Hackspace Volunteering and storage system

At Leicester Hackspace we use Slack for member communication, but I am thinking we need a more pro-active system to get volunteers to help out (and phone calls). At the moment when someone can’t make an event it requires lots of last minute effort to find replacements.
My wife is volunteering at the local library, and they use a system called Three Rings :


This is a paid for system and would be £40 pa for less than 20 registered volunteers. The rota system shows when volunteers are needed and lets people sign up for a particular slot. It also features document storage with links to ownership by specific members - we use Google Docs for this, but sorting out ownership always seems a bit of a nightmare. What do other hackspaces use when they need volunteers for events? It’s relatively easy when the membership is small and everyone knows each other, but gets more of a chore as membership grows.

Leicester Hackspace Ltd.

1 Like

Leeds Hackspace has used Trello, whiteboards, and asking people.

What I have seen work is saying “come and work on the hackspace for reason on date” and then the people whom are keen and available do so.

Usually it’s the same people leading or turning up, with varying degrees of incentive sometimes applied, because not everyone has the time or inclination to do something for what they’re already paying access for (usually).

From my personal observation, part of the ‘problem’ is the sense of community, ownership and expectancy put on members, and only a small part of it is the documentation/arrangement/organisation side of it (which can be google docs, trello, a spreadsheet, a piece of paper or a whiteboard) and if you don’t have the social catalyst, up beat people prepared to do the work and encourage people with them then it ends up being one person.

I could be wrong.

As for storage of documents/etc. I like google docs/drive/sheets, and equally I want to discourage it, because it relies on one user account ultimately owning it all unless you pay for ‘google for business’, and that grates me the wrong way (perhaps unjustly).

Sorry if this isn’t exactly what you were asking.

Nottingham is pretty similar to Leeds.

To get around the ownership problem with Google Drive, we have an account attached to trustees@nottinghack.org.uk - that account owns all the docs, and has a number of folders that it shares with the teams. It is fairly labour intensive from a sharing point of view, but unlikely to lose things.

I’m fairly certain that there is an automated way of doing the permissions, and it is one of the things on my todo list for the new version of our management system.


1 Like

Also not particularly a storage system, facebook is really pushing its ‘workplace’ and hoping not-for-profits get onboard https://nonprofits.fb.com/topic/workplace/

Related to my previous post about volunteering and storage, this is just about on-line storage.
I have just discovered a Cloud storage company who have set up a system where the users have full control of the encrypted files on account of we not quite trusting the likes of Google Drive and Dropbox. You can have 50GB and 5 users for free, 100GB and 10 users at €18 pa etc.
They also do hidden watermarking of photographs and files and I understand from talking to them that they are planning a search engine of there own which doesn’t “leak” like Google. Seems like a good place to store our hackspace documents. They are very happy to have hackers helping them :wink:
Here’s the link:

I would welcome your thoughts.

Leicester Hackspace Ltd
Finance Director

Hi all,
this is a rather old topic but very much related to what I am actually working on in my thesis so you might be interested !

I am a french PhD student in Human Computer Interaction and my research topic is about creating, sharing and bringing back knowledge to fabrications workshops.

I am currently running an online survey to better understand how people create visual content from their projects, how they store and retrieve/reuse it later on, and I’m looking for people to answer it.

If you would like to answer it and share it I would be very thankful, I am missing a lot of participants from a variety of profiles, practices and expertises.

And of course I would be happy to discuss the topic here or via email !

Here is the link for the survey

Thank you in advance,
Kind regards,

Clara Rigaud
PhD student - Sorbonne Université - ISIR - Paris, France