Funding will still be the main challenge facing the voluntary sector in 2020, according to the preliminary findings of research by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations' Leadership 20:20 Commission.
The commission was set up in 2008 to discuss emerging leadership in civil society, address issues such as how to attract and retain influential leaders in the sector and identify pathways into civil society leadership.
It conducted an online questionnaire from the end of January to April this year among 512 emerging and established leaders.
Richard Doughty, chair of the commission, told Third Sector that, although the precise figures were not yet ready, the overwhelming majority of respondents felt funding would remain the biggest challenge facing them by 2020.
The survey also found that 72 per cent of respondents thought funding was the greatest challenge facing civil society today.
Almost three-quarters of respondents said they did not think enough was being done to promote the sector as a career choice.
The emerging findings have revealed that slightly more than 55 per cent of respondents wanted to remain in the sector in the long term; more than 25 per cent were unsure. Doughty attributed this to the current level of uncertainty about the future of the sector in the market.
"Overall, the research paints a picture that leadership in the sector needs greater attention than it has had," he said. "The feeling we're getting from conversations we've had is that it's a very challenging time and there's an appetite for leadership in the sector."
He said the commission would use the results in coming weeks to conduct focus groups and one-to-one interviews to get a broader picture before a full report is produced in the autumn.