employees, keeping the operation "outrageously efficient," Mahler said. The handful of Silicon Valley professionals who run the nonprofit organization work on a volunteer basis out of their homes, using Skype conference calls, text messages and other technology to communicate.
The volunteers check out service members, who must meet eligibility criteria. They also make sure the requests are appropriate and within limits.
Direct financial assistance is limited to $1,000, for example, and someone asking for a plasma-screen TV might be coached to request help with an electric bill instead. The assistance is meant to be a short-term safety net, so service members with recurring financial problems are referred to the many other groups that help veterans.