Meet social media expert Matthew Mahan

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This summer, owners and managers of pet businesses and nonprofits have an extraordinary opportunity to learn about the changing landscape of social media, and the power it places in their hands, from an expert who hails from the top of the field. 

Matthew Mahan is the featured guest of Shine with Spot July 30, 4-7pm, at the gorgeous Castaway venue in the Pearl.  It’s an amazing opportunity for pet professionals, and for the price of admission ($30/for-profit, $15/nonprofit, 100% going to Oregon Spay/Neuter Fund and the S.A.F.E. pet emergency fund) attendees will leave with invaluable education, and the pleasure of having spent a beautiful afternoon networking, enjoying great music and food, and time with a human being few get the chance to meet in person, much less learn from.

Matt Mahan will speak, answer questions, mingle, and provide takeaway materials that provide a window into today’s fundraising, business and nonprofit landscape, explaining in easy to understand and apply terms the power of social media.  Attendees will hear strategies, case histories and success stories — including those from the animal sector.

The key to thriving in today’s non-profit and for-profit world is knowledge, and Shine for Spot is an investment in education whose payoff far surpasses the ticket price.  Better still, all ticket proceeds support animal welfare.

Matthew Mahan is Vice President of Social Impact at Causes

At 28, Mahan’s personal and professional story is fascinating and exciting, and simply leaves one wondering what in the world this guy will do next.  An expert in grassroots organizing and a Harvard grad, he lived and worked for a year in South America, taught middle school through Teach for America, and now manages philanthropic strategy and partnerships at Causes, one of the largest applications on Facebook.  

After graduating from Harvard and spending a year doing economic development work in South America, Matt returned home in 2007 and reconnected with his friend Joe Green, founder of Causes,  and the now infamous Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook. 

“Hanging with these guys I became more aware of the digital revolution that was fundamentally changing the way we communicate,” says Mahan.  The then fledgling Causes focused on the intersection of grass roots efforts and action campaigns — simply put:  how people organize themselves to get things done.

“Social media provides a unique opportunity to organize people for collective action,” says Mahan, “making it possible to quickly get a lot of people on the same page.”

Around this time Matt was impressed by the story of a 15-year-old young man in Columbia who wanted to organize a protest against the Farq FARC for the kidnapping of innocent civilians.  Using a Facebook Fan Page, the boy unified eight million people, who ultimately filled streets with “voices speaking” in cities all over the world.

“This 15-year-old high school student had an idea and a compelling argument,” says Mahan, “and with the resources available online was able to work through social networks to focus the world’s attention.”

Causes originally began by creating partnerships with nonprofits, and today the platform has over 17,000 nonprofit partners with 20-30 new partners applying daily.

“We saw ourselves as a tech company and so were set up as a for-profit,” says Mahan.  “This was necessary to generate the funding to hire the very best software engineers — from the United States, France, Canada, Tokyo, all over the world — which we need in order to tackle the challenge of applying technology to social good.”

Mahan says the company’s goal is to leverage social media to produce greater public participation, transparency, and impact in the nonprofit sector. 

Stay tuned for more of Matt’s story next month.  And get your tickets now to meet, chat and learn from him during Shine with Spot, July 30th at Castaway in the Pearl.  Space is limited.


Kristan Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer Mccammon. She lives in Portland with her 3-pack, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.