The best movies about nonprofits on Netflix.

Inspirational films that feature organizations fighting for social change

Portrait of Kevin Brown, Co-founder & CEO of Mighty Ally

KEVIN BROWN

My wife and I have a weekend tradition we jokingly call Super Soul Sunday. Before each workweek begins, on Sunday night we watch a Netflix film about social change.

It’s a chance to learn, humble ourselves, and renew our fight against poverty and injustice.

Film can be an incredible fundraising and behavior change tool. Just like SSIR highlighted in their feature, Reel Impact: How nonprofits harness the power of documentary film. And Mighty Ally felt the power of mass media when we worked with Justice Defenders on a mini-documentary for 60 Minutes. The result was 2,110% more annual online donations.

Unfortunately though – like many social sector brands – most stories fail to capture enough attention and audience to go mainstream. In the sea of content, it’s hard to break through.

So here are 12 provocative social change films (in no particular order) you can and should watch on Netflix, either streaming or on DVD. And the organizations behind them that are worthy of support.

Period. End of sentence.

The Pad Project (India)

In a rural village outside Delhi, India, women lead a quiet revolution. They fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. Which leads to health problems and girls dropping out of school.

An Indian woman hugging a young Indian girl in a still shot from the film Period: end of sentence.

City of Joy

PANZI Foundation (DR Congo)

This film follows the inaugural class of students at a remarkable leadership center in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a region often referred to as “the worst place in the world to be a woman.”

Just Mercy

Equal Justice Initiative (United States)

In this powerful and thought-provoking true story, world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner. (Also a book.)

Bending the Arc

Partners in Health (Global)

The extraordinary doctors and activists whose work 30 years ago to save lives in a rural Haitian village grew into a global battle in the halls of power for the right to health for all.

Dr. Paul Farmer smiling with a young boy in a still shot from the film Bending the Arc.

How to Survive a Plague

Treatment Action Group (United States)

In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the story of two coalitions whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.

He Named Me Malala

Malala Fund (Pakistan)

After the Taliban tries to kill her for speaking out, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai emerges as a leading advocate for children’s rights and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

How to Change the World

Greenpeace (Global)

In 1971, a group of friends sail into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world’s imagination. This is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the green movement.

Vintage black and white photo of Greenpeace protestors from the film How to change the world.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Moving Windmills Project (Malawi)

Against all the odds, a thirteen-year-old boy in Malawi – William Kamkwamba – invents an unconventional way to save his family and village from famine during a drought. (Also a book.)

The White Helmets

The Syria Campaign (Syria)

Over 400,000 Syrians have been killed and millions have fled their homes. In areas out of regime control, those who remain rely on a group of volunteers dedicated to saving anyone in need.

Virunga

The Virunga Foundation (DR Congo)

A team of brave individuals risk their lives to protect the last mountain gorillas from armed militia, poachers, and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources.

A group of Congolese men carrying a male silverback gorilla in a still shot from the film Virunga.

Chasing Ice

Earth Vision Institute (Global)

National Geographic photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. But through his revolutionary time-lapse cameras, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet.

Mission Blue

Sylvia Earle Alliance (Global)

Legendary oceanographer and TED prize winner Dr. Sylvia Earle is on a mission to save our oceans. Mission Blue is part action-adventure, part exposé of an eco-disaster.

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