People and organizations use the words “strategies” and “tactics” in different ways. Understanding what they are and how they are connected is important to the success of your work.
To achieve a goal, you need a strategy. To carry out your strategy, you need tactics. Tactics are the specific actions that help you fulfill your strategy so you can achieve your goals.
Anyone can use strategies and tactics to achieve their personal or organizational goals. New Tactics focuses on teaching individuals how to use strategies and tactics to create change by addressing a human rights challenge. Use our Strategy Toolkit with your group to determine your strategy and select effective tactics.
A strategy is a coming together of many decisions, such as identifying the goal and the groups you are trying to influence. It is an overall plan or approach to solving a problem.
- Defines what is important to do in order to reach your goal
- Guides your overall plan of action, including selection of key objectives
- Determines the selection and operation of tactics
- Assists in tracking the progress towards your goal and evaluating the effectiveness of the tactics you use.
Tactics are specific actions that carry out or implement your strategy.
- Can be any event or action from street theater to a truth and reconciliation commission
- Is part of a larger strategic plan
- Can be used alone or with other tactics to achieve a specific goal or outcome
- Will need to change over time, depending on your strategy, staff, volunteers and funding.
Read simple definitions of these terms and all the main terms used in New Tactics material.
Tactics put the action into strategy. Without tactics, or actions, you may not achieve your goals. Read some examples of strategies and tactics.