Euclid, the European association for third sector leaders, will form a commission of inquiry to look at social lending.
The commission aims to gather evidence of the effectiveness of social investment and to propose ways in which the European Union could provide support services to help the charity sector.
Filippo Addarii, chief executive of Euclid, said his organisation had been campaigning for a European Social Investment Wholesale Bank, similar to the Big Society Bank.
"We don't have enough evidence to advocate for the bank at the moment," he said. "We've decided instead to launch this commission of inquiry to improve our evidence base."
He said it was hoped that Stephen Bubb, the chief executive of Acevo, would chair the commission, and that the two of them would travel to Brussels later this month to begin work on setting it up.
According to Addarii, the European Union is now beginning to understand that the voluntary sector is capable of generating revenue, as opposed to just being a means of wealth redistribution.
"This is a key revolution in their thinking," he said.