Three Rings: bringing volunteers together

Features

Three Rings is packed with useful features – we’ve designed the system to be as flexible as possible, allowing it to work the way your organisation has always worked, instead of expecting you to change to fit the system. So it’s good odds that Three Rings has the features and tools to meet your needs (and if it can’t, tell us so we can make it better!).

We can’t possibly cover everything that Three Rings does in an introductory page like this – our Documentation website gives a more comprehensive overview of how to use Three Rings effectively – but here’s a whistle-stop tour of some of the most popular features:

Rota

ImageThe Rota page is core to how many voluntary organisations use Three Rings. You can have as many rotas as you need (and even make some rotas invisible to volunteers who don’t need to see them), and create either a fixed shift pattern or a single ‘ad hoc’ shift.

You can also set the minimum number of volunteers needed in order for a shift to run, meaning shifts with gaps will be highlighted as still unfilled. Adjustable Views let each volunteer see the rota in Week, Fortnight or Month views, and your organisation can set which view new volunteers see as default

The Drag-and-drop feature means rota managers can quickly readjust which volunteers are signed up to which shifts, and our unique Autopopulator tool will intelligently take multiple factors and preferences into account to find the best volunteers to cover any shift, and save you from crunching all those numbers to plan a perfect rota for yourself.

Even if you don’t run a managed rota you can use the and Suggest Somebody feature to work out exactly which volunteer is most likely to be able to fill a specific shift – perfect for last-minute gap filling!

Stats

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Three Rings automatically generates statistics on how your organisation (and your volunteers) fill their shifts, and can offer a great way to simplify report-writing (or optionally, to foster healthy competition between volunteers!)

One of our most popular reports is of Shift Satisfaction – which shows how many shifts you expected to happen in a given period compared to how many actually ran.

Stats will also help you generate a report on how many shifts or hours volunteers have done, helping you keep track of who’s meeting their commitment, who might need encouraging and who might be pushing themselves too hard! Like many of the stats reports, you can choose whether to view this information in your browser or export it as a PDF or spreadsheet for later analysis.

You can also allow your volunteers to gain stars for each shift they undertake, even setting different coloured stars for different rotas – perhaps gold stars for day shifts and blue ones for evening and weekend shifts.

 

Filestore

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The Three Rings filestore acts as a highly secure filing cabinet, which you can use to store everything from minutes of committee meetings to emergency and disaster plans.

You can restrict access to anything in the Filestore based on a volunteer’s role, allowing you to share only the information you need to share, while still keeping everything in a single secure and accessible location.

The Filestore also provides version control for all of its contents: if you upload a new version of a file to the filestore, the old version will be kept for comparison, allowing you to track changes to important files over time, whilst still having easy and uncluttered access to the latest version

Thanks to the Filestore you can ensure all your volunteers can access the data they need – even if it’s confidential! – without worrying about sending it through an insecure medium like email, or giving them a printout that could too easily get lost or left in a public place.

 

Directory

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The Directory lists all the volunteers with access to Three Rings within your organisation. It can store key information, such as their contact details, roles and even photographs to help new volunteers recognise their colleagues more easily. It’s there to simplify the running of the branch, and – like the rest of Three Rings – is flexible in terms of what information it shows to which people.

Each volunteer’s Directory Page can store as much, or as little, information as they want, and you can control who sees what information based on their role: so your Director might need to see a volunteer’s home address, but most of your volunteers don’t. Three Rings will intelligently display the right information to the right people, based on your organisational policies.

Volunteers can use their Directory page to list when they’re Available or Inactive: if one of your volunteers works 9-5 each week, they can let Three Rings know, and the system won’t let them be signed up for a shift at those times (although, of course, either the volunteer, or a rota manager, can override that if they want to come in and cover a duty on their day off!).

 


Admin

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The Admin page contains some of the most powerful tools in Three Rings, designed to let your organisation’s administrators customise the system and assign permissions so that Three Rings works just the way your organisation always has.

From Admin you can manage your volunteer’s Roles and Permissions. This is core to the way Three Rings works, because it allows you to say things like “a volunteer who acts as a Rota Manager can sign other people up to shifts”, or “a volunteer who is a Deputy Director can see other people’s home addresses and sign other people up to shifts”. Through Roles and Permissions, you can make sure Three Rings enforces your organisation’s policies for you, and prevent anyone from accidentally breaking your rules.

The Admin page also lets turn off features you don’t want to use, so your volunteers see a clear, understandable system, without any unecessary options. Admin also lets you customise your Localisation Settings, to make sure Three Rings runs just the way your organisation does now.

 

Comms

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Comms allows you to send messages to everyone, individuals or volunteers with specific roles, allowing you to send a bulk message to the entire committee, check on a single volunteer’s welfare or make sure everyone’s been reminded about the training session next week!

On top of that, you can set up Three Rings so that each volunteer who receives an email via Comms gets a personalised reminder of their next shift in the footer of that email, even though the message content sent to all recipients will be the same.

Comms also includes the option to view your sent messages, allowing you to quickly find what you’ve previously said. What’s more, you’ll still be able to do this if your role changes and you cease to have access to Comms in the future. You won’t be able to send any more messages without the right permissions, but you’ll still be able to see what you said in the past.

You can also choose to use Comms to send SMS messages to your volunteers (although you’ll need to buy the SMS credits from a third party: that’s the only function of Three Rings not covered by the annual invoice!)


Of course, there are many more features in Three Rings – certainly something for everyone! – and we add new features as part of our regular fixed release cycle, based on what will help the most users. Three Rings is always growing and improving as our user’s needs change, and we’re proud to say we offer dedicated technical support, aiming to answer any email sent to our offical support address within a maximum of 24 hours. Whether it’s a bank holiday, Christmas, or the middle of the night, one of the Three Rings team will be keeping an eye on their email to make sure you get a response before the day is out, and that’s something we’re rightly proud of.