I am creating a website that involves posting service project listings online, and I want to require that all organizations posting projects are verified as either 501(c)(3) or government run organizations such as state parks (Are these 501(c)(3) as well? What would you call them?). How can they prove this?

A scanned document can be Photoshopped easily, so I don't think that would be the way to go. I thought perhaps if they verified their email as the same email that was posted on their website that would work, but not all nonprofits have a contact email or even a website.

This is a necessity of my site because it would be connecting people and organizations in real-life (offline) and I want to make sure that the organizations are who they say they are.

Also, is there a national official database of such organizations? It might help for verification as well as for filling in information.

closed as off-topic by Avi, Sam I am Aug 20 '14 at 19:01

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about governments, policies and political processes within the scope defined in the help center." – Avi, Sam I am
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • What is your reason for wanting them to prove it? So what if a few fake it? What is it you are trying to accomplish by verifing beyond just knowing they are legit. Why does it matter? – SoylentGray Aug 20 '14 at 11:16

Every business, charity, and corporation has an individual Employer Identification Number (EIN) they use to file taxes. The IRS has something called the Exempt Organizations Select Check to allow people to check their tax exemption status. Alternatively, you can download the entire database here, but obviously the file is very, very large.

So for example, if someone says they are with the Jamaican Women of Washington, ask them for their EIN, address, and other info. Once you have that EIN (20-0258343), searching the database indicates that there is indeed a tax-exempt organization called the Jamaican Women of Washington located in Washington, DC, and they can be trusted.

  • Thank you, that's very helpful and will be an extremely usefu tool. However, as far as verification goes, couldn't anyone lookup that information and say, for example, that they are: The Boy Scouts of America; EIN 22-1576300; 1801 Boy Scout Dr, Fort Myers, FL 33907? This information is publicly available so I can't use the knowledge of it as verification that it refers to them. – Ian Aug 19 '14 at 18:57
  • Although it is not the final solution, this does answer my question as far as this site goes. I think the actual verification would probably be better suited for security.stackexchange.com – Ian Aug 19 '14 at 19:03
  • @Ian - I think you're right. Information Security is a great place to ask about verifying whether someone is who they say they are. – Bobson Aug 19 '14 at 20:39

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