Social enterprise PrimeTimers has called for the creation of a University of Civil Society.
The group has briefed the Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office on the idea. The proposed institution would accredit third sector training courses as well as provide its own courses.
The curriculum would reflect the interests of civil society organisations and could include courses on leadership and organisation in the voluntary sector.
"The sector is fragmented and a university could provide some connectivity," said Dr Mary Chadwick, marketing director of PrimeTimers. "It might empower civil society."
The university would not be sited on a campus but would provide distance and support learning in other organisations.