Hoodless, 62, founded CSV (Community Service Volunteers) in 1963 and has guided it to its present position. It employs 700 staff with a £33m annual turnover.
The award was for services to volunteering, rather than to charity. Hoodless believes the distinction was made because half of CSV's work is now based in the public sector, where she has signalled her intention to build a greater volunteer base.
"To be a volunteer was seen as slightly suspicious when I first started," said Hoodless. "CSV has brought volunteering from the fringe into the fray."
Hoodless led calls to bring citizenship into the National Curriculum and created Make a Difference Day, the UK's largest day of volunteering action, which last year involved 85,000 people.
New Year Damehoods also went to Rabbi Julia Neuberger, chief executive of London healthcare charity the King's Fund, and Lady Pauline Harris, co-founder and trustee of the Philip and Pauline Harris Charitable Trust.
Julian Filochowski, 56, director of overseas development agency Cafod for 21 years until last June, has been awarded the title of Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.
Filochowski oversaw a ten-fold growth in annual income at the agency, from £2m to £25m, before departing to work as a consultant at Caritas Europa.
He said one of his proudest achievements was to build a partnership between Cafod and Islamic Relief, whose founder and president, Hany El Banna, received an OBE. OBEs also went to Sarah Child, chairwoman of Addaction, and Virginia McKenna, the former actress and co-founder of the Born Free Foundation.
Charity chief executives to be awarded OBEs included Clarissa Baldwin at the Dogs Trust; John Bateman at UK Youth; and Stephen Powell at the charity for deaf people, Sign.
Steve Chalke received an MBE for services to social exclusion through the Oasis Trust and Parentalk, which he founded to offer educational, healthcare and housing initiatives to parents.
Further MBEs were awarded to Margaret Goose, chief executive of the Stroke Association; Una Barry, deputy chief executive of the Depaul Trust; Bruce Fogle, co-founder of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People; Clare Thomas, chief grants officer at the Bridge House Trust; and Ronald Syrad, chairman of the Leukaemia Research Fund.