...But in almost every case, "not-for-profit" does not mean that all labor is volunteer and nobody is getting paid. It's a good bet that if an organization goes ahead and files the paperwork, somebody is getting expenses paid at a minimum.
Grist for the mill.
To help make this point I had an interesting experience a few years ago.
I help a non-profit dog training group (they provide dog training via a city program to pay for permits to allow the members a place to do their training for AKC showing). This small non-profit puts on one dog show a year. The club had been in doing this as a non-profit in the same place for over 60 years in the City of Pasadena. Everyone volunteers their time. Most of the money the group makes goes to etiher support the show they put on, pay for the permits, and also a major portion of fees go to the city. What's left over basically covers expenses. They also do volunteer stuff for city sponsored programs. And try to send a check to the local Humane Society if anything is left in the account at the end of the year.
Anyway, a bunch of years back a non-profit "kidspace" (patent pending, trademark, etc.) moved into the area. Cool. Took my kid as a matter of fact. One year they decided they wanted to put on an event the same weekend as ours in the same location. Never mind we'd been doing it on that same weekend for over 60 years... So there was a conflict. Kidspace wouldn't budge because they wanted to do their thing so the city arranged a meeting at the kidspace offices. So here I go with a club member to have this meeting to try to work something out. The offices are a wonderful building on the same premises. One wall was solid glass. Very cool! The carpet is lush and lovely. The furniture and tables in the meeting room are high grade wood. Computers on every desk as we came in. And lots of enthusiastic young people running around, most full time employees.
We had our meeting and they basically wouldn't budge. The lovely woman made a comment saying that they should be able to have their event because they're a non-profit after all. I pointed out that we were too. I also pointed out that the furniture and decorating in the building could have paid for a small businesses' operating expenses for a year...
As we were leaving the armored truck pulled up to collect the day's receipts. One city worker I was chatting with as we watched this in the parking lot said he thinks that on weekends they come twice...
And walking through the lot I saw that full time employee I had been speaking to in the building along with another employee. Both got into very nice luxury cars and drove away. I learned a lot about non-profits that day...
Now I don't mean this as a rag against Kidspace. Okay, maybe a little. It was jarring to say the least. And unpleasant. But the point is that they are non-profit as well. And they enjoy considerable "support" from major corporations and donors. And I'm sure they do good work although they treated us like warmed over pond scum for daring to complicate their perceived good works. 900-pound gorilla was the phrase used by one of the city personnel who happened to be there. However, as non-profits they are allowed to have offices, furnish them, spend wildly, pay salaries, and do pretty much everything a normal business does except show a profit that goes out as dividends or the like.
Lots of people are making lots of money. And they have really nice offices. And really a primo location subsidized greatly by the local government (read that paid for by the taxpayers).
But they are non-profit.
Yeah, I got a lot more cynical that day...