Scott Toal is a husband to an amazing woman and father to seven of the world’s most wonderful individuals! The kindness, patience, and support of his family are the foundation on which Scott has built his professional career. In business, Scott uses his skills in entrepreneurship. His knowledge and experience in digital marketing and brand development have led to the creation of multiple companies serving niche, underserved markets in residential, commercial, and industrial fields.
For over two decades, Scott has directed a private family foundation started by his father and mother. The mission of this foundation is to serve children, meeting spiritual, physical, and emotional needs. This philanthropic work inspired Scott to found a nonprofit called eMite. Working with his daughter, Madison, and the fantastic eMite team, Toal’s main mission is to spread the joy of giving through Doing Good Globally.
Launched just five years ago, eMite works to match donors with impactful, humanitarian outreach. The organization’s core values of inspiration, engagement, awareness, and celebration are accomplished through unparalleled in-field insight and a donor-focused project completion process. To date, the organization has worked in over 10 countries, affecting the lives of more than 40,000 people. Operated out of Belmont, North Carolina, with an international branch in Barcelona, Spain, eMite partners with outstanding in-country organizations to meet both donors’ and recipients’ needs.
Where did the idea for eMite come from?
eMite was inspired during a celebration party at a newly constructed dining hall in Talmaciu, Romania. As a director of a private foundation, I was there checking on the building project. In celebration of the new facility, we had a watermelon party for the children at the orphanage. It was an absolute blast! While cutting the watermelons into slices and surveying the joy on the kids’ faces, the blessing of the moment hit me. I wondered at that point if this could be reproduced for every donor, no matter size of donation. Was it possible to bring every person who gave to help others “infield” so that they could see the smiling faces and the impact they made through their generosity? That is the foundation for eMite and the principles that direct our organization’s work. That occasion happened in the mid-1990s. It took 20 years to get it launched.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day in the office involves discussions with our managing staff about our programs, project outreach, technology developments, and fundraising. When visiting completed projects infield, my typical day can range from playing leapfrog with children to driving over canyons on rickety wooden bridges. There really is no telling what we might face out in the field. But we know it is going to be fantastic!
I am most productive when I positively support our eMite team’s effort and our fabulous ministry partners. I cherish being infield with our project media team and just loving-on the people impacted by the completed projects. It is the best!
How do you bring ideas to life?
My first step in bringing ideas to life is to vet them. I consult with trusted persons in my life to ensure I am not going off the rails. Once I know I am on a good path, I get with my team to identify necessary resources and begin executing the idea. I like celebrating and doing my best to acknowledge people’s efforts. So we will generally commemorate the launch of a new project, new process, or new technology used to serve our excellent donor base.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited about the ever-expanding communication methods available to connect us as an organization, community, and world. The new technologies used to bring people together digitally are very powerful. As the infrastructure expands to meet the demand for greater connectivity, we will see extraordinary things happen in terms of live global interactions.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Google Calendar is my go-to for organization and productivity. It would be challenging to do what I do without a web-based, robustly functional calendar resource for coordinating my tasks and schedules.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t hold back. Don’t allow a sense of being unprepared or not having the credentials hold you back from going after your dreams.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That honey is an acceptable substitute for sugar in coffee.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Connect with people who know more than you do. I am in the dark on plenty of areas when it comes to operating a nonprofit. I have found the key to overcoming these blind spots is to find people who understand them and work with them to overcome the difficulties. This takes admitting your limitations, spending the necessary dollars on getting the answers you need, and promoting others for the help they have given.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I started a dot com in the middle of the year 2000, or as we called it back then – Y2K. One month from our launch the bubble burst and dot coms bankrupted by the thousands. Our new start-up survived due to a tremendous amount of elbow grease and lack of compensation. It eventually died a slow death, but I learned how to use the Internet to get the word out about a new product or brand. We built more brands than I can count based on the failure of that first venture.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Air Porter – Door to door luggage delivery service that removes the traveler’s burden of handling luggage on their trips.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It was a little more than $100, but it was to take my beautiful bride out to dinner—the reasons why are obvious. Without Tamsen, my life would be not.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use ZOHO as a business administration software. The program helps us in all areas of operations, including managing project data, CRM, internal meetings, and communications with our donor community.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Bible and then the Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath. Both books are inspirational. The Power of Moments will change the way you look at celebrating life’s moments, whether perceived to be ordinary or fantastic.
What is your favorite quote?
In our hearts we plan our course, but the Lord establishes our steps. (King Solomon, Proverbs 16:9)
- Celebration is fun and very important.
- Don’t allow an internal sense of insufficiency to stop your dream pursuit.
- Connections are important. Have good ones and plenty of them.
- Take your spouse to dinner! They are important to you.
- Pray. Then pray again.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.