How I see it, it really comes down to scale. I work at a national nonprofit in the development department and make a very competitive wage with excellent benefits . Enough for me to live alone in NYC. Could I make more elsewhere? Probably. But part of the reason I like working here so much, and part of what attracts so many people (ie lawyers) to our nonprofit from the private sector is the opportunity to have a life outside of work. Free lunch would be nice, yes. But I more value the chance to leave the building an hour during lunch every day. And the chance to leave on time at the end of the day (most days). Especially in NY, that is worth its weight in gold.