ACEVO has called for a third-sector "leadership centre" to be created.
The centre would be located within an existing academic institution and promote learning through links to the public and private sector.
Stephen Bubb, chief executive at ACEVO, said: "Developing focused, efficient leaders in the voluntary sector is an issue of national importance.
"The public sector is spending millions on establishing leadership centres because they know improving leadership makes organisations more effective. The voluntary sector has suffered poor resources for leadership development. This is probably one of the biggest barriers to expanding the role of the sector and increasing service delivery."
Last year, a survey by the chief executives' body found that 88 per cent of its members believe the sector needs more leadership development. A further 78 per cent wanted more leadership training specific to the voluntary sector.