Legal Ways to Raise Money for College, Businesses, and Charities

In an era where anyone with a computer and a modest dose of perseverance can start their own company, it’s essential to point out that there are dozens of legal, practical ways to raise startup capital. For students, many scholarships can cover some or all of the expensive practice of earning a four-year degree. In addition, charities and other not-for-profit entities must raise money to open their doors.

Among the top tactics for raising capital, crowdfunding, small business loans, scholarships, and selling equity in a business are just a few of the most popular. Following legal guidelines is imperative when applying for loans, grants, school money, or common startup capital. Unfortunately, there are some scam artists out there who ask for advance fees and promise people they’ll help raise funds for their causes. The best way to avoid them is to work only with legitimate banks, crowdfunding platforms, and scholarship search services. Here are pertinent details about raising capital legally and safely, no matter your goals.

College Scholarships

For those headed to or back to college, scholarship money helps fill the gap between personal finances and what it takes to pay tuition and fees. Unfortunately, loans come with many strings attached and mean having to spend years repaying the money. The biggest benefit of scholarships is that they come with no financial obligations. That’s excellent news for prospective students who know that paying for a degree can be just as challenging as completing the coursework. The smart way to begin is to search for relevant scholarships online that can cover a portion of the entire amount of your school-related expenses, like tuition, fees, textbooks, etc. People who use companies like Going Merry scholarships for college costs soon discover that it’s a no-hassle process to submit online applications for several opportunities at a time.


Raising funds to run a charitable organization can be a complex affair. In addition to the federal application for non-profit status, there are state forms to fill out and other legal hurdles to clear. Therefore, anyone wanting to create a charitable entity should consult a lawyer specializing in the field. The second step is raising money, which typically takes the form of soliciting contributions directly from the public. Some charities hire professional fundraisers who charge a percentage of the amount raised or work on a flat fee basis.


Crowdfunding is one of the newest ways to raise capital for a personal or business project, idea, cause, or one-time expense. The legal aspects of crowdfunding are varied but usually require full disclosure of all funds raised when you file personal taxes. Companies that run the platforms charge upfront and percentage fees based on the total amount raised through a crowdfunding campaign.

Small Business Loans

For over 50 years, entrepreneurs have turned to one of several small business loan programs to obtain startup capital for their companies. Unfortunately, applications can be lengthy and complex, and there are no guarantees that your project will be approved for funding. But for those who qualify, rates are low, and terms tend to be lenient.