The Difference Between a Non Profit and a "For Profit ...
Generally, a non profit organization is formed for the purpose of providing a service to an individual or to the public, not for financial gain.
A For Profit corporate business entity, partnership, or sole proprietorship, on the other hand, is normally established to generate a profit for its owners, investors, or stockholders.
A NonProfit could be as "complex" as a foundation created by a corporation to assist in global disasters or, as "informal" as a handful of neighbors coming together to raise funds for a needy family affected by a house fire.
In either case, money is required for the mission.
Even though a "For Profit" business might give generously to charitable causes, there is a distinct difference between a "For Profit" and a Non Profit Organization (NPO).
The main difference is determined by the organization's purpose and what the organization does with the profits it generates.
Any money generated by a non profit organization above its expenses is put back into the organization to further its mission.
Profits are not intended to line the pockets of the owners, stockholders, or members, as would be for a "for profit" business entity.
Can a Non Profit Start a Business?
Not for Profits can become involved in business opportunities as long as the profits are put back into the organization to be used to benefit the charitable cause.
Just be sure to consult with your organization's bookkeeper and lawyer to comply with government regulations and proper accounting practices.