The results of the 12-week exercise will inform the department's third sector strategy document, which will be published next April.
The consultation will ask how the department can create parity in procurement, as well as how its Compact group and social enterprise forum can be improved. It will also ask for organisations' views on how they can help address specific issues, such as climate change.
Defra is offering to help organisations that want to produce detailed practical recommendations.
Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: "We recognise that we need to build our own capacity to meet the expectations and aspirations of our third sector partners in the years ahead."
- The <a href="http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/thirdsector-strategy/index.htm">consultation</a> at www.defra.gov.uk closes on 15 February.