There are four areas where non-profits have a distinct edge over businesses:
1) Free publicity. All radio and television stations broadcasting
over the public airwaves get the right to use those airwaves in
exchange for running PSAs - Public Service Announcements.
So any legitimate non-profit that provides the radio stations with recorded
commercials, or television stations with video commercials, can get free
air-time worth a small fortune - if they are persistent.
2) Non-profits can raise operating capital much more easily, in the
form of contributions, by approaching individuals, corporations and
government agencies. And none of that money ever needs to be paid back,
unlike for-profit businesses.
3) Non-profits can arrange joint events with other businesses, like
corporations, radio and TV stations very easily. For businesses to do
the same thing, their partners want more of a share of the expenses
picked up by their business partners. Non-profits rarely need to offer
to pick up any of the tabs.
4) And when was the last time you heard of a business going to
a printer and having the printer do all the work for free? Non-profits
can get lots of free services, even free rental space, where businesses
cannot. So, they have the advantage of much lower operating costs.
And of course, the volunteers. Managed properly and with proper
enthusiasm, a non-profit can attract the free skills of a great many
volunteers. Businesses generally have to pay people to work for them.
(Yes, sometimes, they can get interns to work for free.)
These are the primary advantages...other than the fact that they don't have
to pay taxes.
There is one disadvantage. The more successful and visible the non-profit gets,
the more likely it is to be audited by IRS and any number of other agencies
related to that entity's industry.
I hope that helps.