Ning is a great online community package that’s getting better every day.
Kickapps will let you create an online community in minutes.
Liveworld will let you add a community feature you every page of your existing site.
Anyone can create a Facebook group in seconds, and invite hundreds of within minutes.
Most of the time you don’t need to pay $60k for a special online community interface. It’s quicker, cheaper and far less problematic to launch your community right now…for free.
If you can’t highlight huge benefits of having a tailor-made interface, don’t ask for one. Save the money and use the 3 month development time more wisely.