Members of Future of Scotland, the loose alliance of churches, trade unions and charities sympathetic to greater devolution, insisted they would continue to press political parties on the issue.
They spoke out after the First Minister dropped the idea of a multi-choice referendum and instead urged devo-max supporters to embrace the independence cause.
John Downie, spokesman for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), a key member of Future of Scotland, said: "For us the debate continues.
"This was never about one or two questions for us, despite what people said; it is about having a debate on where powers should lie to deliver the best outcomes for the people of Scotland."
He added: "We're not disappointed. The politicians were always going to come to a conclusion on the process.
"We hope the debate can now move on from process to the substance – the lack of which has been our complaint from the start."
Earlier this year, the First Minister encouraged the SCVO behind the scenes to make the case for devo-max, a system of enhanced devolution in which Holyrood would become responsible for everything apart from defence and foreign affairs.
However, under pressure from his own party and the UK Government, whose backing he needs to make the poll legally binding, he has opted for a single Yes/No question on independence.
The move was revealed in an interview with a US newspaper ahead of the First Minister's visit to Illinois for the Ryder Cup golf tournament.
It has sparked a tug of war between the Nationalists and pro-UK parties for the backing of Scots who favour a beefed-up Holyrood.
Willie Rennie, the Scottish LibDem leader, sought to win over supporters of greater devolution by calling on pro-UK parties to agree a package of new powers to offer to voters in the 2015 General Election.
Calling for a cross-party "accord" in 2015, he said genuine home rule could be achieved quickly. He also suggested that the SNP would be crucial to the discussions, to act as a counterweight to Labour and the Conservatives. The Nationalists would "move the political centre of gravity towards home rule," he added.
The LibDems' home rule commission, considering more powers for Holyrood, will report back later this month.
However, any hopes of a cross- party pact will have to wait until Scottish Labour's stalled commission on devolution issues its report in early 2014.
For the Tories, David Cameron made a vague promise of more powers for Holyrood during a visit to Edinburgh at the start of the year but details have not been given.
Meanwhile, supporters of devo-plus – a more limited system of enhanced devolution making Holyrood responsible for raising the cash it spends – will today argue it is vital to deliver a string of social reforms.
They are expected to publish a new report, Improving Social Outcomes, which will argue that devolution has had only a small impact on Scots' lives since 1999.
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