The NCVO is to mount a major listening exercise with thousands of voluntary organisations, charities and community groups.
Sector organisations will be asked about the issues that affect them as part of a consultation that will inform the umbrella body's strategy over the next decade. Subjects range from relationships with government and funding problems to whether there is any such thing as the "voluntary sector" at all.
Questionnaires will be sent to the NCVO's 3,700 members, and nine regional consultation events will be held in March and April, in association with the NACVS.
NCVO chief executive Stuart Etherington said: "We recognise that for most organisations it is hard to plan for the next few months, let alone years. But if we find the time to think about the longer term, then our work will be the better for it."
The questionnaire is based on four strategy papers the NCVO ordered in 2004. Authors include consultant David Carrington and academic Nicholas Deakin.