Extant literature suggests that foreign aid donors are less willing to punish geopolitically-important recipients for human rights violations by withholding aid. This has yielded the conventional wisdom that donors prioritize influence over human rights promotion. However, this overlooks strategic policy variation. I argue that donors have at least two strategies for promoting human rights using foreign aid. Coercive strategies leverage aid to compel leaders to improve human rights or deter leaders from increasing repression. Catalytic strategies target aid to institutions and reforms that could increase domestic human rights accountability. Using project-level data from OECD DAC and non-traditional donors to all recipients from 2000-2018, I examine how donors' interests, recipient characteristics, and outside options from competing donors shape the relationship between recipients' human rights performance and donors' foreign aid commitments. The findings support the theory that donors strategically vary aid policy in response to recipients' domestic conditions, bilateral importance, and outside options. Variation in aid is consistent with donors employing coercive strategies toward lower-importance recipients with weak outside options and catalytic strategies toward higher-importance recipients with better outside options. Understanding how donors strategically alter aid in response to bilateral and international systemic contexts has implications for studying the efficacy and understanding the future of human rights promotion in foreign policy.