Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations for the last ten years, has been knighted in the New Year Honours List.
Also knighted is the philanthropist Alec Reed, founder of the Reed employment agency, who has started a number of charities including The Big Give, which enables wealthy donors to search for charitable projects.
Andrew Hind, former chief executive of the Charity Commission, is made a Companion of the Order of the Bath, an honour mostly given to senior civil servants. Before his appointment in 2004 he was chief operating officer of the BBC World Service.
The government emphasised yesterday that "a vast majority" of awards were to "extraordinary people who are making a real contribution to their community."
A Cabinet Office statement said: "A large number of people recognised include those supporting the big society by making a real difference to their local community through volunteering, fundraising, social action and philanthropy."
Bubb is known as a strong advocate of increased public service delivery by the voluntary sector as part of public service reform, of the principle of full cost recovery and of growing professionalism in the sector.
His knighthood follows that of fellow voluntary sector leader Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, who was knighted in the Birthday Honours List in June.
Several former and current voluntary sector figures are made Commanders of the Order of the British Empire: David Harker, former chief executive of Citizens Advice, Sandra Horley, chief executive of Refuge, Janet Vitmayer, chief executive of the Horniman Museum in south London, Roger Wilson, founder of the Sarcoma UK Charity, and Anthony Kennan, chair of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
CBEs also go to Giles Pegram, former director of fundraising at the NSPCC, and Margaret Humphreys, founder and international director of the Child Migrants Trust, which provides support for people who were sent as children to Australia in the middle of last century.
Among those made Officers of the Order of the British Empire are Alexander (Sandy) Buchan, former chief executive of Refugee Action, Robert Cummines, chief executive of ex-offenders charity Unlock, Stephen Dunmore, former chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, and Stephen Wyler, director of the Development Trusts Association.
Others made OBE are John Adams, general secretary of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, Charubala Ainscough, founder and chair of the Sahara Project, which looks after elderly people in the Asian community, Kevan Baker, chair of the disability charity Wheelpower, Gordon D'Silva, chief executive of Training for Life, Stephen Hale, former director of the Green Alliance, Gerald Oppenheim, director of policy and partnerships at the Big Lottery Fund, and John Quin, former chief executive of British Legion Industries.
The hundreds of people made Members of the Order of the British Empire include scores honoured for services to their community and for voluntary service to charities, including the RNLI, the Royal British Legion, Riding for the Disabled and Christian Aid.