Letchworth-based gift shop Look At Us Designs launches unique scheme letting customers send donations anywhere in the world
PUBLISHED: 08:51 24 February 2017 | UPDATED: 08:51 24 February 2017
A pioneering Letchworth family business has launched a unique scheme allowing customers to donate money to any registered organisation worldwide.
Look At Us Designs, an online personalised gift shop run by couple Elesia and Ricardo Williams out of their home, donates £1 from each purchase, allowing the customer to choose what cause the money goes to.
The shop sells items like personalised kids’ books – and Elesia and Ricardo say their scheme, using the Paypal online payment system, is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.
“It just amazes me that no-one else has thought of this,” said Elesia.
“You fill in the details of the organisation you want to donate to – a school, a hospital, a church or temple or whatever it is – and then we get in touch with them.
“We check it’s a proper company registered with the government and that they have a Paypal account to send the money to, then we send it through. It can take up to five working days to get everything completed. Once you do it, it’s very straightforward.”
Elesia and Ricardo both have family living abroad, and were inspired by the idea that customers might want to donate to charities close to their relatives, or other overseas causes close to their hearts.
The most popular causes chosen so far have been schools and churches, and one customer has elected to donate to a Canadian hospital.
“A lot of companies say they’ll donate to a charity, but quite often it’s a big one,” said Elesia.
“Also, sometimes you don’t really know if the money has been received. This way you can actually call your chosen place and ask if they’ve received the money from Look At Us Designs.
“Paypal takes a cut, but that’s not going to affect the customers at all – it comes from our Paypal account.
“If it’s a lower-income country such as The Gambia where it’s not so simple, we’ll do more research into that as well.”
Elesia admitted that the scheme could become very labour-intensive if thousands of customers all want to donate to different causes, but said this was not a problem.
“We’ll get more people involved if that happens,” she said. “We have to make a start.
“We just want to give back – and we don’t want to give back to just one charity in just one place. There are so many causes that would love to get funding, and now they can.”